Saturday, October 19, 2019

Year of an Indie Writer: Week 42

Scott D. Parker

In book-related news, I witnessed something wonderful this week, and I have my wife to thank.

On Monday night, here in Houston, we traveled to Blue Willow Bookshop to attend an author event with Elin Hilderbrand (my review). The author event was not a new experience. Frankly, it was pretty much like most every author event I have attended before. No, what struck me was the clientele.

The audience was almost exclusively women.

Granted, the kinds of books Hildebrand writes generally appeal to women. But in most of the author events I've gone to tend to focus on books I like. Me. A dude. And most of those events have been sparsely attended.

Not so the folks at Blue Willow on Monday. It was packed.

We arrived about thirty minutes before show time and we managed to snag the last two side-by-side seats. By the time seven o'clock rolled around, the strangling guests were in standing room only. I literally think I could count the number of guys in the room on one hand. Yup. Exactly five that I can remember. The rest of the, say, fifty fans were ladies of all ages.

Ladies who read. Passionately. And follow everything Hilderbrand writes. In fact, she commented she had finished next summer's novel that very day. She dangled a tidbit about the book and the audience reacted with a combination of happiness and anticipation at having to wait until the summer of 2020.

All of this isn't news. More women read books than men. I knew that ahead of time. But I hadn't actually witnessed it. Now I have. I even commented on it to my wife and the fellow reader, Elizabeth, we met.

The following day, in a text, my wife asked when I planned on having an author event at Blue Willow. "When I have written a book I think Valerie's [owner] customers will like."

There's the key, right? Somehow align what readers want to read with books I want to write. Writing to market is as old as writing. Nothing new there, either. Which makes me think of all the stories on my immediate To Be Written pile and ponder which one of those might most appeal to women.

I think I'll write that one first, and then, on a day sometime in the not-too-distant future, I'll have my book signing at Blue Willow.

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