Today, I did my holiday duty and went Christmas shopping for my niece and nephew, age 4 and infant. For a brief moment, I thought of getting clothes or shoes (because kid's clothes are the cutest) but then gave myself a mental slap. I'm a children's book author, I've got to support the biz. If I don't buy children's books for children, how can I expect others? Yes, I'm all about setting an example.
I have to admit it's been a while since I've gone shopping in a real store. I tend to do internet shopping; but since I was getting all high and mighty, I realized I should support an independent bookstore as well. So I went into my favorite children's bookstore and...was completely overwhelmed.
There are just so many books out there, crowding and overcrowding the shelves. I went in determined to buy a gem from a no-name upcoming author, but the sheer chaos was disheartening. Suddenly, from the consumer angle, I realized how intimidating it can be to buy a book. The pressure of choosing something age appropriate, reading-level appropriate, taste appropriate for the child, taste appropriate for the parents...suddenly, those cute baby shoes were looking like a good gift choice.
But just as I began to take a step back, I was given an epiphany as a present. I make a living making these books. How is that possible? It was humbling, and the prior feeling of self-righteous pride became one of intense gratitude. Some lovely, kind, patient people must have taken the time to find my books in this mess of a publishing universe,and that's rather a miracle. And one that deserves to be paid forward as a holiday tradition.