Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Looking Up, Letting Go

There's a lot I've discovered the last four months since my book was published. Really, enough to fill up many, many blogs posts, which I'm determined to write. But here's my topic for today: people buy books and don't read them. Even I do this.

There's, of course, the absolute wonder and amazing fact of people buying a book you've written at all. That I want to express gratitude for. To labor and struggle, buried like a hermit in my office year after year, agonizing over the structure, the stories, the right balance of humor and tragedy, and then to press that awful "publish" button and to have my book find its way into people's homes? That's been amazing.

The vast majority of people buy the book, read the book and finish the book, as far as I can tell. A lot of amazing people have even contacted me about the book. But what I've learned is that some people just own the book, they don't read it. They put it in a pile that's teetering somewhere near their ceiling, blocking out the sun, and every once in a while they reshuffle this great pile, reprioritzing it, or, like me, moving some out of that pile and into the "I'm never going to read this" pile in my actual bookshelves.

And, believe it or not, it's not personal. They have a plan and it involves finishing certain books that have been started or projects that have been started and then dealing with the towering stack of books. Believe me, I understand. I have several piles myself.  

There's this horrible fear I had before my book was published: that no one would ever read my book. Then, little did I know, but there was this horrible fear I had the second it was published: that someone would read it.

My book came out in paperback about a month before its Kindle edition so no one could get it instantly, they had to wait for delivery. Immediately, my most loyal fans ordered it: my blogging buddies, my personal friends, my grown nieces, friends on Facebook. Then I sat in my house on pins and needles wondering what they thought of it. I hoped no one had gotten overnight shipping. I was actually hoping they all had ordered the "covered wagon" shipping option from Amazon, so that it would take months to get to them. I counted off the days for mail time and reading time. I wondered if there was going to be that awful dead silence when people don't want to say anything bad and so say nothing at all? 

Then a nice comment came in. Okay, it was from someone who's related to me by blood, but still. Honestly, it was a relief just to breath again.  

Please visit Kristen over at Motherese this week as she's giving away a copy of Looking Up this week. She posted her review of the book on Monday and will be posting an interview with me on Thursday!


You can buy Looking Up: A Memoir of Sisters, Survivors and Skokie on in Kindle or paperback versions, on Barnes &, in many libraries and in Changing Hands Book Store in the Phoenix area. 

1 comment:

  1. I am definitely guilty of buying books and then letting them sit idly on my bedside table for months on end. (Both my husband and I actually have small bookcases as bedside tables to help fuel our book-buying-and-not-reading habit.) I suppose it's sort of aspirational: I want to read more. I want to read all the time. So maybe if I surround myself with great books, I'll somehow find the way to read them?

    As you know, though, yours didn't sit for long before I devoured it! :)