Posts Tagged ‘VNSA charity book sale’

Interview with a musician-reader-plumber type

You’re an author. Find a reader to interview! For Day 19 of the 5-Week Author Blog Challenge, we were invited to interview a reader. All 35 posts for this Challenge will be focused on writing, publishing, and book marketing. I hope you’ll stick around through all 35 posts. And if you want to take part, come on in – the water is great! You can register here.


Day 19 writing prompt:

Find someone you know, either online or in the real world, who is a true bibliophile and interview them about their reading habits.

I met my husband on Craigslist. Yep – the same place you go to sell your old 45s or for game-day tickets because you waited till the last minute. Many people don’t even realize Craigslist has a Personals section. What I loved about it, as opposed to targeted john waters quotedating sites a la eHarmony and Match-dot-com, was the flexibility to write my own fully developed posts. I was able to weed out most of the riff-raff simply by being clever and funny. I liken it to the difference between a multiple choice exam and an essay test. The writer in me always kicked butt on essay tests. Not so much on multiple choice, because you actually had to memorize specific facts and details.

The best dating advice I ever got (from my relationship coach, Sunil Ahuja, and Laura Doyle, author of The Surrendered Single) was to let go of the list – the checklist of attributes that all those multiple-choice dating sites require you to complete. Granted, it took about five years of on-again/off-again posting on Craigslist to meet “the one,” but he was definitely worth the wait. And in the process, I learned some stuff, collected some side-splitting fodder for a book that may one day get written, and began some friendships that still survive to this day.

So, with my husband’s permission, I share with you the paragraph that stole my heart:

I know about your book habit, as well. Do you know about that annual book sale that is at the fairgrounds? You can get hardcover editions for about a dollar. I still have a backlog from the last one, and that was a w capfew months ago. So lately for me it’s been a lot of F. Scott, Hemingway, and Steinbeck. All great books – I can’t pick a favorite. It’s kind of like comparing The Beatles and The Stones, in that both are superior in different ways. Although Steinbeck would be more like Springsteen. He takes characters that F. Scott and Hemingway wouldn’t even think about and turns them into poetry. That, at least, is my literary analysis which serves me well in my vocation as a plumber.

A reader – thank god! There was exactly ONE question about reading on the 11-page eHarmony questionnaire. And the responses I received went about like this:

“I can’t remember the last book I read.”

“I only read gaming magazines.”

“I only read graphic novels.”

“I tried to read a book once…”

I am neither lying nor exaggerating. So meeting a smart plumber who could read me under the table – how could I resist?!

UPDATE: He’s given up the plumbing to dive into his music, full-time. Woo-hoo!

CONFESSION: “Musician” was one of the items on my checklist.

It’s no surprise, then, that musician biographies and autobiographies are one of my husband’s favorite things to read. From Steven Tyler to Andy Summers to Peter Criss to Clarence Clemons to Eric Clapton – he owns most of them and borrows the rest from the library. While I think Mickey would read the back of an oatmeal box if there were nothing else around, he understandably prefers reading the biographies of musicians he admires, like Bruce Springsteen, Keith Richards, and Pete Townshend. And while I’m noticing a certain trend toward books about male musicians, I’m sure if he came across the bios of Joan Jett or Ann and Nancy Wilson, he’d read those, too.

When he’s not reading music stories, he prefers the strange and scary make-believe worlds of authors like Stephen King, Dean Koontz, and Charlaine Harris. His favorite King book is The Shining.

Prior to our recent move, we purged a couple hundred books from our combined collection, and we VNSA salesbarely made a dent. Most of the ones we brought with us are still in boxes, waiting for new bookcases on which to live. Many were acquired at the aforementioned annual VNSA book sales. It’s hard not to go crazy at an event like that. While Mickey prefers the practicality of ebooks, he still very much enjoys wandering the aisles of new and used bookshops. “I love the VNSA sale because it’s a chance to find something interesting, a treasure I might never have happened on or searched for on purpose.” I’ve seen him devour a book in a day, though he tells me his reading has recently slowed to 15 or 20 books a year.

