Time for My Annual Review

Alison Morris - March 13, 2008

It was a year ago today that my first post appeared on PW‘s web site, and ShelfTalker was born. It seems fitting, then, that I take a moment to ask you this question: How am I doing?

How often are you reading my posts? In what ways are you finding them useful or entertaining? Which posts have been your favorite? What would you like to see more of? What topics are you most interested in hearing about? What window into a bookseller’s life would you like me to open for you? What do you think I should do differently?

Please take a minute to share your thoughts and feedback with me, either in the comments post or (if you’d prefer that the world not read your remarks) via e-mail. You can write to me at shelftalkerATgmailDOTcom.

While my blogging year has included a LOT of late nights, a number of technical-difficulty-induced headaches, and no lack of doubts about the sanity of my decision to take this on, it all feels worth it whenever one of you tells me you’ve gained some insight and/or entertainment from one of my posts. I love having the opportunity to share my observations, joys, and gripes with all of you — even on those occasions when so many of you seem to disagree with me!

To all of you who’ve visited this blog often or even just intermittently for the past 12 months, thanks for reading. As someone who knows how valuable a person’s reading time can be, I feel honored that you’re choosing to spend some of that precious commodity on my blog!

A post-script for those of you who’ve been having trouble leaving comments on my posts:
The comments field on this site is finicky, in that it’ll ask to you identify the letters in the box below your remarks (to verify that you’re not a spammer) then will sometimes tell you that you got the letters wrong, even when you didn’t. To avoid losing my remarks to this glitch, I usually type my comments in the box, highlight them, copy them by hitting CNTRL-C, and then take the little spammer test. If I fail the test the first time around, I hit CNTL-V to paste my original comments back into the comments box, and then take the test once more. It almost always works on that second try!

20 thoughts on “Time for My Annual Review

  1. Andrea Beaty

    Hey Alison, I love your blog! It’s on my list of daily stops while I linger over coffee before getting down to work. As an author, it’s helpful to me to get a glimpse into the work-a-day world of a bookseller and to understand the issues that booksellers deal with all the time. But my FAVORITE part of your blog is when you tour stores like yesterday’s virtual trip to the Flying Pig. (Love that store, BTW.) When the snow is up to the rafters and wind’s blowing and I’m hunkered in for the winter, it’s great to travel vicariously to beautiful lands full of beautiful books and the people who love them! Keep up the great work! All my best, Andrea Beaty http://www.AndreaBeaty.com http://www.ThreeSillyChicks.com

  2. teacherninja

    Just started reading in the last couple weeks and love it. I’m a teacher and former children’s book seller just starting to take classes to become a school librarian. Got you on my feed reader and linked on my blog, thanks.

  3. Debbie

    I love going on the tours you give us, whether it be a bookstore, an illustrator’s workshop or whatever. You explain everything in such simple detail that it’s easy to picture everything in our minds. (Plus, the pictures don’t hurt!) Also, I like the down-to-earth way you blog. No technical or flowery words that are hard to follow. It’s just like listening to a friend tell a story. Keep up the good work!

  4. Lindsey

    Really enjoy catching up on your blog. I work in publishing the UK and love finding out about your thoughts and experiences on (sort of) the other side of the world!

  5. Christine S.

    I’ve been subscribing to PW for about 12 years now, but didn’t sign up on-line until last October. I’ve been reading your blog ever since. I never commented until last week, when I decided it was high time that I thank you for all the enjoyment (and information) I’ve received. I particularly agree with the above sentiments of Debbie and Dana. I appreciate that your blog is down-to-earth and personal. I always feel that you’re talking to us, not at us, and that’s a very nice quality. I especially enjoy your photo-tours. My husband and I live in the backwoods of Minnesota and (for a lot of reasons) don’t travel much, so your blog gives me a window on a world other than my own. I honestly think that you’re already offering us a delicious smorgasbord. Some of my favorites have been your new feature that explains jobs in the publishing world, and your recent post about ARCs. (That photo of you standing next to a stack of books was a terrific idea. Talk about a picture being worth a thousand words!!) In short, Alison, I have no gripes. Only applause and thanks.

