I’ve been circulating advance copies of my novel for close to two months now. They’ve reached hands from Maine to Florida to Seattle, and we’ve gotten some pretty nice early reviews — each one’s gotten a mention before, so I won’t re-list them. The books have gone out through my home city of Pittsburgh, some as direct handouts, some as raffle prizes, and some even left behind in conspicuous spots with a note instructing to “take-me-and-pass-it-on.”
I’ve taken to writing a small inscription in the books that I hand out directly. It goes something like this: “If you like this book, keep it. If you love this book, share it with a friend. Books don’t live on a shelf; they live in readers’ hands.” That’s not just a slogan to me. (For one, it’s far too wordy.) But really, I love the idea of the book being passed on, the corners slightly nicked, the spine showing wear. The signs that a book has been well-loved — that it’s lived a life.
Anyhow, the reason I write all this is because recently, I got to learn a bit about one of my books’ travels. I had handed a book out a while ago, which was read and passed on to a young girl. The young girl wrote a thank-you note to the lady who shared, which made its way back to my hands. Here is the envelope:
Inside this colorful casing was an equally thoughtful note, addressed to the woman who gave the girl my book (names redacted):
I’ll be keeping this note by my desk as I work on my next project, most definitely. Any good reviews bring cheer, no doubt, but these are the sort that matter most. Happy Friday to all! “Mr. Michael” is certainly having one.