Though he’s more fluent in classic rock and 70s/80s singer-songwriter material, he dabbles at writing his own songs. His personal writing goal is to develop a blog with tips for aspiring guitarists.

His next reading goal is to try out the new (to him) genre of science fiction, which he’s never read much in the past.

Our joint goal is to collaborate on a multimedia presentation that features readings from Stan Finds Himself on the Other Side of the World, coupled with songs that represent and/or evoke the ethos/pathos/logos of some of the 23 countries Stan visits. Now that’s a joint venture I cannot wait to plan! In the meantime, we’ll keep reading, writing, and dancing.

So who is your favorite reader in the whole world? Tell us in the Comments section below!

Please be sure to check in again tomorrow, when I’ll be explaining why I chose to publish in paperback and ebook formats…

And for the record, I’d love your feedback on my Author Blog Challenge posts! And, of course, would really love to have you support all of the bloggers in the Challenge. Find their links here.

Here’s to wonderful writing surprises!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.

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Finding the silver lining in used book sales

The idea of reselling used books is understandably troublesome for some authors. You work hard on your book and take it to market with the goal of getting it into as many hands as possible, but you want individuals to purchase new copies – legally. You copyright your book to protect it from theft. And then, in spite of all your best efforts, you see used copies on Amazon, in thrift shops, on the shelves at used bookstores. Even books in libraries offer multiple readings of one book, rather than each reader making a separate purchase.

One way to view these resold books is with gratitude that more people are reading your book and hearing your message. The reselling of books gives them new life. I’d sure rather my book went to a new person than languishing in the back corner of the original buyer’s bookshelf or, worse, winding up in a landfill somewhere. I always think back to Seth Godin’s admonition that an author must give away 5,000 books before their book will ever really take off.

Another way to view the sharing of books is by making a comparison to radio. Have you ever listened to a song on the radio and then gone out and bought the album, cassette, CD, or MP3? Of course you have – that’s why artists put their music on terrestrial and Internet radio. It’s not out of the generosity of their hearts – it’s for the exposure.

In my experience, buying secondhand books is not much different. For one thing, I often am introduced to books through used sources that I would never otherwise have known about or thought to buy. Secondly, with the introduction to these unfamiliar authors, on more than one occasion, I have sought out – and purchased – new copies of these authors’ other works.

Whether you view reselling as a blessing or a curse is totally up to you.

For those who appreciate a good used book sale, one of the biggest in the country is coming up this weekend in Phoenix. The VNSA Charity Book Sale will hold its 56th event at the Arizona State Fairgrounds in Phoenix. Bibliophiles from all over the country visit this sale – and it even has international patrons!

All books are donated by the public, and the sale is run entirely by an incredibly well-organized staff of volunteers. I just learned that VNSA does not carry books over from one year’s sale to the next, with the exception of specific rare books. Leftover books are sold or donated to nonprofit groups who make arrangements with VNSA months in advance of the sale.

This marks the 25th year with the Arizona Friends of Foster Children Foundation and Literacy Volunteers of Maricopa County as the sale’s beneficiaries. Since its inception in 1957, VNSA has donated more than $6 million to nonprofit human service agencies in the Phoenix area. Kudos to them!

Hours of the 2012 sale are: Saturday, Feb 11, 8 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sunday, Feb 12, 8 a.m.–4 p.m. Shipping is available both days, and admission is free, although the fairground charges a fee for parking.

Categories for this year’s sale include:

  • DVDs/Videos
  • Biography
  • Business/Career Planning
  • Children’s
  • Classics
  • Computers
  • Cookbooks
  • Dictionaries
  • Fiction
  • Fine Arts
  • Foreign Language
  • Health & Fitness
  • History/War/Politics
  • House & Garden/Crafts & Hobbies
  • Humor
  • Large Print/Books on Tape
  • Paperbacks
  • Rare and Unusual
  • Relationships/Self Help/Ethnic Studies
  • Religion & Philosophy
  • Science and Nature
  • Sets
  • Sports/Transportation
  • Suspense/Science Fiction
  • Text
  • Travel
  • Treasures
  • The West

Maybe I’ll see you at the sale!



We welcome and encourage your thoughtful, courteous comments below.


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