Please join me in welcoming Andi Cumbo-Floyd to the blog.
One copy of The Santa Monica Review sat on my parents’ coffee table for years. My folks are not literary magazine readers nor are they from Southern California. So the magazine was a bit out of place amongst the Southern Livings and Readers Digests in their living room.
Really, the only reason it sat there was because I had an essay in its pages. And my parents were proud of me. I like to imagine them watching as someone thumbed through the pages and saw my name. I know they smiled each time This gentle act was their quiet, humble way of bragging.
Their pride warmed the very center of my heart.
I feel much the same way when anyone tells me they’ve read my book, when they write a review on Goodreads, when they share something from my blog on their social media pages. There’s something soul-filling about people taking the time to read my work and share it with other people.
This just isn’t about selling more copies. It’s about a commodity much more valuable than money: support.
When someone tells me they read something I wrote, I don’t wonder if they bought it, if I gave them a free copy when it was published, if they borrowed it from the library or a friend. I just revel in the fact that someone cared enough to read something I wrote. That gift is profound and rich.
In our marketing-saturated, money-oriented culture, readers can often be swayed to think that the best way to support a writer is to buy her books. Purchasing books is certainly one important method for giving a writer the boost she needs for her career. But simply reading a book makes a world of difference to the spirit of a writer who needs – fundamentally – to be reminded that her work is worth doing.
Writers – like all artists – spend a great deal of time talking ourselves into writing, battling the voices that say what we do doesn’t matter, or that it’s selfish. When someone tells us that our writing was worth their time, it’s as if a giant sword of support has hushed those voices that whisper about our ineptitude.
Whether we borrow a book from a friend, take one out from the library, pick a copy up through an online bookswap, receive a free PDF during a giveway, the fact that we cared enough to get our hands on the words of a writer – that’s what really important, not how much we spend to get the book.
So next time you grab a book from the library shelf or snag a copy from a Goodreads giveaway, know that we – the writers of the world – appreciate your time and your energy. If you write us a note or throw up a review, we’re really grateful, too. But mostly, we’re just thankful that you cared enough to give your mind and your heart to our words. That, that right there is the biggest gift of all.
Surprised to hear this? I was. I’d love to hear how YOU choose to support writers and their work in comments.
Andi Cumbo-Floyd is a writer, editor, and writing coach who lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains with her amazing husband, their 4 dogs, 5 cats, 6 goats, and 11 chickens. You can find out more about her book The Slaves Have Names at her blog – andilit.com.