"Unless their use by readers bring them to life, books are indeed dead things." ~Lawrence Clark Powell
I always thank my readers in my acknowledgements because, as Powell says above, a book has to have a reader to come to life. Fiction writers and readers form a unique partnership of imagination. The writer comes up with the characters and lets their adventures flow through his or her fingers to form a story with words. Those words become a book and then the reader comes into the game. The reader absorbs the words and the characters spring to life inside his or her mind and begin living out their stories.
Part of a writer's job these days is not only to write the story and get it to the store shelf or wherever, but today the writer has to connect with potential readers and not simply wait for readers to find her. There are many ways for this to happen. One way is to write such a great story that everybody starts talking about it and this friend tells that friend and soon the books are getting read in easy chairs at home, in buses on the way to work, in airplanes and trains, and on beaches in the sun.
I suppose that's the way we'd all choose if we could. But at times word of mouth needs a jump start. Sometimes the author has to let people know the book is ready to fit in their hands. So writers show up at bookstores to do book signings. Writers become speakers at club meetings and other events. They might stop in at radio shows or sometimes show up on television. Whatever it takes to get readers to notice our books.
So the month a book comes out, writers like me spend a lot of time talking about the book. We hop around the internet visiting blogging friends. We give away copies as enticement to read about the book and write reviews. Some of us even come up with other contests to tie in with our books to attempt to get readers to notice our books. I have the Louisville themed contest accessed from my website or you can check out the newspaper themed one on Fresh Fiction's Contest Page. Both contests end at midnight EST on the 29th, Leap Year day, so if you haven't yet entered, you still have time. Here's the second prize of my Louisville contest - a Louisville Stoneware cup with a city skyline decoration. The 1855 Louisville skyline is behind Adriane on the cover of Words Spoke True.
But the events to get my books in front of the reading public that I enjoy the most are the ones where I get to talk to my reading friends the way I'm doing in the picture above. This is at my first book launch for Words Spoken True at the Corinth Christian Book Store in Frankfort a couple of weeks ago. Sunday I'm going to celebrate with my hometown friends at the local library. I've been doing an event like this for every book since The Scent of Lilacs was published in 2005 and it's one I look forward to each time I have a new release.
Some of my reading friends have been very faithful, coming back to hear me talk about writing again and again. Others are new reading friends who come out to meet one of their local writers. We have a bunch of writers in our area, but many of them are originally from somewhere else. I'm a hometown girl that many of my readers here have known for years and years. I'm one of them and it's fun to get together and talk books.
I'll also be taking my show on the road to the Joseph-Beth Book Sellers in Lexington, KY on Thursday, March 15. There I'll be sharing the book stage with writing friend, Virginia Smith.
But then at the end of the promotional whirlwind month, things will settle down again and I'll be back at my desk trying to let another character's story spill out of my head to make a new book.
Thanks for reading. And if you have a minute, let me know what influences your decision to pick up a book. Reviews? Free book promotions? Book fairs? Book parties? A friend's recommendation? Just the look of the book? What wins your attention?