Friday, June 29, 2012


Post by Marja McGraw (with a bit of Sunny's help)This economy is getting to many of us. A lot of people are foregoing vacations, not to mention something as simple as going on a weekly outing to the movies. The new couch you wanted? That’s a purchase you might have to put off. Plenty of people are out of work, and many can’t seem to find a job. Wow! Am I ever the Voice of Doom today!Can’t take that vacation? Buy a good book.

Stories can take us away for a while. Fiction can be a great escape from everyday drama. Travel books might give you a look at the place you would have gone if things had turned out differently. Do you have a subject you’ve always been interested in but never studied? Now’s the time. Try a non-fiction book. If my life had turned out differently I think I would have studied archaeology. At the very least I can read some books about the subject.

Okay, let’s get real. For some of us, even buying a book can be more than our current budget can withstand. Of course, there are free ebooks, and very low-priced ebooks. That’s one option, but there are others. While I enjoy ebooks, I also still appreciate holding a paper book in my hands. I have favorite authors whose books I’d like to display in my bookcase. So here are a few ideas. You can save up and buy that much-anticipated book when you’ve got enough quarters in the piggy bank. Or, and this is interesting, you can sometimes buy a book for less money if you go directly to the publisher. There was a time when I never would have thought of visiting the publisher’s website and buying a book there. This is particularly true of smaller publishers like Oak Tree Press.

I’m an avid reader when I have the time. I love a good book, especially those that make me forget I have chores and things waiting for me. I might be able to see the dusty furniture or impatient family member in my peripheral vision, but they’ll just have to wait. How rude of me, right? Every so often I read a real page-turner, and I’ll read until my eyes cross or someone throws themselves at my feet begging for attention. There are discount bookstores, used bookstores, and yard sales if that’s what it takes. You might think, “But if my book sells at a used book store, I won’t see any royalties for it.” True, but if someone buys your used book and enjoys it, chances are they’ll look for more by you at a new bookstore or through the publisher – or maybe Amazon or Barnes and Noble.

Here’s another tip. If you read a book that really grabs you, talk about it. Tell your friends and family. For a writer, there’s no better publicity than word-of-mouth. Blab. Yak. Tell everyone about the latest great book you read. Review it anywhere that reviews can be left by individuals. Talk it up.I’ve seen commercials about getting away from it all by purchasing products like coffee or bath oil, or something like that. For me? All it takes is a good book. Is it worth cutting corners or taking the extra step of going to a publisher’s website to find the books we enjoy? It is to me.

What’s your thought, or do you have suggestions of your own?Find a good book and get away for a while. Just for a little bit, forget that unpaid bill lying on the kitchen counter. Remember what Scarlett said in Gone with the Wind about tomorrow being another day. Just give yourself a short break and enjoy the day.Marja McGrawBogey NightsBogey’s Ace in the Hole


C.K.Crigger said...

Many libraries will add a book to their collection if a patron requests a title. If OTP writers would do this now and again, soon we'd have books in libraries all across the country. Might not add up to tons, but one is better than none, right?
Hint,hint. Three Seconds to Thunder is just out.

Billie Johnson said...

Great post, Marja, and you are right. Books are a great value always, but especially when the budget is strained.

Might I also point out that we are showing a featured book, on sale for even less that our very enticing prices on the web site? This is week, it has been WAIFS OF THE week....who might it be?

And another comment I have is this: if a book inspires, thrills, informs or just entertains you, go on Amazon and leave a peer review. It is a nice validation for that title, author and publisher, and you have the opportunity to slide your sig in there too, and won't it link back to your Amazon Central page?

And regarding libraries, I believe if you ask your local library to get a book, they are obligated to do so, since they are publicly funded.

Lots of possibilities...!!

Billie Johnson, Publisher
Oak Tree Press

Shalanna said...

