This is embarrassing. I went to a book sale the other day and sold all my novels, including my personal copy of Gothic Spring. I sold it by mistake. The book is valuable to me because I use it when I do readings. The pages are dog-eared and marked with comments I wish to make during my talk. Unfortunately, it wouldn’t be valuable to a customer, and so I am riddled with guilt, knowing someone paid full price for a used book. I have no idea who bought the copy as all transactions were in cash. Every time I imagine the customer opening to the first page and finding my scribbles, I turn crimson. What will that person think of me? I can only say, I’d be happy to refund the money and receive, in return, my dog-eared treasure.
Odds are, however, I’ll never hear from that buyer. Book junkies, if they are anything like me, tend to purchase more publications than they can read in a lifetime. Gothic Spring (Click) will probably end up in a pile of unread purchases as tall Iowa corn. If only those book junkies realized making the sale is only half what a writer hopes for. What we want, even more, is an audience and, possibly, a good review.
Book junkies have a different goal. They long for sunny beaches and a timeless world in which to read. They are oblivious to the fact that time is no friend to an author. Six months after a book’s release, its commercial value is almost nil. Book junkies are the reason. Like moths, they gravitate to the newest titles, leaving older purchases to languish in the “unread” pile.
Where authors and book junkies find common ground is during the holiday season. A book’s age is no problem when buyers are looking for gifts. Ballet Noir, (Click) a scant 8 months old, may dare to dream of finding itself in colorful wrapping and lying under a pine-scented tree. During the holidays, even Heart Land (Click) and Trompe l’Oeil (Click) may hope.
A writer hopes, too. Their books are their children, after all. They want their creations to live well-worn lives. Should you buy of one of my books as a gift this season, please slip a card inside: “Read this!” Among the saddest sights in all the world is a book without dog-eared pages.