Tuesday, September 30, 2014

JUST my opinion - readers just don't care

Based solely on my completely unbiased unscientific study, readers just don't care one fig if the book they're reading and enjoying was published by a big name publisher, a small name publisher, an unknown publisher, the writer who wrote it or the writer's granny.

Sometimes, those of us who published our own novels forget this.

To those of you who are self-published, or indy authors, or whatever it is we're now supposed to be calling ourselves, I hope you'll remember this.

It was brought home to me loud and clear at a signing I did last week at one of the best little bookstores around.  Quarter Moon Books, Topsail, Island, NC does what needs to be done to stay in business.  They've created a place where locals come to hang out, and tourists look forward to stopping in when they come back to the island year after year.

In addition to an excellent selection of books, there are things that appeal to readers, including a line of journal notebooks by
Compendium that I am over the moon about - take a look!  http://www.live-inspired.com/Her-Words-C233
.  I always pick up one or two when I'm there.

It's filled with fun, funky, happy displays,

a coffee bar with some of the best coffee I've ever had, and a comfy little wine bar with the occasional wine tasting event 

and even some music on the deck by local talent.

Go by there most any evening and you'll find a crowd on the patio deck.

If we lived on Topsail Island, you'd more than likely find us there a lot of evenings.  I could probably just move into Quarter Moon, actually.  I'd love to have the place all to myself some night - sorta like my own goofy version of "From the Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler." There are clothes and hats and jewelry I've a hankering to try on.  I'd like unlimited time to scan all the books I'm not familiar with, sit with bookstore kitty Socks in my lap and

 read through some of the sensational section of children's books. 

 Taste some of the wine on hand and sip it out of one of the gorgeous wine goblets on display and nibble on some cheese arranged perfectly on one of the beautiful beach-theme platters.

But, I've drifted off point here . . .

Back to my theory that readers just want to read.

Quarter Moon readers who stopped by last year when I was there, and again this year just want to read, and they're on the look-out for new books by new-to-them writers, I think.  Otherwise, why on earth would they poke their heads in the door to meet a writer they've never heard of and then actually buy her book?  I did ask one of the women who stopped by for a visit if she followed publishing news and she looked at me blankly.  So I asked specifically if she ever opened a book to read who the publisher might be.  She said no, and I could tell by the way she answered that she was confused by why I would even ask that question. (End of my unscientific experiment).  I expect these readers are like most readers.  You know?  I'm thinking they just want to read.

And truth be told, I kinda miss those days before I knew anything about the business end of books.  I miss those days when someone would say to me, "Have you read . . . ?  Oh!  You will love it!  Give it a try," and I would based only on that.  People warned me that I would start reading like a writer when I wrote "Whimsey."  I'm not sure that it's true to the extent some of them thought it might be, but sadly, it is true.  If, however, the story and the characters are engaging enough to capture my interest and my own imagination, the reading like a writer thing disappears fairly quickly.  I'm glad.  I don't want to read a book and find myself critiquing it, or reading it with planning a review in my mind.  I want to just read and live in the story.

When Donald and I got back to the rental house that evening after the signing, I was feeling on top of the world.  It was a fun night.  I love talking "books" with other book lovers.  I wrote down a couple titles that were shared with me and I passed along some titles that some of these readers wrote down.  And it hit me once again, that no matter how much promotion an author does, there's nothing that is ever going to surpass word of mouth.  An enthusiastic "Have you read . . .?!" will still sell me a book.

In the meantime, I'm still dreaming about my one night I could spend all alone in Quarter Moon Books and what fun it would be . . . 


Allison said...

I loved this. You're right we readers don't really understand the publishing part of it.

Libby Dodd said...

What a fabulous place! A night there sounds divine.

Alice Duncan said...

I believe you're absolutely correct, Kaye! And boy, I wish we had a place like that around here! Dream on, me.

Susan Oleksiw said...

That looks like a lovely place to spend an afternoon with a new book, sipping tea or wine and just relaxing. I agree that readers don't care who published a book, and publishers don't seem to understand that. It's all about the story.

Unknown said...

Loved your thinking, and your bookstore. Maybe we could all unite and take over. Of course, the cozy part of the wish might disappear as we all tried to snuggle down in the evening. But great dream place.