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Eric Nylund’s Advice on How to Market Books to Video Game-Playing Readers

“People who play video games, in general, …sometimes have a hard time coming over to read books.”

So says Eric Nylund, author of Halo media tie-ins and, his latest book, Mortal Coils. Check out Eric in this exclusive Galleycat interview:

Interesting comments about gamers having low tolerance for “Literary fluffery” (when an author is writing to impress someone rather than telling a great story). Does that mean video game-playing readers are less likely to enjoy books that are Literary-with-a-capital-L?

About John DeNardo (13012 Articles)
John DeNardo is the Managing Editor at SF Signal and a columnist at Kirkus Reviews. He also likes bagels. So there.

3 Comments on Eric Nylund’s Advice on How to Market Books to Video Game-Playing Readers

  1. I’m a gamer and Big-L literary works give me the heebies. (That may have something to do with all the Eng Lit I had to study for my BA, and all the earnest people in the tutes who spent hours debating what the author of some artsy piece REALLY meant.)

    In games, as with books, I like decent characters, a plot, and some kind of resolution. I like an FPS with a bit of character development and a twist or two. Literary works are the written equivalent of The Sims. You’re supposed to enjoy the experience, and at the end of the day you find you haven’t achieved anything.

  2. I suspect a stereotypical gamer might pass on Literary fiction because it’s mostly a big snore. A gamer wants something to HAPPEN in a story be it in a game or a novel. Every once in a while a so-called Literary book will touch me, but usually I find them underwhelming bores. I can certainly appreciate a well-crafted metaphor, profound imagery, compelling character, and so forth. I like these artsy elements, but if the plot is pointless or nonexistent or moves at the rate of continental drift, then I’m not impressed. Last year I read a best-selling fantasy novel (not going to mention title because I suppose some people like it and I don’t need to be mean) that had good characters and tremendous writing, but NOTHING HAPPENED. I slogged through over 600 pages before the war actually started and no one knocked boots in the whole novel. It was an excercise in paper consumption. Perhaps my tastes lean toward the gamer side.

  3. Jeff VanderMeer // February 12, 2009 at 7:08 am //

    Yes, well, anything you do to pander to an audience prior to finishing your book is a crock of sh–, so it’s largely irrelevant. If you have a book that may appeal to a gaming audience (and I know plenty of gamers who have a longer and more detailed attention span than this), that’s great. If you are influenced to write a book with all the granularity taken out because of it–well, then you’re an idiot.


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