If Readers Only Knew…..

Shirt This last weekend I attended the Kentucky Book Fair in Frankfort. It was a bittersweet affair.

These kind of events are exciting and fun but they can also be hard medicine. Most writers, including myself, tend to be introverts. But book fairs are not the place for that persona. You gotta be on, upbeat, happy, engaging. Unlike a book signing, the patrons are not there for just you. So you are constantly selling yourself, trying to capture in a few modest words how truly wonderful you believe your books are. I hate it. I really do. Because even when you give it your best shot, a lot of the time, people just nod and walk away. For introverts, it is absolutely crushing.

Don’t get me wrong. I was one of the fortunate ones and sold my fair share of books. I am also very blessed in that I am nationally published and carry the strength of a “Big Five” publishing house behind me along with great endorsements from half a dozen New York Times Best Selling Authors. But the vast majority of the writers there were self-published and, let me tell you, as much as I found the day challenging for me, my heart really went out to them. All around me were lovely people, doing their best to be energized and hopeful, trying to sell their stories to strangers. It’s hard ground and every reader is hard earned.

Furthermore…what makes it really difficult is that I know that hardly any of these writers made enough money off the book fair to even cover the expense of being there. You do it because you have to. You show up on the hope that maybe the twenty readers who bought your book to will each tell another five people and sales will multiply. Unfortunately, that rarely proves to be the case.

Writing is a rewarding endeavor, but it can drain your soul. This weekend I saw a lot of wonderful, talented people who spent the long hours to write, edit, re-write, then pay for publication, pay for artwork, pay for shipping, pay for advertising, build websites, post on social media, and pray for some break while constantly enduring one humiliating rejection after another… I saw them put on a happy face and do their best to tell an often disinterested world why their books are important. Yeah… you can sure bet my heart goes out to them.

SO, let me ask a favor.

One of the biggest things readers can do for a writer and/or a book they love is very simple… yet has a HUGE impact:

Write a one or two sentence review on Goodreads and/or Amazon. Or, mention the book on your FB page.

Trust me, it makes a significant difference. Social media is the greatest influencer on the book industry today…more than endorsements and more than advertising.

I brought home several books from writers whose work looked really promising and definitely plan to post reviews. I know it means a lot to them.

And sure, I would love for more readers to do this for my books…but I hope you would do this for any book you read. Even if you weren’t crazy about a book, give it a fair, short review. It helps the writer and it definitely helps prospective readers.

I have had a policy on this website of posting free Watervalley excerpts as a gift to readers. I’m comfortable with doing that. Not so much with asking favors in return. I hope you will consider it.

But in the end, even though many of us introverts are awkward communicators, it doesn’t mean we don’t want to hear from you.

We do!




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