Guest Blog – A Fan Letter to Readers from Chantal Noordeloos
*coughs* ehm… okay, that’s utter nonsense, sorry about that. I went for a nice dramatic opening… artistic license and all that.
First of all, I don’t think Romeo and Juliette are all that romantic. They were very young, barely knew each other, and if my memory serves me correct, Romeo was trying to get it on with some other bird first. Also… it resulted in unnecessary death, which sounds rather foolish to me.
But I digress. What I’m trying to say, in my own rather clumsy manner, is that readers are very important to the author. We’re always telling each other that we need to write for ourselves, but we don’t really… we write for an imaginative audience.
I have recently released my first full length novel. A horror book called Angel Manor, through Horrific Tales Publishing. This meant I had to do that which I dread most: get my book noticed. It really got me to think about readers, and how absolutely vital they are to writers; we can’t live without them. The same way that readers can’t be readers without writers, writers are really not worth much without readers.
Finding an audience is a challenge for us. Unless we’ve broken through and have made our claim to fame, the writers have an ongoing quest to search for the holy grail: their readers.
We’re a funny lot, authors, most of us (not me) are introverts who prefer to stay well away from the public eye. Yet at the same time, we want our books to be read by millions. Not just for the money, mind you. Though getting paid for… you know… work… is quite pleasant. We really want readers because they breathe life into our stories and our worlds. A story is a flat entity until it gets an audience. Look at what the readers of Harry Potter have done. Without his public, he wouldn’t be what he is today. There would be no theme parks, no movies, no merchandise, nothing. Just words on a page that no one has read.
That wasn’t JK Rowling who created the hype. If we writers had that power, all our books would have their own theme parks *sits back and fantasizes about Coyote world* and movies. It’s the fans that make all this magic happen. Their combined love for a book can move mountains.
We writers dream about readers. We talk to them in our work, hope to seduce them, lure them into our realities, and we want them to love us. We have a bit of an exhibitionistic streak in us. Not that we’ll end up flashing people our naughty parts (some might, but most of us prefer to stay fully dressed), but we like to ‘flash’ our minds. One could argue that that’s a naughty part too *cheeky grin*.
Unfortunately not all readers are kind to us. There are a good many Trolls out there who would quite happily destroy the career of a budding author, for whatever reason. We fear those readers. Writers whisper about them, the way children will talk about the monster under the bed. All of us know that not every reader can like your work, and we’re prepared for the one and two star reviews, they are a part of life. But on occasion you get that one star review that makes no sense, or that is just spiteful. One of my author friends has been openly attacked for having a racist character in his horror book.
Just because we write bad characters, doesn’t mean we’re bad people. It’s painful to be called names by strangers. Most of us take it to heart; we’re often extremely sensitive souls, we creative weirdos.
Authors thrive on reviews, they get us through the darker parts of the creative process. Writing can be a lonely process, and a review can make you feel very loved, or at the very least noticed. Plus they are vital, they actually help us make more sales. The best way to help us build our careers is to talk about us, recommend our work. This is what keeps us sold and keeps us sane. Luckily most readers understand this. It’s difficult to get people to write reviews, so when they do, we tend to be very grateful. I have to admit, there have been a few reviews that have made me cry happy tears. In fact, whenever I’m feeling a bit blue, I read those again. It’s like reading a love letter. They are a testimony of my words touching another human soul out there, and it’s magical.
So, in light of all these wonderful readers, I want to write a little fan letter. I know it’s usually the reader who writes to the writer, but I thought I would mix it up a little.
I’ve been a fan of yours ever since I started writing. Though we’ve never met, I actually feel very close to you. We share something, an understanding of the world I created in my books. That’s pretty special to me.
Your kind / honest review has really made an impact on me, and I was thrilled to read it. I love that you made the time to give me your opinion on my work. That was pretty awesome.
I have to admit, I think about you a lot. Know that whatever I write, it’s all for you. I long for your approval. Nothing makes me happier than you smiling, crying, or gasping with horror when you read my work. If my words can reach you, can make you think or just provide you with some pleasant entertainment… I feel more fulfilled.
Thank you for existing, dear reader. You are so very special to me, and I feel a deep admiration for you.