This may not surprise you, but I love reading books, buying books, supporting my public library, and talking about books. It’s kind of what makes someone want to be an author in the first place. But the thing is, the closer I inch to becoming an author the more insecure I get about my book habits. On any given day I may ask any or all of these questions: Should I have bought that in hardback instead of paperback? If I check this book out from the library, will I regret not buying it? Will I be able to look the local bookstore owner in the eye at the same time I hand her my Amazon credit card? How much guilt will I have for buying this book on Amazon instead of shopping locally? Should I buy the debut author instead of the well-established one? Once I read this book, can I in good conscience rate it less than three stars on Goodreads? Can I say ANYTHING about this book I just read that is negative when I review it on Goodreads? What in the world do I do if I read a book by an author I know and don’t love it? I could go on and on, but you get the idea.
I’ve decided this is a dumb way to go through my days. I can be annoyingly insecure and this is a good example of how it creeps in all good-intentioned (I want to support my community, my friends, la la la). But sometimes you just gotta grow a pair. Let’s NOT call it a New Year’s resolution. I’m not in the habit of making goals and crap like that. Hell, getting published and becoming a YA author takes forever! Trying to time when it should happen made me miserable. In the land of Should, I needed to get published four years ago. It would have made Josh getting through Med School a little easier financially. Possibly I could’ve afforded some dental work I put off. Braces for the kids. Possibly. Whatever. Didn’t happen. So, I will not live in the land of Should, Goal-Setting, and Resolutions.
So let’s call this exercise Jody’s Guidelines To Assuaging Her Author Guilt. Adopt them with me, or don’t, it matters not. I think for me, this will remain a list I come back to when those questions and insecurities creep in.
1. Hardback or paperback, it matters not. You’re supporting the author and the book industry either way.
2. If the desire for the books are equal, buy the book by the debut author and check out the book by the established author at the library. If the desire is unequal, just buy whatever the hell you want more.
3. During the lean years (aka still right now), take advantage of the Amazon discount and library as needed. There will be a time in the future when you can shop locally without having to give up other comforts like hair conditioner or fabric softener.
4. Regarding reviews, don’t give anything less than three stars. Or, do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. Negativity won’t help sell books or getting people reading. (People are not that persuaded by you, anyway. But still.)
5. Also regarding reviews, liking or disliking something matters not. Who cares if you liked it or disliked it? Taste is not that important. When reviewing, try talking about what the book accomplished.
6. Regarding manners, when you buy the book and thereby support the author and the industry, and when you discuss the merits of the book, you’ve done your part, and then if you simply can’t stand it, Jody, it’s okay to admit (to your husband and non-author friends) the book did or didn’t suit your fancy. (see #5)