Tuesday

Author Alicia Bessette on Human Connections


I read Alicia Bessette’s novel and liked it immediately. It's the sort of book that People Magazine calls "tasty!" And Library Journal raves about its "truly lovable heroine." The themes of the book are human connection, loss, dogs and baked goods. So it does not surprise me at all to find that Alicia’s essay for Blurb is a Verb is also about human connections. 

Debut novelists do not find hoards of cheering fans at bookstores events. But they do find plenty to cheer about.  —Sarah P.

By Alicia Bessette

When A Pinch Of Love first came out in hardback (it was called Simply From Scratch then), my publicist emailed with the news that an independent bookseller had read it and loved it and requested me for an in-store promotional event.

I was thrilled and got in touch with the bookseller. We made plans. She sent out a special invitation to all her e-newsletter subscribers (around 1,000, if I remember correctly). I emailed everyone I knew who lived within thirty minutes of the bookstore.

On the designated Saturday in early September, I wore brand new boots purchased just for the occasion, and my favorite dress. It was a good hair day (an unpredictable rarity). The hour drive was smooth and a splash of autumn color tinged the leaves. On the way, I rehearsed my short talk about how I came to write A Pinch Of Love.

I arrived early. The bookstore was all things A Pinch Of Love: copies filled the front window and inside, a table was decorated beautifully. The bookseller made delicious brownies without even having realized I am a brownie enthusiast. She and I had a lovely and eye-opening (for me) conversation about independent bookstores. Before I even sold one book, she asked me to sign stock.

My first customer was a sweet nine-year-old girl who, after much prodding from her father, approached the table and asked if she could please have one of my bookmarks. I said, “Of course. Take as many as you want.”

Her eyes downcast, she asked, “Will you sign it?”

I signed the bookmark as her father told me she wanted to become a writer someday. I wrote, I know I will see your book on the shelves someday, Abigail!

More customers dribbled in. Some bought books. I didn’t sell a thousand copies that day. I did make connections with people, and those connections are important and so easy for authors to lose sight of in the face of pressure to boast high sales figures.

Ultimately, I write to reach others.

Those people who didn’t buy books but instead shook my hand and asked me a few questions might well become future fans, future readers, future supporters. Plus, bookstore appearances give authors the opportunity to make a different kind of human connection than their writing does.

Thank you, Sarah, for allowing this appreciative author to publicly acknowledge the hard and helpful work that booksellers and publicists do in support of authors!

~Alicia Bessette

Alicia was born and raised in central Massachusetts. A pianist and freelance writer, she and her husband, novelist Matthew Quick, live in New England. For more information visit http://www.aliciabessette.com

6 comments:

  1. This book sounds lovely! As does your description of that first signing. :) Best of luck with the paperback edition!

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  2. This gracious writer has convinced me to buy the book! Can't wait.

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  3. The cover looks absolutely edible. I'll bet you were thrilled when you saw it.

    Thank you for the lovely post.

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  4. Petrea: I so love the cover! It makes me want to eat cookies. (Actually, I pretty much always want to eat cookies ....)

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