Library sales are absolutely a venue to exploit. I have contacted not only the Richardson library (where I live), but also various branches of the Dallas library and the Sherman and Denison (TX) library systems because I have library cards there and family in the cities. They've been only too happy to say they'll order my book.

My argument has always been that a book, unlike other entertainment items, can go so much further. It's a better value than a movie night out or restaurant meal, and it goes on your shelf where you can lend it out or re-read it. Which is longer lasting, a salad at Chili's with drink and appetizer (which adds up to $24) or a book? And books have no calories!!

John said...

Another benefit that books have for me is that as we get older we enjoy the same book but for different reasons. They're great investments because you can read them in so many different ways as you gain wisdom.
--John Brantingham

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Good post, Marja.

marja said...

Thank you all for your comments. Books are such great entertainment and definitely cost less than most events.

As a matter of fact, I just received a few of Oak Tree's book catalogs and I have some select places I'll be taking them,including a couple of libraries. When I deliver the catalog, I'll also be giving them the names and titles of a few authors. They've already said they'll order anything I request.

James Callan said...

Good advice, Marja. And as e-books are very cheap, buy a few. Also, if you know a publisher puts out books you can trust to be good, visit that publisher. And for us authors - word of mouth is by far the best publicity.
Thanks for a good read.

William Doonan said...

Completely agree! For $6 you can get any of thousands of great e-books! And like Billie said, be sure to leave a review. If you took a chance on a book, make it easier for someone else to take that chance.

marja said...

James and William, You're so right. Word-of-mouth is the best advertising, and isn't a book review a type of word-of-mouth? Sure it is.

Dorothy Bodoin said...

I enjoyed your post, Marja, and couldn't agree more. I can even forget the 90 degrees weather (to a point) when I'm engrossed in a good book. I'd spend money on a book before I bought a movie ticket, and on Amazon you can check out those older books selling for incredibly low prices. A book set in an enticing location--think Elizabeth Peters Amelia books--can be a great substitue for a vacation!

Patricia Gligor said...

Great post, Marja!
I have a tip on the subject of getting our books into libraries. Of course, I immediately donated two copies of "Mixed Messages" to my local library - one for the main branch and one for my neighborhood branch.
I learned something interesting in the process. If at least three people immediately request your book, the library will order more right away.
I asked several of my friends to put "holds" on my mystery novel and the library has already ordered ten additional copies. I check the site periodically and I'm thrilled with the results. I wouldn't be surprised to see the library place another order soon.

Earl Staggs said...

You make a lot of sense, Marja. Even in the worst economy, we need to do something for ourselves. . .and our sanity. A nice meal out is great, but by the time you get home, it's history. A book will always be there.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Great blog, Marja, as always.

I must admit I get free books for my Kindle and buy used paper books, often when my library has a sale. I also get many ARCs.

You're right about writing a review about books you feel passionate about. I do that on Good Reads and Amazon.

Sunny Frazier said...

I'm doing it a bit differently here.

When I go to Sisters in Crime or another organization, I will single out people who I know and ask what kind of books they're reading these days. Then I will suggest a title from OTP--not my book, mind you, but one of yours. Yes, I'm promoting you because your book might be more to that person's taste. And, it's good for everyone, right?

Also, you might not be aware that we had a friend who admires OTP represent us at the American Library conference in Anaheim last week. I'd sent her a box of books that Billie gave me from Left Coast Crime so she wouldn't have to fly them home. You were all WELL represented.

What I'm trying to say here is think beyond yourselves and get on board with cross-promoting each other.

Radine Trees Nehring said...

Marja, you hit the ball out of the park, the nail on the head, or whatever else indicates good ideas spoken well. Especially so for me, the wanna-be archeologist who researched and wrote a book about the looting of archeological treasures (in A RIVER TO DIE FOR). And! Who fell in love with Arkansas in 1978 and ended up wanting to share some of its tourist destination treasures with people far and near. (True of all my books.) Who wanted to be a skilled crafter and wrote a book about crimes at a (real Arkansas) craft fair. (A FAIR TO DIE FOR.)

