(from Sept 4, 2005 but even more pertinent today)
It’s been another good week at the Bastion Square Market in Downtown Victoria, BC Canada where my husband, J. Robert Whittle, sells his historical novels – 3 of them now bestsellers. Amazing because many of the American tourists have gone home and I can’t blame them one little bit, with all the heartbreaking news of Hurricane Katrina filling the airwaves. This has made business substantially slower but then that does happen this time of year with kids going back to school.
It gives Robert more time to talk to his adoring fans and today was no exception. A lady and her friend came along this morning. The lady raved about his (Victoria Srs.) books saying she had loaned them all over her block and town!! … and everyone loved them (thank goodness for that!). They were now all waiting for the next book in the series to come out. It seems her friend didn’t realize she had been doing this and now decided she wanted to read them, so right in front of the author, she asked if she could borrow them! Some people have no conscience. Happily, the owner of the books told her friend she wasn’t going to loan them out anymore and she was going to re-read them anyway. Then she purchased another set of the books for a gift. This forced the other woman to purchase her own copies!!! Our fans are truly amazing 🙂
Now you might think this is very flattering and think that we are ungracious or worse. Yes, it is VERY flattering but although Robert would never complain about his fans, I am the pessimist of our family and I feel I must make a comment. I need to explain that these same people who loan books are always very vocal about asking us to publish books faster. With what I ask? If you don’t buy the books from the author or a bookstore, these used books just keep going around and around and we’ll need many lifetimes to become millionaires (which is what people say we must be by now)!!!
On the other hand, I’m also sure there are some authors reading this that are nodding their heads vigorously in agreement – please comment if you are. There are so many of us authors out there these days (but big publishers only want a sure thing you know, so they choose the Ludlums, Clancys, Clintons et al) and just keep making them richer. We have never taken the time to even write a submission to a publisher — we’re far too busy producing and selling our popular books and trying to keep our readers happy – a joyous problem I admit but sometimes I yearn for a regularly paying job … and a holiday would be nice (we took a cruise in 2009). (2011 note: we did seek a publisher, an agent and talked to several movie producers in following years but no luck for various reasons. So we continue as we have done in the past.)
Happy reading whether it be a used book or not (and yes, even I have been known to buy a used book, or read a loaner from time to time!) If you haven’t already, you should try one of our fabulous and very popular books. Come on, be brave, countless thousands of readers can’t be wrong. Sure, these books might have no sex or graphic violence but they are real page-turners nonetheless … and another 2011 update … now they’re all on ebooks (see the tab above). Check out: our webpage