Thursday, January 27, 2011

Reader feedback: one of life's best gifts

I got the greatest gift this week: feedback from a reader.

Every time one of my books hits the market, I feel as if I just sent a kid off to college. And the worst thing? I don't know how he's doing or who he's hanging out with. I have no idea if anyone's reading my book, let alone enjoying it.

And then, one day, an e-mail shows up.
I don't recognize the name but curiosity gets the best of me and I open it. And my world gets a little—nay, a lot—brighter. A reader talks back, closes the loop, begins a two-way dialogue with me. Yesterday was one of those days.

Subject line: BTFT (for Beyond the Family Tree, my latest book)

I just wanted to thank you for the book. My wife, who is trying to determine family fact from family fiction, is proud that she has filled out all the boxes on your tree page (and then some). The book is kind of turning into the only family heirloom anyone is likely to inherit in her family. Of course, when your great aunt is born in a cave en route from Mexico some things get left behind… Thanks again, Scott

Scott, wherever you are, know that hearts are coming out of my grateful head towards you and your wife. To know that my book is not only being read, but used and cherished, well, I'm a crier so you can only imagine what's going on up in here. Once I kick my book out the door and off to the printer, it's far too easy for me to get caught up in the next thing and the pressures of the everyday. Hearing from a reader is way to take a pause and take in what I've put out in the world. And that is what makes my writing truly worthwhile.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Press for The Business of Books

As the year gets under way, I'm contemplating a few meaningful resolutions. Being kinder to myself, pursuing a healthful lifestyle, backing away from Bravo, developing deeper relationships with family and friends, and finishing two massive book proposals. I also want to help you with your publishing aspirations. To that end, Kerry Colburn and I are continuing to bring publishing talks, workshops, and private consultations to Seattle's burgeoning authors. You can find our complete schedule of events here. To learn a bit more about our philosophy behind The Business of Books, look no further than Nicole Brodeur's column in the Seattle Times. She quotes me as saying "There's always room for new book ideas and fresh voices. We're taking back the New Year's resolution as something that's achievable, and does not involve self-loathing." Sounds about right. Kick that cabbage soup diet to the curb and get busy writing. You'll feel better and you won't have hunger pangs.

Now I just have to kick my Real Housewives habit to the curb.

A sampling of my books