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.