By Erin Mitchell
I finished reading a book last week, and proceeded to read, as I always do, the Acknowledgements. I read them because I know that authors put a lot of effort into them. That they carefully consider the words on these pages as much as any in their stories. And I’m grateful to the people they thank because they each played some role in bringing the story I’ve just read to me.
This particular Acknowledgements was special because as I read the names, one stopped me cold. It was…wait for it…mine. Me. Just a plain ole reader. Who happens to talk a lot about books I love. It made me quite literally squeal with delight because the thought that an author values my advocacy enough to include my name in that illustrious list means the whole world to me. It makes me want to redouble the time and effort I put into spreading the word about amazing stories.
Then there are the fellow readers who email or comment to thank me for recommending a book they loved. Those make me grin from ear to ear for days.
My point here is that the two most powerful words in the World of Marketing are not, as is commonly misperceived, “buy this,” but rather, “thank you.” Think about it…have you ever encountered a customer service rep who thanked you for being a customer and really meant it? Not the ones who read from a script, but those who are genuinely grateful for your brand loyalty? Have you ever gotten a personal thank-you note, even a handwritten one, from someone who didn’t have to send it? If you have, you doubtless remember it.
You probably have too many readers to thank each one individually. But when someone goes out of her or his way, say, with tweets or a complimentary Facebook post, taking a moment to thank her or him will make a huge difference. You cannot buy advocates, but you can earn them. Us readers want to be important to authors. Storytellers bring us to places and spin the tales that feed our imaginations, and when you notice us, it makes a difference. It makes us want to shout from the rooftops even louder about the books we love, the booksellers we trust, and the librarians who are our saviors.
And thank you for working so hard to tell us stories.