Wednesday, February 8, 2012

What Fanmail Means to a Writer

This indie author is so blissfully happy this morning!  I received another email (actually it was written on my blog and I get the message in my email, too) from a total stranger saying that she loved my books.  Jubilation! Another person for whom Gastien became very real. 

Let me tell you, there is no feeling in the world like the joy an author feels when they hear praise from a reader.  It is wonderful to be praised by friends and family and I don't mean to downplay that.  But from a stranger?  That is heady stuff!  I know this: no matter how successful I may become I will never lose the appreciation I have for readers who take time out of their lives to not only read my work, but to communicate with me directly to let me know how much they enjoyed it.  Never.

In case you don't know it, most of us don't make much money at all...if any.  We hope to become successful, but we know going in that the odds are stacked against us.  There are a whole lot of writers out there.  Still, I figure my odds are better at writing than with painting (which I have in my blood just like Gastien).  To add more angst to it, most of us are neurotic. 
Every day we fret about our books.  While marketing, while writing, while waiting for sales and reviews to come in, we fret.  Is the work good enough?  Are people finding it?  Will they spread the word?  Worst of all, do they hate us?  A day of  no sales and we are convinced that the whole world has decided that we suck.  No one will ever buy our work again.  Stupid, I know.  But honest.

Then sales (or a sale for some of us) comes in.  A fan writes.  A good review pops up.  We are in ecstasy again, knowing that we were born to do this crazy thing called telling a story.  Lots of sales would be nice.  I won't lie, I hope to make a lot of money eventually.  But you know what?  Even if I don't, just hearing from readers around the world that they love my work and consider it some of the best they have read makes it worthwhile to write.

I actually get tears in my eyes whenever I hear from a reader.  I can't say that I ever took the time to write or email an author.  I just plain didn't think of it.  I guess maybe I also thought they were not interested in hearing from me.  I always assumed they were wildly successful if they had a book out. Authors are really just normal people. In reality, writing is a lonely job.  We sit alone most of the time, living in our head. It is wonderful to be "touched" by another human.

Readers, we love to hear from you.  We live to hear that our work matters;  that it entertained you, moved you, made you feel.  Thank you from the depths of my soul for taking time to let me know.  Words can't express how much you mean to me. Today I can continue on book 3 (Tristan Michel: Bloodline of Passion) knowing that there ARE people out there-even in other parts of the world-waiting for me to tell them a story again.  And that, my friends, is what writing is all about.

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