There She Goes the Book-writing Man

Nope, I didn’t pull that title out of thin air, it was actually said to me at an anniversary party I went to last year for some friends of ours. Okay, so the guy wasn’t feeling any pain at the time, but even so— this from someone who isn’t your typical book buyer, or reader, for that matter. He seemed to be impressed that I had written a book. As a matter of fact, he mentioned earlier in the evening that his sister was reading my book to him since he couldn’t read.

It surprised me to discover that someone whom I wouldn’t think of as being interested in the fact that I am a writer actually was. It goes to show that we shouldn’t judge a book by its cover… I know, that’s such a cliché, but still….

Seems as though, whenever I go out, I’m constantly being asked, “ Aren’t you the one who wrote the book?”  followed closely with a “When’s your next book coming out?” I usually smile and say I’m working on one, which seems to get them off my back please most people. Immediately their eyes light up and they produce a satisfied grin. I don’t bother to tell them that it might be years until they see anything tangible… It’s difficult to explain to people with little understanding of the publishing industry about wait times, and just the fact that you’ve written a book doesn’t necessarily mean someone will want to publish it. Still, it is nice to know that people are interested.

It’s like that when you live in a small place. Even people in neighbouring communities either know you personally, or recognize you as being so-and-so’s daughter, wife, sister, niece, cousin, friend, your co-worker’s mother, Sunday school teacher, etc. Sometimes, they want to support you for no other reason than that. It’s a pretty wonderful feeling.

I keep reading again and again that most books are sold by word of mouth, and while advertising helps, as do book trailers, having an online presence, etc, most of the books we buy/read are recommended to us by friends or family. It’s an interesting notion. When I stop to think of why I have read certain books quite often it is because they came with a glowing recommendation either from someone I know or from a review I’ve read. Perhaps there is something to that.

Last week I received a royalty cheque in the mail and, I was both surprised and delighted to think that copies of my book are still selling despite it not being promoted.  A book really only gets a few months of promotion until new titles come in to take their place. Seems unfair, but it also makes a lot of sense.

From the very beginning of this journey, I said I didn’t want it to be just about the money. I wanted it to be something so much more, and it is. The copies that have sold means that my words are reaching more and more people. Hopefully, it gives them something to reflect upon. One young girl wrote to tell me that my book taught her the importance of family, and to be strong. Can you imagine how wonderful that felt?

And so “the book-writing man,” will just keep writing away with the hope that someone will discover something worthwhile in her words. I’ve never felt that our worth should be measured only in a monetary sense (for money will come and go) but in our way of  touching the hearts and minds of others. Isn’t that what really counts?

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18 Comments

  1. I must have the same heritage as the one that gave you the name … Book-writing Man…

    …put another nickel in the juke box, and play the truck-drivin’ man …

    I’m looking forward to reading Bitter, Sweet…Congratulations!

    It doesn’t matter how long the next one takes, doesn’t matter about the money, just

    …put another cartridge in the printer, and be the Book-writin’ Man …

    Reply
    • Thanks, Linda. I’m so pleased to have you come visit. It has been awhile. I have missed you. Here’s hoping that Bitter, Sweet will not disappoint you.

      I’m smiling at your comment just now……”put another cartridge in the printer, and be the Book-writin’ Man …” I believe you could turn that into a song. ;)

      Reply
  2. “…. I’m constantly being asked, “ Aren’t you the one who wrote the book?” followed closely with a “When’s your next book coming out?”

    I suppose it’s better to hear this than “Oh yeah, read your book n’ think ya oughta quit while you’re ahead” but it kinda shows how so many folks have no idea about how much work it takes to crank out a story. That’s not a knock on anyone, I’ve just found it amusing.

    By the way – Having read B,S (which was terrific & I highly recommend it for it’s awesome story, great characters, tight writing & overall style) – When’s your next one comin’ out?

    PS – I know – have been MIA / offline lately for the most part – finally taking some time off but I’m so tired (major understatement) that I’m barely functioning or writing. Gonna make an effort to get the spark goin’ again – maybe today. DE

    Reply
    • Hey Dave, Where the heck have you been? I thought you slid off the map or something.

      I do believe many people think that writing is simply a matter of us whipping up a story, and that it comes out right the first time. I keep hoping that will one day be the case. How sweet would that be?

      And by the way—–I’ve noticed you enjoy writing B,S a lot.. ;)

      Seriously, working too hard is not always such a good thing. I know. But you know, we grew up in that generation when it was thought admirable to work, work, work. If you were called a hard worker, then that was a great compliment. Of course we can work hard, but we also need to know when it’s time to step back and make a little time for ourselves. There–Now I feel as though I’ve lectured you enough. Just take care. LOL. And don’t stay away so long next time. :)

      Reply
  3. May you get many more responses like the one from the young girl. That, is why we write.

