Here is a definition which might help us better understand what a "voice" is:
Writer's voice is an obsolete literary term used to describe the individual writing style of an author. Voice was generally considered to be a combination of a writer's use of syntax, diction, punctuation, character development, dialogue, etc., within a given body of text (or across several works).Source: Above definition of "voice" was taken from GetGlue at http://getglue.com/topics/p/writers_voice?=g&source=http%3A%2F%2Fgetglue.com%2Ftopics%2Fp%2Fwriters_voice on 09/02/2011.
So, we now know what "voice" means... So what are the implications of this concept to the publishing industry? Are you a reader? A blogger? I bet you have an opinion... Please do share!
To start off with, I'll tell you mine from a reader's point of view and you can agree or disagree with me. In my years of reading I find that what "makes" or "breaks" a book is the story telling quality. And I believe that the "author's voice" is what comprises the story telling quality, or at least the major chunk of it. Of how well does an author tell the story? Some authors have a way of stringing words together and makes the story come alive. Some not only catch my interest, but draws me in so completely to what they are saying that the real world fades away. The authors I found who does this are Jim Butcher and Ilona Andrews. Some authors are able to paint a very vivid world with their words that it comes to life for me, I could almost taste it! Anne Bishop is one such author. The genre therefore becomes a secondary choosing criteria. Genre only helps me narrow things down in a vast sea of books because if I don't narrow it down, it'll probably drown me. What I'm really looking for when I read a book therefore is how good the author's voice is. This, I believe takes talent. So I say:
Everybody has a voice, but not everybody can sing. Some people sing better than others, and then there are those who sing with undescribably good talent.