I was a weird child. When I was in seventh grade, I practically lived in our small-town library. I especially loved being the very first person to take out a newly arrived book, its binding still tight, and pages crisp and new. Sometimes a story so moved me, I felt as though the author had written it just for me. I became very proprietary about “my” book. No one else should be allowed to read it.
So after its two-week lending period was up, I would renew the book. When that two-week period ended, I renewed it a second time. And a third.
I became a certifiable Book Hog.
After that, the librarian started looking at me askance. “Are you done reading that book yet?” she would ask, wondering what was taking this champion fast reader so long. “Other people want to read it too, you know.”
When I couldn’t renew it any longer, I said a tearful goodbye to “my” book and turned it in.
My Book Hog period ended when I read an interview with one of my favorite authors whose books I hogged regularly, and she talked about wanting many people to read her books. I had a personal growth moment and realized I’d been selfish. I wasn’t doing my favorite author any favors by keeping her books all to myself. My new goal was to help her reach lots of readers, and spread the word about her wonderful books.
Now that I’m a published author, I understand that while you hope your story inspires such passion in a reader, you’d rather see them spread the word. More readers mean more sales, and more sales mean more publishing contracts that will enable you to keep on writing the books they love.
Have you ever been a Book Hog, and how did you kick the habit?