First, have y'all been to the Google website? It's musical today, and you can record your own little diddy. Check it out!
I've been oddly lucky this week to have won two of the two blog contests I entered. I'll be receiving Tess Hilmo's With A Name Like Love and Beth Revis' Across the Universe. I was already excited about getting WANLL because I really admire Tess' writing, and I already have a copy of ATU. But having two copies of each will let me pass on one copy to some other reader--or let me read two copies at once.
The duplicates got me thinking about how I decide which books/things I tell other people about. It's more complicated than me simply liking the book.
Over the last year or so, I'd say there were 3 things that I really pushed. These are the things that I told many of my friends about, that I tweeted about, that I blogged about, etc. One was the Not So Humble Pie blog, which now has over 3500 followers. I think I was one of the first 10 to follow it, but I'm not going to click through them all to find out for sure. This blog talks about baking and also has a lot of really beautiful pictures of the products. I remember passing images around and telling my friends about it, as almost all of my friends eat.
The second thing I told a lot of people about was a television show called Raising Hope. I just thought it was hilarious, and I wanted to make sure it stayed on the air.
And the third recent thing I told people about was a band called Foster The People, which, really, if you haven't already heard them, you should.
Why did I decide to talk about these things? Well, I liked them all. That was definitely an important criterion, but it wasn't the only one. After all, I also found this guy on YouTube after watching Bjork perform "Unison" about three hundred times, which was something else I really liked. I even contacted the YouTube singer and had a short exchange about what inspired us in art. He's really nice.
I realize that I tell people about some things more than others because I have to figure out how to communicate my message to the people I think will care, and some things are easier to talk about than other things. It's much easier for me to say, "You can dance to Foster The People" than it is to say, "This guy's cool because he covered a Bjork song, and has a really simple and elegant voice and accompanies himself with a soprano saxaphone." I don't feel like I can properly sell the second guy in a way that will motivate people to check him out.
So, it's a two step process. I have to like something, and I have to know how to sell that something to the people who might like it. And a lot of things get lost in the process. The strange and sad result is that I keep the things I like the most to myself sometimes.
Let's talk books.
Here are some books I have loved in the last few months: Wind-Up Bird Chronicle, Never Let Me Go, Too Much Happiness, Moby Dick.
Here are some books I have pushed on people in the last few months: The Lovely Bones, Water For Elephants, The Book Thief, Never Let Me Go.
There's an overlap, but for the most part, the two lists are different. For the second group of books, I had to feel like I knew people who would like the product I was trying to sell.
For me, then, there has to be some sort of short message associated with the project that teaches me how to talk about it. I don't think that short message has to be about plot or about character or anything specific. But it does have to be about something. As part of my new journey to match writers with their Right People Readers then, my challenge is to figure out how to come up with those messages so that I can get more of the books I love into the right hands.
And, I should say, that I'm not always right about my predictions ahead of time, so maybe it's just a matter of me trying to communicate what I love, even if I don't feel like I know how to sell it. Have you checked out the YouTube singer I mentioned? Did I manage to sell him?
So tell me--and yes, this is for selfish reasons--what makes you tell other people about a book?
Oh, and also also, February Grace interviewed me here, and Tara Maya put up my first official book review here.