I recently received this email from a reader who told me about her recent visit to a bookstore.”As I was checking out, the girl asked me about the Robin Cook book I had in my hands and commented that she really liked his books as they usually dealt with medicine. I then told her about yours, at which she gave me a puzzled look and said ‘Tess Gerritsen? I’ve never heard of her.’ A couple of other people standing there said the same thing and at that I went back to the paperback table bought up your remaining paperbacks and GAVE them to everyone standing there. Geez!!!! what is it with people down here?”
I tell you this story not only because this is the sort of reader I want to absolutely hug and kiss, but also to illustrate just how hard it is for an author to become known. Just a few days ago, I was signing books at a Kroger’s store in Cincinnati, and quite a few customers frowned at my books, confessed that they’d never heard of me, and said they weren’t really willing to buy a book by someone they didn’t know.
I don’t know how to get past that. No amount of advertising will change it. There’s only one thing that can change it: Word of Mouth. It’s the most powerful force on the planet. It takes time to generate it, and in the meantime, many an author’s career has crashed and burned, many an author has found himself abandoned by his publisher. We can’t force word of mouth. We can’t even beg for it. We can only hope it happens, that our readers like our books enough to tell their friends, their colleagues, their room-mates.
Or, as my reader did, to tell even strangers in line at a bookstore!
And so I want to thank every single reader who’s ever passed my name along. If you’ve convinced someone else to read one of my books, someone who’s never heard of me before, email me and let me know the details! Let me know your address, too, and I’ll send you an autographed bookplate in appreciation.
Now, for some other not-so-pleasant news. I may be out of commission for a few weeks — it looks like I’m headed for the surgeon’s knife in a few days. That shoulder pain I mentioned earlier now looks like a slipped disk in the neck. Am I scared of surgery? You betcha. I know all too well what can go wrong in the O.R. But I also want to get back to my usual tip-top condition, so I’m anxious to get this over with.
I won’t be answering my emails for awhile — my web-meister Marshall may be taking over those duties while I recuperate. He’ll also be launching a fun new cover art contest and will let you know about a special offer for book groups who’ve chosen to read VANISH as their selection
My biggest regret is that I’m going to have to cancel my scheduled book signings for the next 3 weeks. Never, in my nine years of book touring, have I ever before had to cancel a signing, so this is really hard for me. But I’ll be back soon enough, and better than ever!