Authors, Writers, Publishers, and Book Readers
Time to face the Music
Time to own up to why I wrote ‘Who’s Minding the Store?’
My latest novel is a comedy about retail. The main character is an operations assistant manager who suddenly finds himself promoted to store manager on his first day after being transferred to a new store. But he has no time to celebrate when his district manager declares, “You’ve got one week to improve sales or we’re going to shut down this store.”
Derrick, my main character, has to come up with ways to improve store morale and dodge back-stabbing assistant managers from making him fail, all the while facing the music with pissed off customers who never seem to be satisfied. ‘Who’s Minding the Store’ takes jab after jab at customers who seem to deserve the misery they experience. It tells what goes through the mind of employees when faced with a customer-from-hell.
I’ve had a lot of people tell me I’m right on the mark, and a few ask if this was my version of payback against customers I sometimes face. Well, the answer is less complicated.
I wrote ‘Who’s Minding the Store’ in an effort to reach out to a wider group of readers. I’ve been writing since I was 14 years old and all my books are action/adventure novels. I love reading these type books because they take me to far off places I sure hope to visit one day. But as a writer I learned after my first published book, THE SANDMAN, that unless you like this type book a reader may not be inclined to read such a book.
I then began researching how to reach out to readers. I learned 60% of readers are women. No surprise there, right? But what kind of books appeal to women? How about comedy, history, biography, self-help, and romance? Again, no surprise, right? Well for me it was. After nixing history, bio, self-help, and romance I figured my best shot at a different type novel could only be a success if it was something a lot of people could relate to. That’s when I had a look at what I do for a living.
Much as I love to write, I’m no place near making a living at it. I have to write for enjoyment. That means I have a career doing something other than my profession of writing. For the past 20 years I’ve paid the bills working home improvement retail. Every day it seems we come across something funny. A worker tells a joke, a customer flirts with an employee, a salesperson trips up during their sales pitch. It may seem minor, but in truth we find ourselves laughing in stitches. It could be the reaction of an employee who during a sale, or a customer complaining over the delay of their order, anything and everything.
I don’t want you to think I’m being insensitive. We care about our customers. We really do. But sometimes they overreact over the silliest things. I could provide details, but I already did in my book, so if you want details you’ll have to read it. And when you do I want you to believe me when I say I didn’t write this as payback against pissed-off customers and disgruntled employees. I wrote it to reach out to readers. That’s right! I want to reach out to YOU.
So sit back and enjoy my novel. It’s something I’m not only proud of, but lived it.