Picking Up a New Book

Ann H Gabhart Ann's Posts, One Writer's Journal

~~ How do you decide to buy a book or check one out of the library or even pick one out of your own to be read pile? Of course the cover entices us from the bookstore shelves or from the book catalogues. The right cover catches the eye and says pick me up. Sort of like the chocolate bars call to us chocoholics sometimes. Of course with those it might not matter about the cover. We know what’s inside. With a book – especially a book by an author you haven’t read before – you might not have much of an idea about what’s inside. So the cover is extremely important in getting the reader to take the next step toward deciding to read that particular story.

~~ Then what? Do you turn it over and read the back cover copy? Do you check out the endorsement blurbs or perhaps the review snippets that might be on the cover or perhaps inside the front cover? Do you care if the author’s photo is on the book cover? (I hope that doesn’t influence your choices too much since I’ve never had a picture on the cover. Guess nobody at the publishing companies thinks my mug shot can sell books. LOL)

~~ When I’ve been at book fairs, I’ve watched people as they wander through the aisles of tables full of bright and pretty books waiting for a reader to pick them up. Some people seem overwhelmed with so many choices and after a while, they almost seem afraid to even look toward the books as though the books or maybe the authors might cast some kind of spell over them and make them buy the books. Some authors are very good at drawing people in to look at their books. I like talking to people at book fairs, but I’m not a great book salesperson. I want to talk about their kids or where they’re from or the other books they might be carrying around with them – the books that have already jumped off the tables into their arms. I get tired of parroting the basic plot lines of my own books a hundred times in a day. But on the other hand, it is fun to sell somebody a book. It’s like getting an unexpected gift except they’re the one carrying the book away. Still, they were willing to take a chance on my book. That’s the gift the reader gave me.

~~ But back to picking the books, some readers open the book and read the first page. So here’s the first page of the book I’m currently working on. It can change. It probably will change. But on this writers’ loop I’m on, a lot of the writers posted their first pages in the last couple of day so I thought I’d do the same for you. Here goes.

~~ Isaac Carr didn’t think Ella would really die. Not let her hand go limp in his and actually stop breathing. She’d told him she would, but he hadn’t believed her. At least not soon enough. A person didn’t die because her mother wasn’t there to stroke her head. If that could happen, he would have died when he was thirteen, but here he was still breathing. Even if every breath did seem a betrayal while he watched them lower his beautiful Ella down in the ground.
~~ He’d brought her home. He had to. It didn’t matter that the Fort Smith doctor who had bled Ella warned him to wait for her fever to abate before making the trip back to Louisville. The doctor wasn’t being haunted by the memory of Ella looking him right in the eye the day before the fever hit and telling him she’d die if he didn’t take her home. Isaac was. She’d been telling him the same thing every day since they’d left Louisville months before until it had meant no more than someone mentioning the sun shining or the rain falling outside.

~~ How do you decide which book to carry home with you to put in your to read piles?