Interview with Elaine Sopchak, former owner of the Book Rack and Children's Pages and founder of Vermont Voices Marketing Firm.

Prompt: Today's Write The Book Prompt was inspired by the work of my guest, Elaine Sopchak, former owner of the sadly now-closed independent bookstore, The Book Rack and Children's Pages. Next time you're in a book store, pay attention to how things are laid out. Why is the children's section where it is? Where is fiction? Is there a tactical reason for its placement in the store? How about nonfiction? Is it all together, or is it placed in groups by theme: history, biography, science, memoir? Are there special displays, and if so, what's featured? What kind of poetry selection does the store have? Does it carry the books you want?

Here's the writing prompt part of this excursion. Notice what books you pick up as you wander the store. What catches your eye? Author reputation? Jacket cover? Title? When you turn the book over in your hands, does your interest build or lessen? Why? What, specifically, is drawing you to each work? Think about your own writing then. Will it draw readers like you? Do you want it to? If so, does anything need to change in the way you're approaching your work? This exercise has two goals. One, to reacquaint us with the hard work that is accomplished by booksellers. And two, to remind us about what it is that draws us, at first glance, to the books we love.

Good luck with this prompt, and please listen in two weeks for another!

Music credits: 1) “Dreaming 1″ - John Fink; 2) "Filter" - Dorset Greens (a Vermont band featuring several South Burlington High School students)

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