Guest – Thea Harrison + Giveaway!
Why I love Reader FeedbackBy Thea Harrison
Writing today is such a different world than it was in the 1980s and 90s during my first stint at writing romances. Today writers are plugged in like never before, through websites and email addresses, and social media sites such as Goodreads, Facebook and Twitter, and especially through blog sites dedicated to books and reading. There are many wonderful opportunities to connect with our readers, and the increased ease of communication shows: since returning to publication with my Elder Races series, I’ve already received more email from readers than I received via snail mail during the entire fifteen years of my previous writing career, and I love it!
There are lots of reasons why I love hearing from readers. Writing, for me, is a relationship, and it’s important to me to connect to the other half of that relationship. It makes my day to find out that I gave a reader pleasure with one of my stories. When someone writes to tell me he/she is excited about my series, I get excited all over again too.
There’s another aspect that is important to me. I do write a certain element of humor into my stories, and sometimes that seems tricky. When I’m writing alone in my office, occasionally I feel like I’m pitching jokes to an empty room. It might be weeks before I find out from my beta readers, my agent or my editor whether or not what I wrote brought them a laugh or two. It takes even longer to receive general reader feedback on a book.
Even though that reader feedback might be delayed, it’s highly valuable. It gives me the opportunity to target stories in a way that hopefully meets a reader’s interests, and to do my best to give readers a satisfying, enjoyable experience.
Even more than that, what I love about reader feedback is how generous so many are with their personal feelings. I’ve been honored with glimpses and images from people’s lives. One bedridden person thanked me for taking her outside of her situation. Her email brought tears to my eyes as I read it. I have also heard from male readers, from people who have stayed up late to finish a book despite the fact that they had to get up at 5:00 am the next morning to go to work, people for whom the only bright spot in a rotten day was that precious time at lunch when they could read while they took a break from work.
These stories mean a lot to me, because these readers have gone out of their way to get in contact with me. They didn’t have to. They wanted to, and that matters. Yes, I write for myself. Yes, my writing is a job. But there are other jobs in the world, and I’m also writing for you, the reader. When you tell me that I have somehow, in some small way touched your lives, I feel purpose. I feel happy.
Thank you, readers, so very much.
What stories have you read that have touched you deeply in some way? Remember, 5 randomly chosen commenters will win a free book, winners announced on Sunday – good luck!!!