One of the many things I like about the holiday season is that we’re encouraged to think of our unmet needs or dearest wishes. Usually the prompt is innocuous, “So what’s on your Christmas list?” But how often are any of us asked what we really, truly want at any other time of year?
If you’re like me, your usual response to that question goes one of two ways. I want peace, prosperity and good health for everybody—I do mean EVERYBODY.
But if you catch me in a more practical moment (though I think world peace is very practical), I’ll probably tell you I’d love a pair of nice, warm organic wool socks, or that anything small, handmade and pretty will always be welcome in my home. Sachets, soaps, dried flowers, cottage-decoration stuff gladdens my heart when I think of the person who made it or gave it to me.
As an author, my version of world peace and heart-made crafts is slightly different. I want my books to find their way into hands and hearts that will love them, and I want my books to stay away from the people who will be disappointed with them or upset by them. If that means I have fewer sales, then I’m happy, as long as the readers are happy.
There’s a catch with that Christmas question, though. When somebody asks, “So what do you want for Christmas?” You will get another Looney Tunes tie unless you say what you really, honestly, truly want. So here’s an author’s Christmas list, in case you’re ever wondering what an author–any author–would like during the season of appreciation and goodwill.
If you like a book, talk about it. Share it, lend it, recommend it, post about it on social media. Review it if that’s your inclination, drop the author an appreciative note. Let the librarians and book store owners know the book is by one of your keeper authors. Sign up for the author’s newsletter, and connect with him or her on social media. That’s at least ten gifts you can give your favorite authors that cost you nothing, and will mean the world to them.
Readers are bright people. They know a recommendation from a friend or family member when it comes to books is likely to be a better match for them than even the much respected Amazon also-boughts. The author has to write an excellent book, but by and large, the readers are the ones who find the right hands for those books.
I feel selfish for putting this in a post, because I’m abundantly blessed with lovely readers and a big store of organic wool socks. (World peace might take a while, I get that.) But as somebody pointed out to me recently, sometimes, to have your heart’s desire, you MUST ASK FOR IT.
So I’ve made my list, and taped it on the fridge for anybody to see. What’s on your list that’s hard to ask for, or that might take a while?
To one commenter, I’ll send a $50 Amex gift card. Christmas IS coming, so is the cold weather, the heating bills, the holiday food bills…