Collecting Readers

When my first novel was published, it was before the age of social media. Not that long ago, really. I didn’t hear much from readers directly. My publisher was a middle-man. I did get forwarded a letter or two, but that took a long time. It took a while to answer, too. And I had an option of whether to engage or not.

Now I hear from readers directly and immediately.

Like, “I couldn’t put it down.”

“Do you think that ritual in the end of Beneath the Hallowed Hill would actually work?”

That one stumped me.

This appeared on my Facebook page recently: “Like The Star Family? I LOVED this book! I could not have asked for more of my interests in one novel. Religion, sexuality, green energy, big oil, sacred geometry, chemtrails, ley lines, aliens, physics, trafficking, the Koch bros, ancient technology, and don’t get me started on the MUSIC! I could hear every note and each nuance. I completely related to Jane, wise yet naive, a pillar of strength and still fragile. If I didn’t have an enormous backlog of books waiting to be read, I’d read it all over again.”

Be still my heart. Thank you, Jennifer Knotsmed.

Or “Your new novel is great. When’s the next one coming out?”

I want to say, “Can’t I just lie here in a heap for a day or two to recover before you ask me that?” What a compliment, though.

Mostly I hear about my readers’ pets, what other books they’re reading, how their day is going. I learn a bit about their world views—all courtesy of Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and Instagram.

The divisions have been removed. Most writers are no longer those mysterious beings who sit in their rooms and spin out their web of words so mysteriously like the Lady of Shallot. We’re present, visible, warts and all.

Is this a good thing? Have we lost anything? We’ve certainly gained the joys of hearing from more readers.

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Author: Theresa Crater

Award-winning author Theresa Crater brings ancient temples, lost civilizations and secret societies back to life in her visionary fiction. In The Star Family, a Gothic mansion holds a secret spiritual group and a 400-year-old ritual that must be completed to save the day. The shadow government search for ancient Atlantean weapons in the fabled Hall of Records in Under the Stone Paw and fight to control ancient crystals sunk beneath the sea in Beneath the Hallowed Hill. Her short stories explore ancient myth brought into the present day. The most recent include “The Judgment of Osiris” and “Bringing the Waters.” Theresa has also published poetry and a baker’s dozen of literary criticism. Currently, she teaches writing and British lit in Denver.

8 thoughts on “Collecting Readers”

  1. I think in general it’s a good thing. I love being about to reach out and say, “Wow, this book was awesome. Thank you!” And the best writers extend their gratitude that the reader has invested time and money in their work.

  2. You’re right–things have changed so much with social media. As a reader, I am always interested in what my favorite authors have to say.

    But I wonder if any writers sometimes feel torn between wanting to engage with readers and needing to go, you know, write!? 🙂

  3. I think it’s wonderful that readers can connect with authors! That’s fantastic, Theresa, that you’ve had such awesome feedback!

  4. Wow, such a great (and deserved!) review! What a fantastic thing to find posted to your FB wall.

    You’re absolutely right that the walls are down, but it’s a bit of a flip, now, isn’t it? I find myself wondering, do reviewers want to know that I read their review? Should I thank them or just smile to myself and move on?

  5. Thanks for all your comments.

    Yes, Cynthia, sometimes we have to carefully protect our time so we can write. On those NaNo events, they suggest all the places we can talk to each other and I wonder how we can then write a novel.

    Right, Diane. Do we thank reviewers or is that too much? I’d like to let them say whatever they say and move along — unless it’s posted on my wall. Then I feel a response is appropriate. .

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