I frequently speak of my books as the cheapest vacation you can enjoy. The Arkansas Dept. of Parks and Tourism might not like that except for one thing . . . my destinations know, and hence, P&T knows, that my books bring tourists to Arkansas to follow their plots, often with book in hand, at the real places. Isn't that fun!

Sunny, thanks for taking us to ALA.

Billie Johnson said...

On a long-ago panel about publishing titled something like 'why people buy the books they buy', one comment was that people often buy books set in the very spot where they plan to vacation. For example, a person going to the Bahamas will look for a steamy romance or tense, convoluted mystery set in the Bahamas to pack along with his/her SP32 and a swimming suit.

I always thought this was a totally zany idea, and certainly not one I would do...I'd be about finding a real-life romance or mystery to while away those Bahamian hours. The book would be just as good from my comfy chair long after the trip was just a faint memory.

However, as the years have rolled by and I have racked up many chats on the topic, that old citation holds up...people are inclined to buy a book set, or about, where they are going, and take the book with.

Maybe they watched too many Gilligan's Island episodes, and the fear of not reaching their destinations became ingrained...?


marja said...

Thank you all so much for commenting. And, Sunny, thank you for letting us know we were represented. Sorry to take so long to respond, but I had to take a break and go to work. Just got home.

When the economy first started taking a downturn, I made up a poster for my book events. It says, "No vacation this year? A stack of books can take you anywhere you want to go -- and they make great gifts." The sign also sold a few books.

Jake said...

All sources mentioned are used by this reader. Have found a new source at Goodreads where I enter to win & review books which sound interesting. After reading I donate to local library for others to enjoy. Many of your authors have graciously supplied me with books for our library. Marja is my all time favorite author however think this posting correctly zeroed in on what will help promote purchases.

Lesley Diehl said...

People of my parents' ages who went through the depression would say that liquor stores never went out of business during those terrible years. In this economy, my way of getting through is to write and read. I'm a yard sale fanatic (my other way of cutting down on spending), so I do buy used books of unknown authors. I figure they can use a little help.

Holli said...

I get cheap or free books on Kindle when my budget is tight. There are also contests sponsored all of the time by writers on some blogs- DorothyL is a good one to register with for this because people will posts their contests. Often you just have to comment on a blog to be entered in a drawing. DorothyL has a huge following, yet I've won free books 3 times doing this.

I have also seen writers looking for promotion offering their book for free in exchange for a review. While I would personally rather trade reviews with someone than get a free book, it is a way to help out a new writer and get a book for free.

Holli Castillo
Gumbo Justice, Jambalaya Justice

Holli said...

That should have been "post" not "posts."

I have donated my titles to the N.O. libraries, but the Jefferson Parish library, which already carried my books without me having to donate them, has added additional copies recently as well.

Holli Castillo (again)

marja said...

Jake, You always manage to make my day. Thank you! I've donated to many libraries, but I haven't followed up to see if they've ordered more.

Holli and Lesley, Love those contests and yard sales. Like I said, if someone once reads one of our books, and if they like it, they may go out and buy from a store or on the Internet.

marta chausée said...

Nice post, Marja. I like the idea of cross-promoting each other that Sunny suggests. Manus manum lavat and it's a win-win for all of us.

I also like what John said-- we enjoy the same books for different reasons over time.

marja said...

Thank you for your comments, Marta. One of the things I'm doing is asking my local librarian to order books. All she needs is a name and title. Like Jake, I also contribute books for the library's collection from time to time.

Sally Carpenter said...

A trade paperback costs the same or less than a night at the movies plus you can re-read it again for free. E-books are even cheaper and libraries are free. Books are one of the less expensive forms of entertainment and don't require a big-screen TV, blu-ray player or a bunch of electronic gadgets to use (unless you have an e-reader). Sometimes the simple things in life are still satisfying.