Friday, March 06, 2009

Those without whom

Mes Amis

One of the interesting things about not just being a published writer, but working in a bookstore, os that often you are in very direct contact with readers. Sometimes they know it, but most times they don't. Even when you are standing in front of an embarrasingly big display card with your picture and lots and lots of lovely review quotes written in mile high letters.

Occasionally this can be humbling, but luckily - a few grumbles about swear words aside - people seem to talk very positively about the book. Today I had two rather wonderful encounters. For one of these I was on the phone while my colleague sold one of my books to a customer. She said, "Oh, the author works here, would you like him to sign it?"

The customer seemed enthusiastic and said, "I never knew this one existed. But I was sitting beside someone on the plane coming up from London today and they told me that I had to seek out this one and buy it!" Gratifying for sure to know that people are telling random strangers they meet on planes to buy this book.

Another was a very sweet girl who was buying a selection of other books and seemed on the verge of asking me another question but couldn't quite until she blurted out, "See the book that was over there? Did you write it?" This kind of question can be a minefield, but I said, yes, and thank God she told me in very nice terms how much she enjoyed the book. With genuine enthusiasm. And seeing the novels she was buying, I was in very nice company, too.

Here's my point: I love nice reviews, and I enjoy hearing what other authors think of the novel. But more, what really gets me going, is meeting the book-buying public and hearing them talk about the book. Knowing that someone who has no idea who the hell I am and no pre-concieved ideas about what kind of thing I would write has picked up the book, read it and got a kick out of it. So I'd like to thank all the readers out there. You guys are the reason any of us do this. Its not to impress our peers or to live out some fantasy artist's life, but its to connect with readers and entertain them. Without readers, there would be no need for writers.

So thank you. To all of you who have bought the book. Who have read it. Who have got something out of it. And for those of you who I hope will buy, read it and hopefully get something out of it!

Au revoir


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