Monday, February 18, 2008

fieldtrip


Hi,

It is cold and windy here in Indiana with blinding snow flurries. We have had a frightful winter here in the midwest and it has kept me inside glued to my favorite books. There is nothing quite like curling up with a good book in front of the fire......

Alas, I ventured out today on a fieldtrip to Barnes and Noble, another favorite thing for me. I arrived just in time for the toddler story. One of the employees was reading a book on President Abraham Lincoln with such expression, I almost forgot what I came in to research.

The point of all of this conversation is to remind fellow writers to treat yourselves to a fieldtrip...just for fun, just for research, and just to connect with your audience. If you write for adults, enjoy a latte and a good read in a comfy chair at your favorite book store. Listen and watch your adult audience for tips on what they are reading. If you write for young adults, schedule your fieldtrip after school hours or on a school holiday and observe what those readers are choosing. As for me, I sat in on toddler time and it was enlightening. It reminded me what I love about children.... they get excited about everything.

After a toddler review on American Presidents, I sought out the buyer for the childrens' book department. She was available and very willing to discuss her thoughts on what the market needed and where it was saturated with the same old thing. She also was helpful in pointing out her favorite books for each age group and suggested others for the research I originally came in to do.

This fieldtrip did several things. 1. I introduced myself to the most important person at that store who someday may buy my books. 2. It gave me hands on experience with my target readers and their parents. 3. It was fun. 4. It was only an hour of my time but will inspire me for many more with new ideas. 5. I got ideas for research material that I hadn't thought of. AND it was productive. I left with notes, a few books to write reviews on, a new market guide, and more ideas than I had when I went into the store.

I highly recommend giving yourself permission to go on your own fieldtrip. Enjoy!

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