Writer Wednesday—Dear Mr. Patterson:


Dear Mr. Patterson:

I’ve had about enough of you. I used to be a fan. I suppose someday I’ll re-read many of your books, but right now I’m just a little pissy.

First, I found out that you don’t actually WRITE most of “your” books, yet you rake in millions of dollars a year. That’s kind of a slap in the face to almost every other author, isn’t it?

Is that why you feel the need to comment on the book industry and stick your face into every book or publishing controversy? Do you think anyone cares what you think? What makes you qualified—reminds me of celebrities running off at the mouth about politics; they believe everyone should listen to them for some obscure reason.

Second, last year when all the hoopla was about you personally donating to struggling bookstores, I signed up for “updates” and even threw our bookstore into the ring.

Crickets.

Yep, that’s what I got. No updates, no responses—not even to a message I sent you, essentially agreeing with your full-page ad. Oh, and no grant. Had to close OUR bookstore, one of the ones you’re so concerned about.

And now this. Your publisher is having a slap-fight with Amazon and so you speak up yet again.

According to the USA Today article that I just read, you said “the future of our literature is in danger.” Then you added that “Amazon wants to control book buying, book selling and even book publishing,” and you mentioned a monopoly.

Well, bless your heart—where have you been? Of course Amazon wants a monopoly! That’s old news, just ask a bookseller. I just can’t help thinking you might have stayed quiet on the publishing part, except it involves Hachette.

But guess what? Amazon does stuff like this to a lot of publishers—particularly small press. Heck, just last week they listed one of RHP’s books as “children, ages 0-17.” It was a murder mystery. With sex and violence. Ha.

Sometimes it takes a week or more to have our books listed on Amazon. Often the cover pics are missing for days. We don’t usually get to put our books up there for pre-orders, and even when our books ARE available, Amazon adds things like “only one copy remaining” and “will take two weeks to ship.”

Sound familiar?

Now, let’s talk about your comment about “the future of our literature.” My, doesn’t that sound elitist? Do you write “literature?” I must have missed that one. I guess you meant reading material, specifically books, right? I mean, well . . . never mind. That’s not my point.

What I THINK you meant is that big authors and publishers are in danger from the [gasp] Amazon monopoly, and that their sales will suffer. Of course, you may also have meant that there will be a dearth of quality reading material for consumers, if Amazon is allowed to continue on its merry way.

Let me tell you something, Mr. Patterson: NOT ALL GOOD BOOKS COME FROM NEW YORK. There are a lot of small press, and yes, indie and self-published authors who can tell a good story. Their books might be the high-gloss, widely marketing, absolutely perfect copy that you and your minions churn out, but readers can forgive some of that if the story is good.

Not everyone gets lucky, like you did—there, I said it. Luck. Like getting a job without experience, authors can’t often get a top-notch agent without having a considerable track record. I have no doubt, in the beginning, you worked your tail off—but I know a hundred authors who work just as hard as you did and probably write just as well, if not better.

Maybe you should mingle with the common folk for a bit. In fact, come on out to St. Louis and I’ll introduce you around to all the talented folks here that yes, DEPEND on Amazon to get their work in front of an audience.

But fair warning, I’m still ticked off about the bookstore grants . . .

 

Bookstore Wednesday—The End


Yes, I know it’s Thursday. All these snow days make for a confusing week. Or weeks.

Anyway, this will be last bookstore post—All on the Same Page Bookstore will be closing for good on Friday, February 14. Seemed appropriate. Somehow.

In late July 2011, we decided to open a bookstore. Insanity? Who knows? On October 1, we had our grand opening. Things went well until late last fall, especially the holiday season.

Again, who knows why?

Some people said it was the location—others thought we had a great spot. Some blamed Amazon—as do I, to a certain extent. Especially when people RECOMMEND going online to get books. So much for that “local” thing. We had a beautiful store, a relaxing atmosphere, coffee—everything you’d want.

Since we opened, FOUR bookstores in the area closed; one recently opened.

I feel bad that we failed, because we had a good thing going, especially for local authors who found it difficult, or impossible, to get their books on actual shelves. I feel bad for our regular customers, those who came in every week or month and for whom we frequently ordered hard-to-find titles.

And yes, I’m angry and hurt. Angry at all those clueless people who have come in the door over the last few weeks to express their regrets that we’re closing—and mention that they’ve been MEANING to come in, but never have before. Angry at the truly unobservant folks who say in surprise, “WHEN did you open??”

If each household in our little ‘burb had purchased just ONE used book each month, there would be no question of our having to close the store. ONE BOOK. Possibly, Creve Coeur should get the “most illiterate city” designation . . . Of course, we advertised: coupons, apps, online, direct mail. And we didn’t have any employees. Or salary.

The hurt part? Yeah, that too. All the “save” this or that bookstore over the last year . . . four authors whose books we carried either entered our “not a raffle” or purchased a membership. Four. Three others in the STL area did the either/or. Three.

Not feelin’ the love, here.

Oh, and that big ad that James Patterson took out last year, about helping bookstores? No updates, and I signed up twice and messaged him twice. Thanks, Mr. Patterson. Guess I don’t have to worry about recognizing you if you ever show up at the bookstore—we won’t be there. Nice publicity stunt, though.

So, to everyone reading this who might be a little ticked off—sorry, and you’re welcome. We really did enjoy carrying your books and recommending them to customers, and having you come in to do signings and events. Truly. It was fun while it lasted, but it’s over now.