Blogger: Wendy Lawton
Last week a number of people reposted a meme on Facebook created by author Tony Aleo. It said: “When you buy a book from an author you’re buying more than a story. You are buying numerous hours of errors and re-writes. You are buying moments of frustration and moments of sheer joy. You are not just buying a book, you are buying something they delight in sharing, a piece of their heart, a piece of their soul. . . a small piece of someone’s life.”
The sentiment came embedded in a gorgeous picture of a stack of books, some handwritten manuscript pages and a pewter stein. My first thought was ohhhhh, yes. As an author I could identify.
And then. . . I begin to think about it as a reader. Wait a minute. When I buy a book I don’t want to think about the author slaving over the manuscript. I don’t want to think about the rewrites. I don’t want to picture the frustration or even the sheer joy.
As a reader I want to open the book and fall into the story. I want the experience of becoming part of this story world. I don’t want to catch even the tiniest trace of the author. The story is about the characters, their journey, the setting and the magic that happens when a compelling story begins to unwind.
One of my literary heroes, C. S. Lewis, always argued against source criticism– the idea that events or themes in a book can be traced to something in an author’s life. He hated it when readers would try to find the author in the pages of a story.
Reading a book is like enjoying sausage. We just want to hear it sizzle and then feel the pop as we puncture it with our fork. We want to savor the taste but we do not want to know what goes into it or how they make it. Trust me.
Story is like that sausage. We want to be transported but we do not want to know what goes into it or how it was made.
So tell me, do you agree? I know we encourage you to have author sites where fans can find out more about you. And, as a reader, I often go to author sites. But do we want a reader to pick up a novel and think about the blood, sweat and tears that went into it?
Literary agent @wendylawton says a book is like a sausage. What? Click to Tweet
Do we really want readers to know what goes into writing a book? Click to Tweet