God, Radio Tours, and Bookstores: a guest post by Heather Lende

I have been on the telephone to radio stations around the country as part of my book tour. The radio chats are sort of the warm-up. They provide the opportunity for me to take the entire five-minute drive-time-live conversation with Barbara in Georgia stammering about what my book is about, where the heck Haines, Alaska is, and if I know Sarah Palin.

I just got off the phone with a show in Nashville called Beyond Reason. (No kidding.) The note from my publisher said it was a spiritual show. The hosts (there were two) began by asking what my near death experience was like, and whether I had seen the light. I told them I didn’t see God when I was under that truck that ran me over, I saw Dave Olerud. (Dave is a friend who had a construction accident and broke his back and lost the use of his legs.) I said I prayed that I would have what Dave has. Grandchildren. I told them I have a granddaughter now and they asked if my prayers were answered.

Now, I am of the C.S. Lewis school of prayer. He wrote that we need to pray not so that God will understand us, but so that we will understand him. I thought about that when they asked me if God was responsible for running me over. “Was he there,” the kind southern accented host asked, “telling the truck driver to hit you?” By now I was getting a little panicky. This isn’t really what my book is about, and I’m an Episcopalian and we don’t talk about God much. Luckily, time was up, and we all said thank you for a wonderful, thought-provoking conversation.

In other news, I leave this week for a book tour, and if you have read the list of places I’m signing books, you will notice that they are all independent bookstores, not chain stores. (Well, except the new Raven’s Place; three cheers to the 49 Writers fairy godmothers!) Anyway, this is on purpose. I write a lot about community – it is important to me. Locally owned and operated stores anchor strong, happy communities of readers and writers. A bookstore on Main Street is about the most cheerful sight in any town. One with a cat and comfortable chair even more so.

For writers, independent bookstores are typically staffed by smart, passionate readers who care about what you, as a writer, do. The people who own and work in these stores love books.  If they like yours, they will order lots of them and tell their customers to buy them. They will buy raffle tickets from your children and make donations to your library, too. Also, they like to share what they enjoy reading with other bookstore owners across the country. They make a living selling your books for you so you don’t have to rent a booth at the fair and sell novels like earrings, and so that you can use what you earn from their sales to write more wonderful books for them to sell.

If you are a writer, you need to make friends with good bookstores. What you can give them are events and sales, and what they give you are events and sales. (And cookies and coffee and time to talk and some good advice on what to read next.) It is a win-win. So, buy your books from an independent bookstore, and when you do, thank the owner for supporting your profession, and your community, and the good work you do.

That’s enough preaching for now. I still have to figure out if God was there when I was run over, and if so, why didn’t he say hello?

2 thoughts on “God, Radio Tours, and Bookstores: a guest post by Heather Lende”

  1. Lynn Lovegreen

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. I agree we should support independent bookstores whenever possible. How do you find them for something like book tours–is there a network or list?

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