Get to a Bookstore!
This past weekend I spent about three hours browsing around my neighborhood Borders. I try to do this once every couple of months at least – not just make a quick trip to the bookstore, but spend a good deal of time there. As writers and publishing professionals, we all need to get to the bookstore regularly. Each time I go, I learn something new or have some kind of a revelation about books and publishing. And each time I go, I remember why I wanted to get into publishing in the first place.
Writers are always asking about trends in publishing, but the best way to get a feel for what’s happening right now is to see what’s on the shelves. Yes, those books were all written and acquired a year or two years ago (or more). But it’s still helpful to understand what’s happening today.
I took my time browsing. I opened books and read. I paid attention to what made me pick up a book, and I paid attention to what made me put it in my “buy” pile or add it to the “buy someday” list I keep in my Blackberry. Was it the title? Cover? Back cover or flap copy? First few pages? I find I choose different books when I’m standing in the bookstore than when I’m shopping on Amazon, and this is one of the reasons it’s so important for me to get out there. Usually I’m looking for something specific on Amazon, but in the bookstore, I’m open to anything that catches my eye. What a great way to expand our reading horizons!
I really want you to make an effort to hang out in a bookstore for a few hours at a time, several times a year. It’s best if there is comfortable seating. I collect a stack of books, then go sit in the cafe and open them up. Often I’ll get so engrossed that I’ll read two or three chapters just sitting there! Then I know I want the book. Sometimes I read enough that I feel I don’t need to buy it after all. Anyway, it’s just loads of fun!
Here are a few books that captured my attention this time:
by Tony Schwartz
by Ann Brashares
by Philip Gulley
by Lev Grossman
by Katherine Howe
by Geneen Roth
Q1: Have you read any of these, and if so, what are your thoughts?
Q2: What books have captured your attention lately?
Rachelle Gardner, Literary Agent