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Readers Are The People I Care About

  • January 15, 2012

I know, I haven’t blogged in a really long time. Things are crazy right now, and I have half a dozen posts in draft stage that I just haven’t found time to finish. But I need to write this one because I have some things I really want to say.

For those of you not familiar with the publishing world, huge changes have occurred in the way books are brought to the marketplace. With the explosion of e-books and the advent of self-publishing programs like Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing and Barnes and Noble’s Pubit!, it is no longer necessary to have an agent or a publishing contract in order to make your work available to readers. With this change has come controversy. Who will be the gatekeeper of the tsunami of self-published crap that will surely flood the marketplace? Who will vet the work and make sure it’s good enough? Writers who are traditionally published, who worked hard to obtain an agent and a publishing contract, might not be happy that writers are allowed to bypass this vetting process. Self-published writers may view this differently and appreciate that just because they don’t have an agent or a publishing contract, doesn’t mean they didn’t write a good book. Writers are lumped into one group or the other and assigned all the characteristics, positive or negative, of whichever group they fall into. And honestly, the arguments for both sides have merit.

However, this debate is something many readers simply aren’t aware of and probably wouldn’t care about if they did. Readers want one thing: books they can fall in love with. People are so up in arms warning everyone how they should feel about how books arrived at the marketplace, that they’ve forgotten all that matters is that the book is enjoyed by the very people we write them for: readers. If a story resonates with a reader and they tell their friends or post a positive review, that’s a wonderful thing. If someone mentions how much they love a book on Facebook or Twitter, or they feature it on their blog, that’s the kind of feedback that makes a writer’s day.

I’ve had the good fortune to connect with an increasing number of readers in the past two weeks, and I’m still on cloud nine because of it. I’ve interacted with some phenomenal folks on Twitter and Facebook, and I’m blown away that many of them took the time to leave positive reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, and their blogs. I’ve messaged back and forth with people who live in India, Germany, France, and Scotland. How totally cool is that?

Does everyone like my book? Of course not. That comes with being an author and putting your work out there. It won’t resonate with everyone and not everyone will embrace it. But the readers are the game-changers now. Their opinions matter and to try and tell them they won’t be able to find anything to read because they have to wade through all the millions of horrible books out there is ludicrous. Readers don’t have to wade through anything (unless they truly enjoy the hunt). They rely on reviews and word-of-mouth. They’re active on Goodreads and they follow book review blogs. If readers in other countries can find On the Island, everyone can.

Most of my reviewers won’t see this post, so my heartfelt thanks may not reach the people who deserve to hear it the most. But I’ll say it anyway. I want to send a huge thank you to those who have supported me on my publishing journey by buying On the Island, leaving positive reviews, and recommending it to others. I am truly humbled by your kind words. You, the readers, are the people I care about. You are the people I write for. No one else’s opinion in the publishing world carries the weight that yours does, at least not to me.

The future of publishing belongs to the reader. I think it would be wise for everyone to remember that.

Debut Novel, No Backlist – 25 Things You Need to Know If You’re Thinking About Self-Publishing

  • January 10, 2012

# Be willing to take risks. On the Island is an adult contemporary romance novel. The book I’m writing now is straight-up women’s fiction. I’m worried about the genre shift, but I’m going to jump out of the airplane anyway; the chance to expand my readership is my parachute. I don’t know if anyone will like my next book, but I promise to bring my A game.

# Cover. Please, for the love of all that is holy, don’t cut corners with your book cover. If your cover art looks like something my nine-year-old designed using clip art and MS Paint, you won’t be taken seriously. Actually, my nine-year-old is pretty talented and she could probably come up with something better than a few of the covers I’ve seen. Your cover is the second most important thing to spend money on when you decide to self-publish (professional editing is the first). I started writing Covet last summer, while I was waiting to submit On the Island to my editor. I already knew my main character had wavy blond hair so when I saw this image the heavens parted, angels started singing, and I got goose bumps everywhere. All this image needed was my name and the title. Notice the dark font? That’s called learning from your mistakes.

# For the love of all that is holy, part II, hire an editor. I had two for On the Island: a developmental editor and a copyeditor.

# It’s great if you have more than one title to self-publish, but what if you don’t? I can’t help that On the Island is the first book I ever wrote. I’ve been encouraged to get the next book out there as soon as possible, but I don’t have a trunk novel to re-work or anything languishing on my hard drive. Frankly, I’m not a fast writer and I’ll never be as prolific as some authors.

Who Do Your Characters Look Like?

  • January 7, 2012

Lately a few people have asked if I pictured anyone for the main characters in On the Island . Since I see the book in my head as a movie when I’m writing, I did have a general idea of T.J. and Anna’s physical appearance, but I didn’t think too much about whether they looked like real people or not.

Now that I’m being asked the question more frequently, I thought about it and decided that Anna might look a little like Courtney Cox because of her blue eyes.

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