Month: November 2005
Now is the time when I have to call on you, my readers, for the help that keeps me going as a writer. I asked a while ago to hear from any of you who would be interested in helping promote Chief Joseph and the Flight of the Nez Perce. I passed all of your kind offers of assistance on to HarperSanFrancisco, my publisher.
Whether they contacted any of you, I don’t know. Behind the corporate face it is just folks like you and me trying to do what they can in the time they can allot to a project. They pick and choose their spots, as well.
So, now, it becomes our task — yours, as readers, and mine, as author — to get the word out. Here is what you can do: Once you read the book, go to its location at Amazon.com. Go down to the place where it asks for Reader’s comments or reviews and submit one of your own.
Believe it or not, these matter. They are the one place where a potential reader can go to find out what other readers think. And most readers trust other readers. So, if you can help people understand what it is they will be reading, it assists them in making the decision as to whether or not to put their money and time on the line for this particular book.
I ask this for myself, obviously, but for the Nez Perce and native peoples of America more. If this story needs to be heard, as I believe it does, and my telling is a worthy way of getting that story heard, you, as readers, can perform the service of alerting people to the book that tells the story.
It is all part of that difficult balancing act where those of us who are non-native readers try to do what we can to help give a presence to a people for whom we feel an affinity and a responsibility. And for the native readers, it is a chance to weigh in on a book that might just tell a story that needs to be heard, and tell it in a way that will allow readers to enter into the hearts and mind of a people and an experience.
Please help me, the book, and the Nez Perce and other native people in this regard if you are able and so inclined. It will mean more than you know, more than any of us can know. Yours could be the review that makes the one person pick up the book who can help a child, promote a government decision on policy, or pass the word along to a person in a position to create change and understanding in our society.
Of such hopes is a writer’s life made. And now are the few weeks when this hope can be given shape and life.
Next week I go out again for a stretch — the most intriguing being a chance to speak to a gathering put together by Birchbark Books in Minneapolis — Louise Erdrich’s bookstore. What good and interesting folks, and Louise first among equals. She was truly a generous soul to take the time to read Joseph and write a kind and meaningful endorsement of it. (The reading takes place at 6:30 pm at Lake of the Isles Lutheran Church, 2020 West Lake of the Isles Parkway. Following the reading, I’ll sign copies at the bookstore.
I hope I’ll be able to return the favor by bringing some attention to her wonderful bookstore at my reading/talk. It appears that C-Span will be there, and as much as I look forward to the exposure it will give the story of Joseph, I am equally as excited about the prospect of bringing exposure to her unique and delightful bookstore.
Barnes and Noble’s are great for getting coffee and finding books and sitting down for a quiet read. But only in bookstores like Birchbark do you find yourself engaged in conversations with travelers from Germany and store personnel who are both fascinating and knowledgeable. This was my experience last time I was there, and it is my experience in almost every small, independent bookstore I have the pleasure of visiting. These are treasures that we need to support — with our dollars, our presence, and our continued patronage.