Monday, January 2, 2012

Write to an Author This Year

This time last year, I had just published Deception in Savannah, my first novel.  I was excited as I waited for the sales to start climbing.  Now, with three more works published, I'm still excited, and still waiting for the sales figures to climb.  I've sold enough books and gotten enough feedback now to make me think that writing is a worthwhile pursuit.  After all, my main goal was to share my writing, and that's certainly happening, thanks to the help, patience, and support of lots of generous people.  I offer a heartfelt thanks to all of you who have invested your time in buying and reading my books, and especially to those who took the time to let me know what you thought of them.

I have read thousands of books over the years, but until this past year, I never wrote to an author.  It seemed somehow presumptuous to think that my opinion, good or bad, would matter.  I know better, now.

When I bare my thoughts in a book or a blog post, I always wonder what my readers think.  I know that people read the material, because I can see sales numbers, downloads, and page visits, but writing is a solitary endeavor.  I spend a lot of time staring at my computer screen, stringing words together in an effort to communicate my thoughts.  Unlike conversing, either face-to-face, or by letter, or email, there's no real-time feedback to let me know how effective my efforts are.  Whether my goal is to entertain, inform, or persuade, I often worry that I'm missing the mark.  It's only in this last year, since I've begun to follow and correspond with other writers, that I've come to realize that most of us have a bit of this insecurity, and that we welcome the reassurance of readers' reactions.

Positive reactions are nice, but negative ones have value as well.  To me, the worst reaction is silence.  Rationally, I understand that most people read and react without commenting to the author, but emotionally, the little kid deep down inside wanting approval frets that my work missed whatever mark I had hoped to hit.

Since I've had this realization, I have started to write to people when I read their books.  It's quick and easy in this era of instant communications, and I've discovered that I enjoy the book on a different level when I open a communication channel with the author.  Most respond; some don't; but I know they got something out of my feedback either way.  So, if you read a book and the author has included an email address, make your reaction known.

I wish you all a happy and prosperous new year.  


Carole Di Tosti said...

I share you enthusiasm for writing and sharing with authors. You've done well this year. are an inspiration to me. I have to move into the air streams with two works yet unpublished. But will after deciding whether to POD or just ebook it.

Charles Dougherty said...

Thanks for your kind words, Carole.

Why would you not do both POD and an ebook? Once you get the hang of it, it's not much additional work to add the other format.

I sell far more ebooks than paperbacks, but I do sell a few paperbacks without any additional marketing effort. Lots of people still like paper books. Given my choice to live on a cruising sailboat, selling paperbacks isn't as easy as selling ebooks, but it's still nice to be able to send them as gifts, or to make them availble when asked.

Thanks for taking the time to comment.

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