After spending the weekend with one hundred readers and eight other authors at the Books on the Nightstand Retreat, here is a rundown of the thoughts and ideas that have emerged from the experience: ________________________________________
1. Family members who do not read the book that another family member has written are surprisingly pervasive and the basest of all human beings.
2. When someone tells you that they don’t like fiction, remind them that most of what they watch every night on the idiot box is fiction.
3. The spiteful wish for an elderly woman’s death is probably not the best thing to include in a talk meant to inspire people.
4. When possible, avoid eye contact with your wife while delivering a book talk. While your audience may be willing to disguise their disappointment and horror with benign smiles and polite nods, your wife is not.
5. A book talk places the author in the position of salesperson. He can sell the product or sell himself. I believe the latter to be always preferable.
6. The willingness of an author to overshare is excellent for his readers but not always great for his marriage.
7. The ability to form a tightly-knit community of like-minded people and bring them together from the corners of the globe for a weekend of laughter and learning is not done through a blog or a podcast but through the unselfish willingness of two extraordinary people to share themselves with the world. Admiration is not the word to be used when describing one’s feelings about these people. It is nothing short of reverence.
8. A excellent book club choice is likely to be one that at least half your book club despises with a vengeance.
9. The authenticity of an inexperienced speaker will almost always overshadow the poise and polish of an experienced one.
10. When a group of nearly one hundred people dub your wife Saint Elysha, you probably should send flowers soon.