I had an experience this week that made me realize how far I’ve come in the past three years.
I used to be a reader. A hugely fanatic reader. I spent so much time at the library that they made recommendations and held books back for me. My local indie bookstore, Davis-Kidd, was constantly placing special orders for me. A great afternoon was hitting the new West End Starbucks, then meandering through the two-story Borders downtown.
I knew nothing about the industry. I knew nothing about publishing. I wasn’t a member of any online groups. I was shocked and astounded by author photos, because I’d never gone to an author’s website to see what they looked like, much less attended a conference and met them in person. Heck, I hadn’t ever gone to a book signing before John Connolly came through Nashville in 2005.
What I did was read. Oh, the joy of those days, when the biggest choice I had to make was whether I could take the fully allotted twenty books home from the library at once and get them all read by the three week checkout deadline, or should I buy a stack from the store and read them first?
I have a confession. I got my book suggestions from a single source. People Magazine.
Now don’t laugh. People does a great, albeit limited, job of reviewing titles. I found that I generally agreed with their reviewers. I used them as a guideline, cutting out the reviews of books I was interested in, searching for said books, purchasing or borrowing, then enjoying. It was a great system. Simple, efficient. I was never at a loss for reading material.
Thanks to People, I found John Sandford, the author who inspired me to become a writer.
I still read the reviews in People. This past week, I was flying home from vacation and grabbed a People at the airport bookstore. I settled in after take-off, flipping through until I hit the book section. I’m reading, and now knowing a bit more about the industry, thinking about how hard it is to get reviewed in these magazines. I turn the page and WHAM! I see M.J. Rose’s THE REINCARNATIONIST. Being reviewed in my sacred of all sacred sources. The entire plane heard me squeal. Hubby jumped a mile. I read the review (glowing and fantastic, by the way), then thrust it at him. “Look, look! It’s MJ! They love the book! It’s in People!”
Cue alarmed flight attendants checking the safety of the plane.
Now remember, for many, many years, People was my sole source of information on new books coming out. And to see one of my favorite writers, a mentor, friend, and incredible person, one that I KNOW, in my magazine, was so totally cool. Knowing a bit of MJ’s background – her perseverance, her tenacity, her selfless promotion of other authors ahead of herself – I closed the magazine with a smile. She’s made it. And it’s very, very well deserved acclaim for an incredibly inventive book.
Over the past three years, everything has changed for me. All for the better, as far as I’m concerned. In two short months, my own book will be on the shelves, and the attendant reviews will focus on my skill as an author. Will I get reviewed in People or hit the NY Times list? Naw. But that’s okay. That wasn’t my goal for my debut year.
But I’ll keep reading People, knowing more and more previously unknown to me authors, and will be proud of each and every one of you. In the meantime, may we have a big round of applause for Ms. Rose?
Also, please join us on Friday for an interview with MJ that truly highlights just how unique a writer she is.
ALL THE PRETTY GIRLS (November 1, 2007)
4 Comments so far
Leave a comment