In my lifetime, I’ve yet to walk out of a movie. I do my best to finish any book I start, even if it’s bad. I’ve written a book, blogged for years, created content of all sorts for years, I understand how hard it is for a content creator to actually create their work. As a sign of respect for the process, I’ve always believed that the least I can do is give the creator the benefit of the doubt until the end of the work.
So you can imagine the level of crap that a book has to be for me to give up early and just stop reading. The Double Agents was one recent such example. I made it 2/3 the way through the book before I was so ready to gouge my eyes out from the idiotic, linger, uninteresting dialogue I thought it best to simply put the book on the shelf and move onto the next. (Berlin Conspiracy, FYI – a fantastic and fun read)
What was interesting about this story was the fact that I picked up this book (in hardback) about WWII OSS agents (a subject I’m fascinated by) without hesitation simply because it carried the author’s name prominently: W.E.B. Griffin. This is an author with more than a hundred books. I’ve heard from multiple people over the years that he’s a great author and his books are safe to pick without review.
With my first test of that word-of-mouth feedback, I was sorely disappointed. I had to wonder about my friends… after all, if they’re recommending this kind of crap, what does that say about them?
After a bit of research, I discovered that W.E.B. Griffin hadn’t actually written most of this book. The co-author (his son, FYI) seems to have penned most of this novel, but the publisher apparently decided to use the star power of W.E.B Griffin’s name to push the book. Had I not done this research, they would have lost potentially scores of additional sales from me for future Griffin books.
I feel more than a little hornswaggled and don’t know that I have much interest in buying any more Griffin (or Griffin, Jr.) books. Look at the image of the cover above and tell me the publisher, Putnam Adult, isn’t trying to trick you into thinking the author is primarily W.E.B. Griffin.
Reputation and trust are built over time and lost in an instant.