Sunday, December 12, 2010

Book Spotters

It's shopping season. People buy like mad this time of the year. We don't want to be Scrooges. Or at least most of us don't. I get to feeling a little Scroogy after I go shopping. I know that doesn't make a lot of sense, but since when does the way we feel have to make sense? No, I guess I get to feeling I shouldn't have bought this or I should have bought that. Or I should have put more money in the red kettle for those who might not have enough when I've been so blessed. I've always been able to buy Christmas gifts for my children and now also my grandkids.
I've already told you that my favorite place to shop is a bookstore and my favorite gift to buy is a book. A favorite gift to get too even though it makes for a problem of not enough reading time and too many great books in my "to read" pile. Not a bad problem to have. Reading is the other side of writing and important to an author's knowledge base - both the conscious and the subconscious. Words bury themselves in your head while you're reading and then pop up like toast out of a toaster sometimes when you need that perfect word. Of course sometimes that perfect word is so buried you have to pry it out with a mental pick axe. But the words might not be there at all if you never read them. If you never saw how another writer used them. If you never rejoiced in a fine turn of phrase.
One of the fun things about bookstore shopping for an author is not only buying books to read or as gifts, but checking to see if you might find YOUR book on the shelf. There's just something about seeing your book with your name on it on a shelf waiting for a reader to come along and pick it up and maybe carry it home. Of course bookstore shopping to spot your books can also be very discouraging if your books are nowhere to be seen while every other author in the whole wide world is there on the shelf in front of you. There may be authors who don't check for their own book if they go bookstore shopping, but I don't happen to know any of them. Maybe if you get famous enough, you just assume your book is there without having to look. I can't imagine Stephen King looking for his book, er, books, but I'm thinking he might have with that first book. I certainly did with my very first book many years ago, Unfortunately, since I didn't have a blockbuster first novel like King, I was disappointed a lot.
Now I don't go bookstore hopping just to search out my book, but if I'm in a bookstore, I do look. And I have friends who like to tell me when they spot one of my books somewhere. If it's not in Kentucky, some of them sound sort of surprised. Like how in the world could that happen?Then I have readers who also do some book spotting for me. I appreciate that. That's what the picture is. Some book spotting at Sam's Club.
If you've ever looked to see if one of my books is on the bookstore shelf where you shop, thank you. That makes you a book spotter and a friend.

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