Is it a matter of failure?

I read this comment over at DA. (…yes… again…. *G*)

Snarkhunter commented:

If he/she writes a book we don’t like, is that the writer’s fault? (Sometimes it is, but not usually.)

And it got me to thinking. Since I’m thinking (always dangerous) I decided to ramble here instead of hijacking the DA thread.

Is it a failure on the writer’s part if a reader can’t connect with a book, or doesn’t enjoy it, or hates it and wans to hurl again a wall?

These things I think we can blame on an author…including me:

  • A plot so riddled with holes I could use it as a colander
  • Blatant contradictions to previous worldbuilding information
  • A ridiculous amount of type-os, grammatical errors, etc. Yes…the editors are the next line of defense, but it’s the author’s name on the book, right?

But if you can’t click with a character? The storyline didn’t work for you? It wasn’t the way you thought the story was going to turn out?

I think that will boil down to personal taste and on matters of personal taste, can we really assign blame? I used to gobble down every LKH book the minute it released. I’ve praised endlessly how much I adored her book, Nightseer. But right now, I have four of her books sitting unread on my shelves. I haven’t read Merry since the second book. I can’t find the enthusiasm to read the last two or three AB books.

Did she fail? No~because she has a ton of readers who’ve loved these books. What failed, for me, were the stories. It’s a matter of personal taste.

Lora Leigh is one of my closest friends. I usually get her books within a day or two of her putting the punctuation on the last sentence of the last page. I love her Breeds. The Bound Hearts books? I don’t like them as much and it has nothing to do with her failing me. It has to do with personal taste.

I was doing a Q&A in Indianapolis last year and one of the readers asked about the menages in some of my books… she didn’t care for them. But she never once gave me the impression that I had failed. It was the stories, plain and simple, that didn’t work for her. They worked for plenty of others.

Am I disappointed she didn’t care for them? In all honesty, no, because they didn’t throw her so much that she decided to never read another one of my books…and if I recall correctly, she did read the menage books, just because she wanted to read the story itself. In all honesty, I’d say that is a compliment, that she wanted the story enough to buy it and read it, knowing there was likely going to be something that didn’t appeal to her.

So the way I see it, it’s not really a matter of failure when a book doesn’t work for somebody. It’s a matter of personal taste. Because for every person that hated a book, there’s at least one, or more, that adored it.

What’s your take on it?