“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?
Amy Kortuem said:
Um…you care, Ann Rosenquist Fee cares, Nicole Helget cares. And I think that might be all for right now. But I really hope that eventually a lot of people will care because I hope I’ll be able to convey the power and message of my story in such a way that it appeals to and applies to humanity in general – the way we grow and change in circumstances that turn out to be exactly the opposite of what we think they “should” be.
Ms. Nine said:
“Who cares what other people think…” That sums up my attitude toward writing. I’m happy when people enjoy it, but I have a story to tell. The story has to come out no matter what people think.
Luckily, I am encouraged by friends and followers who encourage me when the story is sideswiped or stalled. Like a mechanic or fix-it guy, a writer can fix a story and make it work.
I agree! There were times when I let my story sit because I was discouraged. But those times when I wasn’t writing I was at my unhappiest. Things just feel right in the universe when I’m writing!
My dad and my writing buddies. He’s the only one who’s really encouraged me to keep going. To get published so others can read my work. Everyone else seems to think I went backwards, that I should have stayed on the path of becoming an accountant.
Good luck with your publishing journey!
Yawatta, we really need those people in our lives! I’m glad you have some great encouragement. Who cares what other people think? I’m glad you’re writing!