Thursday, February 20, 2014

The Best Words

We write. You read. But there are some words out there that can make a writer's heart sing.

I can’t be the only one who has experienced the stratospheric thrill that comes with those words. Many people will have read your book prior to getting the sale, but when that one person, in a position to make or break you, agrees your book is worthy of publication, well, let’s face it, some of us cry. Affirmation is a powerful drug. Someone has read our words and understood our message. For me, this feeling hasn’t change with any of the sales that have come along.

The end.
Pounding away at the keyboard for weeks and months can seem like a mind-numbing exercise in futility. At some point you just close your eyes and type, wanting to reach the final scene and pronounce your book complete. It’s not perfect. It’s not edited. But, thank God, it is done. If you are like me, you don’t want to read it again in this eternity. At least I can sleep at night now, knowing the characters I created have said their imperfect piece. Of course, I go back and talk to them during edits…

I loved it.
Yeah, it’s cool when Mom said she loved it. But when someone I don’t know and will probably never meet takes the time to send me an email or message to say that my story is great, well, yes, the best words ever. I guess we writers have borderline personality disorder – not me, of course, I’m perfectly fine - because the need for positive affirmation can give even the hardest of hearts a burst of cosmic warmth when a reader reaches out.

I bought your book.
Some of us write because it is in our blood. We must write. We must tell the story burning a hole in our stomach lining. We must shut those characters up! But we can also admit we write because we need to make a living. We have hungry children. A mortgage that must be paid. (Oh, I once heard Stephanie Bond say, there is no such thing as a muse when there is a mortgage to pay. That was free.) So back to money. We want to be paid. We want to get a royalty check. Please buy our book. Most of us aren’t making a lot of money and by most, I mean nearly all except James Patterson and JK Rowliing.

I left you a review.
Did you love my book? Am I your new favorite author? Please leave me a review. Maybe someone else will like my style too! With the advent of ebooks and the shift in attitudes with regard to self-publishing there is a huge selection of books you might choose to read. Did you like my book enough to encourage another reader to pick it up? Most writers will self-confidently proclaim they never read reviews. They are lying. We all read reviews. We peek at our newest ratings on Goodreads. We secretly login to Amazon to see what’s new. A 5! Oh, what did they say? Oh, they are so right! Oh, they get it. I feel warm. Faint! Oh, so happy! A 1! What? Are they kidding? This is a masterpiece. And they gave so and so a 4! OMG!

You are my new favorite author.
Yes, more affirmation here. But can you imagine… You, a writer of suspense, being told this when there are writer’s out there such as Stephen King? Or a writer of romance (me) being compared to Eloisa James or Mary Balogh or Nora Roberts? What a lift! And it may be true only in the moment but still… It is okay to tell a writer this now and again.

You have got to read this book!
After you have let me a review, I hope you also tell everyone standing at the water cooler and near the coffee pot. When I think of the number of books I’ve sold compared to the population of the world, I hope you’ll take a bullhorn to the water cooler when you make the pronouncement about the greatest of my book.

When are you going to write the sequel?
Now I know you not only loved my book, you loved my characters. Isn’t that part of why we read? To find friends, to explore new worlds or to explore familiar worlds in new ways? If you want to come back into my world, then I have succeeded.

So thank you! For reading my book, writing a review and telling your friends. The best words ever can come in a variety of ways but they always come from you!

Photo: Flickr Commons, State Library Queensland
and Flicker Commons, McKalls Style and Beauty

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