Fiction or Biography?

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    I recently met a well-known author in the Frum community who has written a number of well accepted “Frummie novels” (fiction) which I enjoyed reading. Everyone in my family enjoyed them and we discussed them. This Author has, however, turned to writing only Frum non-fiction, including biographies. I asked what are the chances at another fiction novel? The response: zero. Why? They don’t sell nearly as well as the non-fiction. To the scale of 5k fiction vs 40k non-fiction. I was stunned by these numbers and implored the Author for more fiction (sort of like pro bono work for attorneys). Also because IMHO the quality of Frum fiction has suffered recently due to authors like this on abandoning the field. What does this oilom say?


    Why should he work hard for so little reward? If there is more money to be made in nonfiction let them write non-fiction.


    Baltimore Maven, you raise a very good point.
    When it comes to reading preferences, although I enjoy both very much, I prefer fiction over nonfiction.
    However, when I buy a book, I buy nonfiction. I own many nonfiction books and only a few fiction books (and those I received as gifts).
    Why is that? I get most of my reading material library; a new book from the bookstore is a luxury I allow myself very rarely. I want the books I buy to be ones. I’ll enjoy reading over and over again. I have so many Parsha books that have become regular visitors at my Shabbos table! I would much rather spend my money on something like that than on a fiction book that I’ll probably read just once and be done with.
    Will I change my purchasing habits as a result of your post? Nope! But your point about the need for better fiction is well taken. Thank you for raising the topic; let’s see what other posters have to say.


    Writers write what readers want to read, and what readers want is indicated by sales.

    By way of contrast, in socialist systems (consider places such as North Korea), “Big brother” or “Fearless leader” tell authors what to write and tell readers what to read. In a capitalistic system, professional writers make a living by writingwhat readers want to buy.


    Why not post the author’s name? This isn’t personal information.


    Why would anyone be bittul zman reading fiction?


    Dear Joseph,
    To avoid the bittul zman of the coffee room! I think a lot of jewish non-fiction is fundamentalism. (Not necessarily in a bad way.)

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