I’ve written on this subject before on the Fictorians, but I can’t help repeating myself every so often when it comes to the impact of fans. It wouldn’t be honest to say that I primarily write for my fans. Truth is, I write for me, because I love writing and creating. Stories drive me. But I find the energy to keep writing, to power through the really hard days and finish books, because my readers frequently find inspiring ways to remind me that what I’m doing matters to them. And isn’t that what we all want, at the end of the day? To matter?
A friend of a friend recently messaged me on Facebook to say that she had started reading my first book on a Monday and finished it at 5:00 a.m. on Wednesday morning. She then started the second book on Thursday night and finished on Saturday, and messaged to let me know that she thought it was better than the first. She didn’t want it to be over, so she hoped to take her time on the third book. We’ll see how that goes…
The point is not to toot my own horn. Here’s what I’m driving at: those two books took a minimum of four years to write (even longer to conceive) and boom, they are easily read in just four days. Which is a bit lopsided, but one hopes that great books will be consumed as quickly and voraciously as possible. In an ideal world, I want voracious readers to discover me right now, but I also long for the day when voracious readers will be discovering me and my backlist of thirty other books.
Hearing from fans means a lot to me. And I know it means a lot to other writers, too, which is why when I discover a book I really love, I follow the golden rule: do unto others what you’d have them do unto you. That doesn’t necessarily mean that I get in touch personally, but I leave reviews and try to spread the word. It seems to me that word of mouth and personal recommendations are among the most important (if not the most important) way that people discover new books.
So let’s not be stingy with praise and appreciation. Writers are often lonely, socially starved people sitting behind computers in quiet rooms at ungodly hours (unless it’s just me?), so words of appreciation tend to go a long way.