The other day I made a flying out-of-town nine-hour-drive round trip. On my way home, I decided to run by a mom-and-pop bookstore in a small town that was only a couple miles off my route.
My plan was to go in, introduce myself and ask if I could leave a sample book for their consideration in carrying some of my titles in their store.
Going inside, I was impressed with the inviting appearance of the store and the assortment of new titles along with classics. I was greeted by one of the owners who seemed warm and friendly until I mentioned the reason for my visit.
When I told her I wrote romances, she turned up her nose and said, in a very disapproving voice, “I don’t care for romances. We focus more on literary works.”
It was hard to digest this bit of information standing next to a big display with the three “Fifty Shades” books not to mention a handful of other bestselling romances.
I asked if she might like to read the mystery I had written and was told she didn’t care for them either. She reiterated her “literary” comment.
I thanked her for her time and prepared to leave when she asked to keep one of my books. She informed me one of the people who reads potential books for her store is married to a rancher and might like “this sort of thing.”
The “thing” being one of my Grass Valley Cowboys books.
I looked out the window at the number of pickups and horse trailers driving up and down the street and tried not to count the Stetson covered heads walking past the store. I forced myself to ignore the big feed store down the block.
She mentioned that she wasn’t sure if my cowboy-centered books would fit her clientele. You know, those who prefer the works of literary wonder filling her store, rather than a romance with a cowboy and country theme.
Mustering a smile and gathering up my case of books, I again thanked her and walked out the door.
I won’t ever be classified under the title “literary wonder,” but I’m okay with that. At least I can give an honest answer without being pretentious and can figure out the type of bookstore customer who would enjoy my books.