Shopping for books . . .
Recently on Rachelle Gardner’s blog, she talked about a visit to her local bookstore, and which became a real learning experience. She said:‘ What a great way to expand our reading horizons! 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.’
Rachelle is a literary agent and many of us hang on her words. The gist of this seemed to be that if you hook her by the second or third chapter, then you have hooked her for the sale. The reverse side of course is that ‘sometimes I read enough’ to know ‘I don’t need to buy it at all.’
I’m often even stricter than Rachelle. If the opening page doesn’t hook me, I will put the book back on the shelf. Books cost money and I need to know well before the second chapter that my outlay will be worth it. This of course, is a lesson I need to shout in my own ear on a daily basis: to get that opening hook down pat . . . sharp, bright, catching the reader inexorably so that they wriggle like a worm on the end of a line. And I’m still learning and shall probably learn forever.
The other things that Rachelle talked about were what makes someone pick up a book: cover, front page, back page, blurb? For me, unless its a release from a favourite author, cover is the immediate drawcard. Bad cover, I won’t take any notice.
Next it is the back blurb, scanned as I weigh the book in my hands and finally its the first five or six paras. After that, its over to the counter, pay and depart a happy chappy.
Like Rachelle I love visiting bookshops. I love the smell, the sight of the stained glass colours in the covers. I love that feeling of bubbling joy when I discover that a favoured author has released a book . . . it’s like Christmas. Or when I see a coffee-table book that is so luscious and image-loaded, its like tasting the best type of chocolate or champagne.
The bestest feeling is seeing my own books on a shelf in a bookstore . . . that’s really something! The first time I saw anyone buy a copy, I had to leave the shop before I had a fit of the vapours! I was so excited, I ran into the street, frantically phoning husband on my mobile and all the while having a hot flush!
May it happen again one day, with another release!
PS: I do apologise for the over-use of exclamation marks but there is really no other way of indicating such excitement.