Hello everyone. It’s me, Ollie. And James and I are back from our walk for the day. Yes, it may be February in Vermont, but we have virtually no snow — truly. It’s been the worst year that I can remember. Of course, this is only my second year, and last year was multiple feet of snow in which I got to play. This year, puff.
The good news is that it’s meant James has spent more time at home with me since he can’t go skiing. (Well, he could on man-made snow, but with limited trails and multitudes of people, so James has stayed home — yippee for me!! Oh, that got me a treat — Yeah!) For James, it has meant he has had more time to write and, drum roll please, to read. That’s right, one of the most important things writers can do, according to James, is to read, read, read.
This means writers need to purchase books. And not simply any books, but those that are physically present and found in bookstores. By doing this, James says, writers support one another, as well as their local brick and mortar bookstore that’s competing with digital booksellers. So, when James finishes typing this for me, he and I are heading off to Misty Valley Books in Chester, Vermont so he can buy yet another book to read.
I like to sit at James’ feet while he reads. Sometimes he’ll reach down and pet me, or I’ll get up and go get a toy to see if James will play with me — for a break in his reading. One way to take a break is to go to your local bookstore and browse the isles. For me, it’s great simply having him around. (Another treat — I’m on a roll!)
So, as James said, get up and go to your local bookseller. Buy a hardcover or paperback in the genre you write. It may enhance your own skills. Better yet, buy a friend’s book — even if you have to order it from the bookseller. All writers deserve one another’s support, and this is one way in which writers can accomplish that.
There are two other bookstores close to where we live: Village Square Booksellers in Bellows Falls, Vermont, and Northshire Bookstore in Manchester Center, Vermont. That’s three bookstores in close proximity. I bet there are some close to you as well. You can find them in the Yellow Pages or on Google.
Another thing to consider is the support that these bookstores can give you, as a writer, in return. All three of these bookstores have sold James’ books, and two of them gave him a reading. James says there is no better way to promote your book than by getting up in front of readers and gifting a portion of your story to them in the tone, inflection and decibel in which you wrote it. Most of the people who come to hear you will purchase your book, and stand in line to have you autograph it for them. James says there is a glow that begins with the first words out of his mouth and it doesn’t subside until he is driving home. You should try it.
James found this statistic but forgot the credit for it. He still wanted me to include it in this post since he thought it significant. I was hesitant at first since we should always credit sources, but I could be bribed. (Yes, a double treat has done the trick.)
“[T]he largest number of readers, 33 percent in 2013 and 35 percent in 2015, visited a brick and mortar bookstore twice in the past year. In 2013, the second largest percentage of readers, 24 percent, went once a month, while the second largest percentage in 2015, 26 percent, had not gone at all in the past year.”
(Source TBD and will be included if discovered.)
Wow! Twenty-six percent of readers didn’t go to a bookstore at all last year. And 35 percent went only twice last year. As writers, and readers, James believes you should visit your local bookstore at least every month, if for no other reason than to support the owners who are there to sell your books and sell you great literature. Writers need bookstores and bookstores need writers. Like I need James and he needs me. (Yes! Another treat. A trifecta!)
One last thing before I go. While James was skiing in Utah, he visited the bookstore in Park City. Its name is Dolly’s Bookstore, and it’s been there since James can remember. The even better news is that his friends bought books (plural number) while they were there. Maybe for James’ next book he’ll have a reading there, and I could go with him. He says they have cats roaming the store so I may not be able to go inside. But we can always ask.
Your local bookstore offers many wonderful treasures, and they are well worth visiting frequently. They may even have a container of water for your four legged friends like me. It’s well worth the trip.
Let me know the name of your local bookstore and how often you visit. Also, what was the last book you bought there? I always like hearing from you, so please feel free to leave a comment.
Until next week,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)
Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2016 unless otherwise indicated