    Reply
    • Absolutely, Patti. To discover that our words have touched someone else. I also had a lady stop me in the shopping mall, hug me and thank me for writing the book.. These things tend to help keep me humble.

      Reply
  4. Ann Best

     /  November 21, 2011

    That we’ve written something that people relate to and like DOES mean a lot. Though I think it’s also okay to want to earn income from our stories, and I’m glad you’re still getting some royalties, which means that the satisfaction of touching lives is also in play. It’s a lovely complete circle. And word of mouth IS important, which is why I had better get your book read so I can write a review :-)

    Reply
    • There’s absolutely nothing wrong with wanting to earn an income by writing. For me, it’s just not the driving force behind why I write in the first place. That’s just me. But I’ll tell you right now, if I was able to earn enough money writing, I’d quickly quit my job and do just that. To be able to make a living doing something we love is a dream come true.

      Reply
  5. When I went on my book tour for Broken, I ran into my distributor for Dead Witness. She gave me two cheques dated during the last year. For some strange reason I never thought to ask for the cheques, thinking that sales for DW had died. Yet, there they were, two cheques. It wasn’t until days later that it dawned on me I should have been upset that she hadn’t sent me the cheques for then. LOL. I was just so excited to actually still be selling copies.

    I know where you’re coming from, Laura. And isn’t that marvellous. We are writers, and though we’ve never met, we have much in common. We don’t even have to speak of our shared commonalities.

    Reply
    • Seems as though you shouldn’t have had to ask for the cheques as we writers have no idea if our book is still selling. Yet, it’s exciting to know that copies are still being purchased, isn’t it? I wasn’t sure if I’d receive on this time so it was like an added bonus when it came in the mail.

      Writers understand other writers. It’s a good thing too. Someone aught to be able to figure us out!

      Reply
  6. Reading these comments reminds me that most people will never understand a writer’s life, which is why I so enjoy attending conferences and interacting with my online writing friends. They ‘get it.’ Of course, not having novels published yet means I don’t know all the stresses that you experience, but I’m learning a lot from posts like this one. Right now I don’t think about royalties because my magazine articles are usually paid in full either on acceptance or on publication. I think if the time ever comes that I start receiving royalties they will always seem like an extra bonus.

    Reply
    • I’m sure it is difficult to understand. Sometimes we don’t understand it ourselves. It’s difficult to keep ourselves motivated and uplifted. We plunge into the pit of despair when rejection comes our way. Yet we keep going. Don’t we? My dad would describe this as being,” a glutton for punishment.” Sounds accurate to me. What do you think?

      But thank goodness we keep picking ourselves up and continuing on. I totally agree with you, Carol, that any royalties is an added bonus for doing something I love. Mind you, if the Universe wants to start giving me a larger bonus, so that I can devote more time to writing, I’ll gladly take it. ;)

      Reply
  7. Word of mouth is a powerful tool. It can make or break you. Glad to hear Bitter, Sweet is still selling. While at the Value Village, Dartmouth, today, I saw a copy on the book shelf. It’s funny how I recognise local writers now. Before becoming a writer, I seldom read the author’s name/by-line. By the way, anyone looking for older dictionaries should check out the Value Village. I came home with a 1983 edition of Gage Canadian Dictionary (more than 90,000 entries) and a hardcover copy of Family Word Finder ($3.99) each. Why old dictionaries? Because they seem so much more informative than the ones today, and they contain more ‘traditional’ meanings.

    Reply
    • Like you, Diane, I’m keenly aware of local books. It doesn’t surprise me because we seem to have a lot of interests in common. There are a few copies of my book in around the used stores as a few other people have mentioned it. I love buying used books, especially when I discover one that’s only been out a few years. The Dawson Daisy is a great place in Bridgewater to find books. Even though they don’t have a large selection, I’ve found some great books for Miss Charlotte and there are usually YA books there too, which I seem to be reading a lot of lately.

      Reply
  8. fivecats

     /  November 22, 2011

    “you’re the book-writing man”

    This has to be the ultimate compliment. And, for this compliment to come from a gentleman who’s unable to read, so much the better.

    I, too, am impressed by “conversing” with an author, albeit virtually. “You da’ man!” or should I say, “You da’ girl!”

    Reply
    • Even though it is giggle material, It is also a compliment. There have been several people tell me that mine was the first book they ever read.Talk about sacred words to a writer!

      LOL! I’m quite taken with the fact that I’m, conversing with a cat. ;) Your gravitar photo always warms my heart.

      Reply
  9. I know the feeling. Everyone at work knows me as the one who wrote a novel. And the one who writes a blog. Some days I like that distinction and others I wish they could see the other things I do. However, I like being called a writer as that gives me hope that one day it will be totally true. :-)

    Reply

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