I love the public library, and I proudly carry my Lexington County Library card in my wallet. The main thing I love is the ‘free’ part. Perhaps, it’s technically not free since I pay county property taxes. However, when I can check out six books and only read two of them and still return them all, that seems free to me. My wife doesn’t like my library patronage. When I borrow six books, she only sees six potential overdue fines. Hey, even if I pay a buck a piece in fines, that is still practically free for six books!
I also love is Little Free Libraries. Perhaps you’ve seen these in or around your neighborhood. People create small decorative storage boxes and fill them with books. You are free to borrow and read these. No card or taxes required. Totally free. Just please return the book. The idea is kind of like a boomerang. A book heads off and it comes back.
Often, when I pass a Little Free Library, I say to myself ‘Self, you should put a copy of Negative Split in there.’ Alas, I haven’t, but that’s about to change. Tomorrow, I am going to place a copy of Negative Split in the library at Wingard’s Market. My wife came home from there last week, said she was going back this week for another vegetable box, and she’d take a book. Turns out, I have perfect copy.
Reviews are a very important part of today’s online marketplace. Once upon a time, I would occasionally check the Amazon sales page for my book Negative Split to see if I had any additional reviews. Unfortunately, 18 seems to be the wall for reviews for Negative Split. That has been the number for years now.
On one of my Amazon review visits, I noticed there was a used copy for sale. I clicked on the link and saw that Goodwill in Greenville, SC was selling a copy. I thought, how could that be? Somone in my own hometown bought a copy and then donated it to Goodwill? I know it wasn’t a literary masterpiece, but at least keep it on the shelf or give it as a white elephant gift.
Since the Goodwill price was cheaper than ordering a single wholesale copy from Amazon, I bought it. I had the perfect spot for it – the loaner bookshelf at my local Starbucks – their version of the Little Free Library concept.
When I received the book, I was happy to see it wasn’t an autographed copy. Before I left the book at Starbucks, I taped a business card with my author’s website and email address to the inside of the front cover. I hoped that a new reader would at least check out the site and join my mailing list.
Then I waited and watched. I’d go into Starbucks too often, usually to write and kill time during my daughter’s soccer practices, and I’d check to see if the book was still there. Of course, it was, until it wasn’t. Great! A new reader! Then nothing happened. No email. No return of the book to Starbucks. I resigned to the fact that the person was either a slow reader or passed it on to another little library.
Eventually, I decided to check the review counts again. Maybe this new potential fan had written a glowing review about the unexpected treat they found at Starbucks. I went to Amazon, entered “Greg Fowler Negative Split” in the search field, and survey said…18. Ugh. But hey, what was that? I noticed another used copy for sale, so, of course, I clicked. What the heck? Greenville Goodwill again? Is everyone ditching the book? Didn’t know, but I bought it, too.
This time, when the book arrived, there was good news and bad news. The good news was this was not an autographed copy, either. The bad news? It was the exact same copy I’d purchased from Goodwill before. How do I know? It is the ONLY copy to which I have ever taped my author’s business card to the inside of the cover. How did the book go from a Starbucks to a Goodwill 100+ miles away? Who borrows a book and then donates it to Goodwill? It’s a head-scratcher.
Oh, well. Now, I’ll put my own personal boomerang book into the library at Wingard’s tomorrow. So, if you want to read it, go grab it while it’s free. And if you do decide to donate it to Goodwill, at least leave a good review on Amazon.
Thanks for reading,
PS – Grumpy Greg for the week. A retraction…I finished Hamilton. Wow. Deserving of MOST of the hype. My favorite song is “You’ll Be Back.”
PPS – Current writing streak: 59 days
Fiction words this week: ~1500 net. Tough week, time-wise. I probably wrote 3000 new words and deleted 1500 old words. This editing and rewriting phase is slow going.