05 Jan Your book can make a difference
My first book Last Seen in Lhasa took 9 years to write, involved 7 trips to Tibet and untold hours revising the manuscript. Ten years on, it’s hard to believe my memoir is celebrating its 10th birthday. I still get emails from readers who’ve read — and loved — it and who ask about the other main character in the book: Ani, the Tibetan nun. Here I am with her in Tibet in this photo.
When I recently announced the book’s birthday on my author Facebook page, I received an outpouring of comments — because Ani, who has never been outside of Tibet, has fans around the world. I was incredibly touched to know her story still moves readers who think of her and send love.
The intangible rewards of writing a book are often more sustaining than the tangible. Most of us do it not to make a buck, but to make a difference. Books have their own journey. You have to trust that they will find their audience.
A book can open doors; it can give you a platform. If you’re already an expert, it gives you extra credibility. It’s a ‘business card on steroids’. If it’s your personal story, or a fictional account, a book creates a community. I’ve met some lifelong friends through my books — among whom is Ani.
It’s a miracle that it’s still in print. Travel writer Walter Mason tells me it’s because it’s a “travel memoir classic.” But for me, it’s simply my way of sharing with the world.