by guest blogger Kate Flora
Pet peeves--you want pet peeves? How about people you've known for years who still begin conversations with, "How's the book doing? I haven't read you, but...." Or who ask about your books and then say, "Can I get them at the library?"
I learned, when people ask that to say, "You can get it at the bookstore." And I learned (I hesitate to share this, but it is important) to end my library and bookstore talks with the following:
I've been in this business since 1994, and over the years, I have seen a lot of really good writers get dropped by their publishers and disappear, so their books can no longer be read. A lot of readers don't realize that the way we survive is by our book sales. Our publishers may like it that we're good writers and good speakers, but for them, it's the bottom line that counts: If we don't sell books, we don't continue to get published.
If I'm in a library, I will often say...I know we're in a library and you can read the book for free, but if you don't support the less well-known authors, your own choices get more limited.
In a bookstore, I often point out that the bookstore is going out of their way to support this event for their readers, and that they, too, survive on their book sales.
Occasionally I'll get a question that makes me go the whole nine yards, and explain that our publishers expect us to do all the marketing, event arranging, publicity, write our own newsletters, print our own postcards, etc. Readers are often shocked by this.
A paperback costs no more than a few cups of Starbucks coffee. A hardback a little more, but it gives many more hours of pleasure. When you're done, you can share it with a friend or give it to your library. So please, seriously consider buying a book. If you don't buy mine, please give your support to some other author. And help keep us published.
Once readers understand how critical book sales are, some of them really go the whole nine yards themselves. Kind readers have made my books, especially the anthologies, hostess gifts or holiday gifts, or sponsored my books at their libraries by buying and donating a copy. These are such painless ways to support an author. And how about this? An apple pie or apple cake and a copy of one of Sheila Connolly's Apple Orchard mysteries? A small, bow-tied packet of Lorna Barrett's Bookstown Mysteries in a basket with cookies and good cocoa? Wed your creativity to ours, and everyone wins.
So what's bugging you today?
Kate Flora is not only a terrific author, but she's also co-editor of the new anthology, Quarry, stories of crime in New England from Level Best Books. Don't miss Kate's 7th Thea Kozak novel, Stalking Death, soon to be available in soft cover.