More Than a Blogger to Me: The Book Therapist (originally posted here)
People often ask me what I'll do if someone says something bad about the book. You know, the inevitable comment on Amazon (by A. Nonymous, of course): "I HAAAAAAAATED… it!!!!! May-be will sell on ebay 2day and make some money back that I spent on it cause was horribel LOLOL."
(Yes, I am implying that anyone who doesn't like my book has a poor sense of language. Also, they smell.)
Of course, I'm kidding. I don't enjoy criticism, but I understand it, particularly because the book I've written is a memoir.
Think about what that means.
It means I, like all memoirists, am asking total strangers to get to know me on an intimate level, in a condensed, five-by-seven-inch space. And I'm asking them to pay for that opportunity.
Now I know how all my poor, poor male friends over the years must have felt when I bombarded them with unsolicited blind dates with my female friends. (Ain't karma a peach?)
The result of such forced romance is inevitable — for many readers, Trespassers will be a soulmate of a book. For others…well…I hope they'll still be friends, even with no Love Connection. Maybe they'll pass it along to a buddy who might be a better match.
Today, while I was doing a signing at a local Barnes & Noble, I had a thought — wouldn't it be fabulous if a true matchmaker service for books and readers existed? Reviews are supposed to facilitate that process, but c'mon. What are the odds that a major publication can pick out the book that is the ideal fit for you? Probably about that same as those of a major television network selecting the ideal Bachelor for…well, for anyone.
I shared this thought with the B&N Community Relations Manager, the fabulous Rebecca Schinsky. (She blogs as The Book Lady, over here.) Rebecca already had a good sense for me as a writer and reader. She's read Trespassers, she's visited this blog, and, having met me in person, she's performed that pre-blind-date crazy assessment every girl has to do before she hooks a friend up with someone (or some book) she holds dear. ("Is she worthy?" "Is she stable" "Can she be trusted — in this world where lazy readers, lied-about-finishing-it readers, and plain old didn't-really-even-try-to-give-it-a-shot readers, are free to dole out one-stars on Amazon like careless literary litter — with this character that I really love?")
I asked Rebecca, point blank, to set me up with something new. And she was off.
Literally, with a nod of the head that said "Of course I know the perfect thing out there for you," (with, might I add, a confidence that the eHarmony actors couldn't muster if they tried), Rebecca returned with not one, not two, but roughly TEN possibilities in hand. Each had a connection to me, but the right amount of variety was supplied. One was good for a short, light fling; another for a long, post-depression month.
Like a breathless Ingrid Bergman with worn-out Mommy eyes, I could only mutter "How…?"
And the answer was obvious. She has a degree in clinical psychology, and training in sex therapy to boot! Seriously! And she ended up working in a bookstore because, well, as a writer who believes in faith and fate, I can confirm that the store needed her. The readers of America need her. Not a book saleslady. Not a book critic. I have hereby re-christened Mrs. Rebecca Schinsky "The Book Therapist."
Those of you in the Richmond area who haven't met her, I demand you make an appointment (or a walk-in) NOW. (9850 Brook Rd., Glen Allen.) I'm sure she'd be willing to do some electronic book therapy via her blog, as well, if you ask nicely.
She can also help you resolve any issues you may be having with your mother. In that case, I hear a phone call, some flowers, and a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society works wonders.
Elizabeth Hancock is the author of Trespassers Will Be Baptized: The Unordained Memoir of a Preacher's Daughter (by the way, I'm a preacher's daughter..did you know that?)
About the Book: Growing up Southern and Baptist in Eastern Kentucky, Elizabeth Hancock's world revolved around Sunday School, foreign missions projects, revival meetings and of course, the Kentucky Wildcats, who "glorified God through their goal-shattering, soul-shattering play." Hancock chronicles her childhood misadventures with sardonic wit, detailing her and her sister Meg's mischievous - if harmless - abuses of power (stealing Guess jeans from the Africa donation box, or hawking backyard swimming pool baptisms during her neighborhood's annual yard sale) and lovingly recalling the wisdom imparted by her long-suffering parents as they ministered to their unruly flock. TRESPASSERS WILL BE BAPTIZED marks the arrival of a talented new voice in a coming of age story that is by turns comical and affecting.
Hachette is giving away five copies of this book. This is open to those with a United States or Canadian mailing address. Just leave me a comment and tell me about a time someone made the perfect book recommendation for you! Open until Friday.