Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Why Buying a Book is Like Buying a Car

I received my first royalties from Amazon yesterday and today I bought a new car!

Unfortunately for me, the two are not related. One was a pleasant (if rather modest) surprise and the other is something that I have been putting off for the best part of four years now. When the guy who gives me a lift to the office handed his notice in last week, I realised that I could not face going back to commuting by train and there you have it.

Being a writer, I obviously managed to take something from the car buying experience that I can turn into a blog post for the intelligent, supremely attractive people who are kind enough to drop by and read the stuff that I put on here.

So here goes.

When shopping around for cars, the first thing that we tend to notice are the aesthetics. We all have a favourite colour and particularly for males, the sportier the model, the better. It is no different to browsing covers in a bookstore. Of course, practicalities come into it. We cannot just buy the first car that we like the look of. We have to find something in the correct class and with the most suitable engine size etc. Essentially, this is like finding your genre.

So now we have narrowed the choice down, we need to learn a bit more about each model in order to make an informed choice. We ask the dealer if we can see the car's papers and service history, just like the reader turns to the back cover and checks over the blurb. Up to date and accurate papers are just as important as an interesting and engaging plot teaser. If we are still interested it is time to take it for a test drive.

From the moment that you turn the engine on, everything has to be perfect. You have to fall in love with the vehicle. The way it feels and the way it sounds has to be exactly what you are looking for, because you and the car will be together for a good few years. Likewise, those first 2 or 3 pages of a novel have to flow effortlessly. It has to grab you and keep a hold of so that you do not want it to let you go. The commitment may not be quite so high financially, but it is one that if you make the right choice, may well stay with you for a lot longer.

We will all remember the words of our favourite novels long after our first car has taken its final ride.

In an extremely loosely related photograph, here is my wife Katie next to a car. It is not even a real car. It is a character from the Pixar movie, Cars.

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  1. Loved this post, David. Totally got the analogy. It worked for me.
    I think the photograph relates very well to the article, actually, particularly the blurb on the board behind your wife.

    1. Thanks Christine. I did not even notice what was written on the board behind the car. I may amend the caption and pretend that it was a carefully selected quote.

  2. My car is on its last legs. I really need to write my third book to help raise the cash I need for a new minivan. Clearly, it will have to be a best seller.

    1. Based on what I have made from my first book, I would only need to write about 300 more to actually fund a car purchase.