Why Readers Need to Do More than Read

cover poster april2014

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As I work hard to finish Selling Dreams, my fourteenth novel, which will be published in December, my thoughts go to my readers, especially those who have been so supportive and encouraging. It’s mainly because of them that I have upped my writing speed and work harder than ever to produce a book every five to six months. It’s their enthusiasm in many e-mails and Facebook messages that spurred me to produce yet another title, this time with a different setting. It’s not because of them that I write. But they are the reason I try harder.

I write because I love writing, the thought process and the magic of creating new characters, setting the story in places I have been and loved. This new one, which I plan to follow up with two more books, turning it into a new series, is set in the south of France, where I have spent so many holidays and shorter breaks. It’s magic at any time of the year and I want  to take my readers there on an imaginary journey. As I write, I’m there myself and the story is beginning to shape up in surprising ways. Strange that you start off with one story in your head, but always end up with quite a different one as the characters take on their own lives and do things you hadn’t planned at all. That’s the magic of writing.

When you’ve finished the book and get out of the writing trance, you begin to look at the next step: publishing and marketing. Of course I write mainly for the love of it but what is a story without readers? Hard working writers do actually want some kind of rewards for their hard work. And hard work it is. I spend an average of four hours a day just writing. Marketing and publicity take another hour or so on top of that. Revising, rewriting, editing, formatting, cover design comes next once you’ve finished a book. AND… the (insert bad word) blurb! That’s nearly harder than writing the whole book. You try to put the gist of a 300+ page book into a few sentences that will sell it to new readers. An impossible task  that makes you want to scream. Then you’re off again on a new book, which has to be ready five months later because readers want the next one very soon.

But enough about the hardworking writer. I’m now turning to readers. Yes, my readers have been amazingly supportive and kind. Yes, they have posted wonderful reviews and often talk to me on Facebook and Twitter and Google+ and all those other venues on the Internet. I love that. It’s one of the best things about self-publishing, apart from being my own boss and making all the decisions myself. But here is my message:

TO MY READERS

If you want your favourite author to keep writing, you have to help them sell their books.

How can you help them? By spreading the word. By creating that powerful ‘word of mouth’ that authors need for books to sell. It is that magic ‘thing’ that keeps books selling and keep writers writing. No writer writes ONLY for themselves, even if the love of writing helps create great books. I hope I never lose that love, but writing will turn into a very lonely occupation with no readers.

How can you, the reader keep me writing? By telling your friends, neighbours, cousins, aunts and uncles about my books. By chatting about them on Facebook, your local café, in the supermarket, the hairdresser’s, the dentists, well perhaps not there, but you get my drift. Without your help, the writer might not feel motivated to try so hard anymore. And if that happens, you’ll have fewer and fewer books to read.

I’m a reader too. I try to shout about my favourite authors, because I want them to keep writing.

Thank you for reading this. Now get out there and shout while I finish this book. If you want another one, you know what to do…

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