What’s more important to you?
My wife’s a cartoonist and she’s been creating a comic for the past 6 months. In that time she’s built up something of a fan base.* One thing she’s noticed is that her fans are less fans of her comic as a whole than fans of this or that character. It got us talking about what makes us like certain books. Whether it’s the genre/series itself, the character, or the writer.
Put another way, when you read a Sherlock Holmes mystery, what’s more important, the mystery or Sherlock Holmes? What about a Philip K. Dick novel?
There’s no right or wrong to this. I can think of two somewhat similar writers whose books I enjoy, Liz Hand and Kameron Hurley, both of whom write grim, violent stories. But I read Hurley’s Bel Dame series, for the series itself, then the characters, while the writer remains in the background. In the case of Liz Hand’s recent mystery novels I’m reading them more to see how this particular writer, Liz Hand, uses the mystery genre, yet while being less attracted to her messed-up “detective” character, Cass Neary.
And I don’t think it’s something you can maximize. Like if you blend all three effectively then you will write a blockbuster. But I wonder whether other folks have considered this. What do you think?
Do you read by genre, character, or writer?**
* When a complete stranger draws a picture of a character you’ve created, I’ll say you have developed a fandom.
** And yes, this questions skews towards popular genres. Though maybe not.