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photo by Katie Harris

“As a writer, your job is not merely to write; your job is to get people to care about what you write.”
Christina Katz, author of Get Known Before the Book Deal

This passage caused me to pause and reflect. I get wrapped up in my own writing; of course it’s interesting to me, and of course I care about it. But that doesn’t mean that others will automatically care about the fact that I write. After reading Katz’s statement, I started to think about the people who may truly care about the basic fact I’ve written a book. It’s not many. My mom, my husband, other family members, a few close friends, and that’s about it–basically, people who know me personally. They care about all of my accomplishments, whether it’s writing a book or completing a triathlon.

But why should people who don’t know me care that I’ve written a book? These are the people I have to persuade to care. When I walk through a bookstore, what draws me to a book? Rarely, the author himself or herself. I have a short list of books that I will buy on name recognition alone (for example, Stephen King and Alison Bechdel). But otherwise, it’s the topic that draws me in. It might be a topic I’m already interested in (history or someone’s intriguing personal story) and I don’t need much persuasion. But there are instances in which I hear/read an author interview via Fresh Air, the New York Times, the Minneapolis StarTribune, a local TV show, etc., and that deeper explanation of the book’s topic encourages me to check it out. In those cases, the author has done a good job explaining the book and telling the audience why they should care.

Katz’s simple sentence is helping me approach the marketing of my book and myself in a slightly different way than I’ve been going about it.

So let me try to answer the question: Why should readers care about my book?

My answer: It explores in a unique way (through the perspective of a gravedigger’s daughter) the universal themes of death and grief. Readers don’t need to care about me, but I want them to care about the topic.

Who are the people in your life who truly care that you’re writing?