Our thanks this month to guest blogger, Kathy Blumenstock. Kathy currently writes Animal Planet’s “The Mole” blog http://blogs.discovery.com/the_mole. A career journalist, she has been a reporter and writer for The Washington Post, Sports Illustrated, USA Today, NBC News and Entertainment Tonight. Kathy also contributes feature stories to Knitchmagazine.com and Knit ‘N Style magazine.
I have an author friend who is the walking, talking, laughing embodiment of the word “gratitude.” She’s so aware of and humbled by her success, she’s made it her business to demonstrate constant thanks to her readers. Her books are cleverly plotted and fun to read. Her loyal readership regularly puts her on best-seller lists. She’s become, as they say in publishing, a “brand name.” And brand name authors can coast, with boatloads of books selling effortlessly. I know of one brand name author who rarely does public appearances, travels with two bodyguards and signs books with only her name, never a personal “To Kathy” or “Happy Birthday Peggy.” And her readers accept this, because after all, she’s a Brand Name Author, and they are mere readers, plunking down plastic or cash for $25 hardcovers every year.
By contrast, my author friend turns her many book signings into standup comedy, Q&A snack sessions. She’ll toss packs of Tastykakes (an East Coast snack favorite) into the crowd, crack jokes about herself and family, and hug everyone within arm’s length. She’s posed for thousands of pictures with eager readers; she’s in more family albums than most in-laws. Why does she give so much? “Because a book isn’t a book till it’s read,” she says. “I can write the best book. But if no one reads it, that doesn’t matter. So I am very, very grateful to the people who read my books, buy my books. Without them, I don’t have a job.” Does she really need the eternal act of gratefulness? Probably not. All those readers would still find her work. But she believes gratitude, like a good book, needs to be shared.
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