World’s Biggest Book Store

Almost twenty-five years ago, Val, one of my best friends since we were six, was told she had five years to live. Cancer. She proved them wrong but the effects from the chemo and radiation have made her life downright miserable at times. Amazes me how she keeps a smile on her face, but she does.

The latest medical treatment she has had to endure is a hyperbaric chamber. The radiation from over twenty years ago messed up a few of her organs (I apologize I am not more fluent in medical jargon. Fact is, I hate the whole idea of Val being sick at all. Val handles problems head-on. I prefer to pretend they don’t exist), so the chamber is supposed to fool Val’s insides into healing themselves. That’s all I can tell you but here’s a link if you want to learn more;

It’s interesting, but it’s hitting too close to home for comfort. So I’ll talk about books instead. Books are a great place to hide.

Val had to go to Toronto for this chamber, or culvert as she fondly refers to it, so I went with her for the last week of sessions. We were walking down Yonge on our way to the hospital when I looked down a side street and there it was, a huge sign proclaiming their book store was the biggest in the world. Of course, I had to check it out. Like Yogi and a picnic basket.

But when I walked through the doors, the anticipated feeling of elation that I expected didn’t happen. Quite the opposite. Instead, immediate dismay.  When my book does get publshed, who is ever going to find it amongst all these other titles?

That moment passed, thankfully, once I morphed from writer mode into reader mode. I was still intimidated by the amount of books — how was I to pick just one? — but the prospect of flipping through them at random became more appealing the further I progressed into the store. And I finally did settle on one. Wild Child by T. C. Boyle.

Never heard of T. C. Boyle before that moment when I picked up his book. The cover was plain;

so what was it that drew me to this book out of the thousands of others? It was the title that caught my attention. Large and simple font (you examine fonts when you start thinking about marketing your own books); I liked the rhyme, the rhythm of the title, and the suggestion of insanity…an interest of mine; and though the cover was plain, it had the mystique of an old sepia drawing. That’s all it took to make me open to the first page and start reading. And with that, I was hooked. Good characters, vivid setting, and great suspense. It was a collection of short stories, which made it even more perfect for my mission. Keeping Val company during her final four treatments.

There are probably hundreds of readers going through that store in a month. So there’s a chance…maybe…just maybe…one of them will be drawn to my book, whenever it gets there. I will keep the font clear and large and the cover compelling. The Kill Zone (link to the right of my blog) has an excellent post about covers, with another link to a site that showcases some really, really bad decisions about covers on the part of the authors.

Check out “Hermes and the Sea People” and make sure you read the blurb underneath it…the one that starts, “that’s the hilt…” Too freaking funny. And  “The Lumberjack in Love”.

Wow, those are some bad covers.

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2 Responses to World’s Biggest Book Store

  1. Carole Mertz says:

    I’m sorry about your friend’s troubles and wish her well. I liked the book part of your blog entry-the way it feels when you just allow yourself to look here and there for a book and how the cover itself is what first drew you. My husband and I did that very thing. We visited a Barnes and Noble and simply “shopped” book covers. Well, I did. He was off in the philosophy section. It was a fascinating experience realizing the power of a cover. I invite you to contact me if you feel like talking some more about your work in progress. Best of luck!

    • ajcap says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Carole, and I may just take you up on that offer to contact you. Especially when it comes time for me to select a cover for my book. Probably a good idea for my next post. I’ll post the synopsis for my book and three pictures I like for the cover. All my fans (there are legions :)) can pick which one they like the most. But first…get the damn book done!

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