I was looking at my roses today, the ones I brought into the house. Looking at how beautiful they are, how their petals are so soft and the colours so vibrant, not to mention the scent of a rose.
It got me to wondering about why I chose those few to bring inside and enjoy, while the others remained on the bush. One cannot bring in all their roses, nor do we want to. Some are past their prime, others are just not hanging right or the stems are not long enough for the vase or whatever you wish to put them in.
It made me think of books. Of course, why wouldn’t it. I am always thinking of books. But I had to ponder why some books get chosen and others do not. Sometimes there seems to be no rhyme or rhythm to the selection.
What one considers a bad book, another might love. Even authors cannot figure out sometimes why a certain book took off and why another just sits there. They might both have pretty covers, interesting stories inside, but one becomes a favourite, just like a favourite rose.
The only answer I can come up with is that the particular book or rose is what the person needs at the time. When I chose the roses to bring inside, I looked for the most desirable, the ones with the longest stems. The ones that were the freshest looking and pleasant to my senses. There were probably many others on the bush that would have served as well, but I had red roses and pink roses and I wanted to take some of each.
That is probably the same when a reader is choosing a book or two. It’s what the reader needs at the time, it is what is pleasant to their mind when they are reading the blurb, looking at the cover. There are probably many other books that would be just as interesting, maybe even end up being a better choice. But the reader has to make a choice so the others are left behind, on the bush so to speak.
What makes a book popular or not is a complete mystery sometimes. It just takes off. Now if I were to enter my roses in a rose contest and they were chosen, among so many others, people would probably be flocking to my yard to buy my roses. All because someone noticed them in a big way.
This is what happens to a book. Someone notices it, someone likes it and tells someone else who tells someone else. The lucky author receives many highly acclaimed reviews, and other readers see this, they respond by deciding to try the chosen one. They might like it, they might not, but if more like it than don’t, then the book is on its way to great things.
It’s all about choice, presentability, people taking the advice of others and sometimes acting like lemmings. It’s a rush, everyone has to have that book of the moment. It’s the same for roses or any other thing. If it’s desirable to a few it will soon become desirable to many, if those few tell another few. That doesn’t necessarily make that one book better than all the rest, it might be, but it might not be either. It just makes that book look like the special one because it has all the qualities that a reader desires. My chosen roses had all the qualities that I desired when I cut them and brought them inside to enjoy.
A bit of luck and a lot of friends help the chosen book along. I will always believe that. Also if you have the means to promote and market that book, it helps it become the chosen one. I am sure that out there somewhere are jewels of books that are not being read, not being chosen, only because they have not been found, they have not been promoted, the author does not have a lot of friends to talk and spread the word, the author does not have the means to promote and market in a way that some do.
Next time you're thinking of choosing a book, think about the circumstances that book might have around it. If you are interested in the story, drawn in by the cover, give it a chance. Most of all, if you read a book that you enjoy very much, tell someone, tell more than someone, even if you do not know the author. Spread the news, and please give the book a review. If you loved the book, give it a glowing review, don’t just say how much you loved it, tell the readers why. Tell how it made you feel, tell if you thought about it when you were not reading and couldn’t wait to get back to read more. If you didn’t love it as much as you thought you would and by all good conscience can’t give it a glowing review, give it what you can. If it’s less than a three star, better to not write a review.
A bad review can ruin a book, and it might be that it just wasn’t for you. If it was bad because it was really bad, then you probably wouldn’t have chosen it anyway. However, it happens at times, first part looks good, blurb is interesting, cover is great, but inside it’s spoiled. Leave it alone and call it an experience. We’ve all bought books that cost a pretty penny and were disappointed. But to give a scathing review and put the author down, tear the book apart is just not nice. It can ruin a career. You can give it a three and say the book was just not for you, or you can not write a review. Your choice.
As my mother used to say, “If you can’t say something good about someone, don’t say anything at all.”