Since trying to get published, going to the bookstore is a very different experience for me. It’s no longer a place for wandering around in ignorant bliss, breathing in the smell of books, stumbling upon a diamond in the rough. I have no time for this. The book store is research. The book store is serious frickin’ business.
Do not get in my way. Do not pass GO. Do not collect $200. I am off to the new fiction table and you will not stop me.
Here’s how it goes down. I begin by touching every single book on the table. I try to determine what genre the book is just by looking at the cover. I laugh haughtily because I’m right about 95% of the time. My research so far has shown that women’s fiction titles depict a woman on the cover in 1 of 3 positions:
1. facing forward, her face like a blurry Monet.
2. in shadowy profile
3. with her back to you and one loose strand of hair caressing her bare neck
There is often a bird somewhere on the cover, pecking at something. I urge you to try this. Once you start analyzing, you will very quickly see what’s what. You will be able to walk into any bookstore and find the exact genre you want after only a 1 second scan. Unless, ya know, you’re sane and you want to actually enjoy yourself in the bookstore, then I don’t encourage you to do this.
Then, I read the back cover. At this point, 1 of 2 things happen. I begin to sulk as I determine that the book is absolute crap and that the future of publishing is going down the toilet and I’ll never get published if this is the rubbish the book world wants. Or, more often, I begin to sulk that there are so many wonderful writers with unique and brilliant ideas and I’ll never get published if this is the quality of fiction that is out there.
If I’m intrigued by the back cover, I read the first paragraph. At this point, I begin to sulk that are so many wonderful writers with brilliant prose and I’ll never get published if this is the quality of prose that is out there.
If the book is similar in any possible way to the genre, topic, or writing style of my own projects, I quickly skip to the acknowledgements section of the book. I pull the Android out of the messenger bag and begin to type their agent’s name in the notes app on my phone. Random/Useful fact: A lot of times, that agent is already in the notes for a previous entry. It’s nice to make that connection.
Once I’ve successfully done this to every book, I stand at the table, stare off into space, and make a serious mental list of all of the reasons those books have been published and mine have not (it’s a sick, sick game, I tell you). Usually, I’ll set aside about 4 books I want to buy and then purchase 3 of them. (Because 4 is just too many. I mean, seriously.) Without fail, I will refuse the Barnes & Noble members card, because it’s just not worth it. There is no chance, absolutely none, zilch, zero, that I’ll ever buy a book again. Right? 😉