Christmas is almost here and we’re spending the last few days before Santa arrives working hard to get out our fifteenth book this year. It is work and sometimes it really feels like it. However, most of the time, it’s simply a case of doing something we love to do.
We have a great group of authors with whom we enjoy working. While there is money made in the process, our joy is in opening a door for writers to get into print. Our goal is to provide authors an opportunity to get their books to readers. That’s what publishing is all about.
As a writer, my chief joy is to see or hear that someone has read what I wrote. Sales are important only because they allow me to keep writing and making my books available to readers. Like government, they are a necessary evil. Free books for everybody to own would be the best of all worlds. Maybe that’s what heaven is like.
The greatest gifts we have received this year come from our readers. It’s a wonderful thing to see the excitement in people’s eyes when they buy a book at one of our events. They start by our table, take a look, and pick up the cover or title that has called to them. I still find it hard to believe that people react to my work that way and the best part of writing.
Back in the dark ages there was an ad campaign that told people “Reading is Fundamental”. The campaign has gone the way of the dinosaurs, but the truth of those words lives on. Read, and untold worlds open up to you. The coming AI wonders have figured out how to put words together to tell a story. They may even do it quite well. The one thing they will never do is feel the story. They will never read a page and cry over a betrayal, or rage at an injustice—or turn the last page and say, “Wow”.
Readers and writers will do those things. Though time and space may separate us, when we read the same words, we do it together, linked by the magical fellowship of humanity and the words we share. As Scrooge would tell you, Christmas is more a spirit than a date or a celebration. We know it’s true because a little book haunts us.