  6. Carter Hasegawa

    Yours is one of only a handful of blogs that I check everyday. I’m a big fan. I love the behind-the-scenes stuff you share with us, like your ode to reps, your recent post on ARCs, etc. I have to agree with everyone that some of my favorite posts are of your bookstore visits. Some other favorites–your post on the Punk Farm tour (and other author visits at Wellesley), your posts on your visits to artists’ studios (I forget his name, but the guy that opened his home/studio to the public and had beautiful pieces of various types of art all over the place), and your reviews. It seems like you haven’t been doing as much of these lately. I’d love to see more on the anatomy of author visits and other store events, the actual book-buying process, reviews, etc. Oh, and I like the introduction to the new occupation explanation, I’m looking forward to more of these. Keep it up though. I really do love your blog.

  7. Betcei

    Alison (I should have paid attention to your recommendations about saving my comment….)Anyway, I’ll try to recreate! I love your blog! I started working at our public library last August, and began reading your blog in October. Since then I have recommended 4 books to my 12 year old son, and he has loved them all! I also read “A Crooked Kind of Perfect” and thoroughly enjoyed it. You have hit the nail on the head with fun books. My son is not picky, but when he starts talking to me about story lines and plot summaries, I know he’s hooked. Keep up the wonderful work. I hope someday to travel from Alabama to your shop to say thank you in person. Kudos to you!

  8. Michelle

    I am an elementary school librarian, and I faithfully read your blog while I am eating my lunch at my desk. I love the variety of your topics, but most of all I like hearing about great new books. Thanks for your blog; I really look forward to reading it each week.

  9. Linda Buckley-Archer

    Hi Alison – just to say that I’ve been enjoying your blog ever since visiting your store while touring the US back in January. I can picture you now! You are a favourite displacement activity when I’m trying to get down to some writing. Thanks for the time you spend crafting your bog – I can imagine how long it takes. All the best from London.

  10. LISA YEE

    Like many, I love the behind-the-scenes bookseller stuff. Despite being in this biz for a (short) while, publishing is still a big mystery to me. So when you can shine some light on your aspect of it, it really helps. Plus I’m nosey. That said, my favorite blog of your was the one that led me to buy my beloved Pinky Pye coin purse.

  11. Andrea

    I love your blog, too. I think my favorite post was the one that used actual figures to show the difference hand-selling makes — very enlightening! Thank you.

  12. Bina

    Happy Anniversary, Allison and PW! I am so impressed by this blog–witty, lively, charming, passionate and, well, all you. Unlike some of your readers, I do know you and feel that this blog is like continuing the conversations in a seamless fashion. Filled with best books, plenty of pictures, eager children (and their parents), exciting events, kindred booksellers, intriguing authors, incredible illustrators, poignant insights, beloved publishers reps, behind the scenes at studios, delightful bookstores, quirky travel tips, and the ever game-for-an-adventure Gareth! My favorite? Hard to choose, but the Harry Potter bag skirt comes to mind, along with your visit with Ashley Bryan. Keep up the grand blog! PS this is a rewrite since I,er, did not save first!

  13. ShelfTalker

    Thank you, thank you to all of you taking the time to comment here AND those of you writing to me directly! I’m so grateful for your words of appreciation, encouragement, and requests. Anonymous (and any others having trouble finding the feed for this blog), Click on the square orange icon next to the name of my blog, at the top of this page. It’ll take you to a page that lists all the PW feeds. The ShelfTalker feed is the second to last one on the list.

  14. Phoebe

    Hey Alison, I love the blog! I admit to being totally biased in that one of my favorite of your subjects is little snippets of Wellesley Booksmith news. I also like when you tell us about what someone’s job description REALLY entails . . . things about the book business that seem vague or mysterious. And I love the how-tos like the Harry Potter bag skirt! (I haven’t made mine yet! I confess that I’m hoping to lose 10 college-related pounds before committing myself to a vinyl skirt . . .) In short I’m enjoying everything about the blog. (also, reviews from Katrina!)

  15. Mari

    I love every post! I edit reference books for a living and I think of the blog as a window into a career that might have been : )


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