When an author gives you a book…

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…Please, please, please let her know you read it. Or you started it and didn’t like it. Or you’re planning to read it in ten years, when you’ve cleared out every other book you have piled up in your living room waiting to be read.

Whatever you do, don’t just say nothing, as if you don’t remember that the book exists.

Authors act tough, but in reality they are fragile creatures. They’ve sweated long hours and bared their souls to create that book.

The worst thing that could happen to it would be for it to fade away into obscurity. Because if the book is invisible, so is the author.

Silence is torture.

Which is why I was so happy when my sister called to talk about my newest book, Time Without, the other day. She chatted about the story, said how she would have ended it, and suggested a few new characters for future stories.

I appreciated every minute. To have her call and chat about the book was the best gift she could have given me.

Too often I give copies of my books to friends and family and I never hear another word about it. It’s as if when I hand them the book it slips sideways into a black hole and is sucked away forever, never to be seen or heard from again.

I don’t know if they read it and hated it, or simply threw it into the trash.  ‘Cause it must be one of the two or they’d have some sort of comment to make.

In the past I tried asking what they thought of the book, but that was so awkward I vowed to never do it again. It felt like I was on a fishing expedition for compliments, and I’ve never really liked compliments.


There are drawbacks to being a writer. I can’t help but imagine all the ways a reader might dislike my books. The book’s too long, too short, not exciting enough, too exciting, blah, blah, blah. You name it, I’ve probably thought it. And to make matters worse, my imagination never sleeps, even when I do.

So when an author gives you a book, read it or don’t. But whatever you do, respond! Throw that poor author a bone!

What do you think?