Wednesday, June 15, 2011

It's a Small World

Like most writers, I am obsessed with my stats. I check my Amazon rankings and go away in despair or elation. The number of books I sell means that my publisher either loves me or won't renew my contract. So it's fairly obvious that I've started checking my blog stats--the most interesting of which are where my visitors come from.

USA, Canada, Britain, all fairly obvious. Australia--I'm pleased about that. But Russia? Pakistan? And even Iraq? I am intrigued. Who in Russia or Pakistan or Iraq is interested in what Rhys Bowen is doing? Maybe the interest is in following the British royals. Maybe countries without royalty have a yearning for the pomp and pageantry that goes with a royal family. But it makes me realize what a small world we live in.

My books are sold in some wildly diverse countries. What do readers in South Korea get out of Lady Georgie's antics? What do readers in Finland or Portugal, both of them staunch republics, think about my royal tales? Italy I can understand as these are essentially slapstick comedies with romance and bodies thrown in , and that definitely appeals to the Italian soul.

I suppose that is the wonderful thing about books. They let us travel vicariously. They let me shiver in the Russian winter with Martin Cruz Smith--without having to experience frostbite in person. They take me to China with Amy Tan and offer insights into the Chinese way of thinking that I could never get as a mere tourist. I've crossed the African plains with Beryl Markham, and enjoyed Botswana with Alexander McCall Smith. And I feel that I now know Sweden after those Girl With books.

So we as writers have a great responsibility. We don't just entertain. We provide insights into the workings of our worlds. It behooves us to get it right. Because when we learn about people in other countries and other ways of life we see them as human just like us and there is less chance that we can view them as potential enemies. We writers are also the peacemakers. Awesome responsibility!

What are your feelings? Do books open up the world to you?

1 comment:

  1. I agree this is a small world, but you have to think maybe people in these countries are buying your books because of your quality as a writer and not for any other reason.