I love books. I always have. My favorite authors are those who have the ability to transport me to their own world of imagination. However, I have a confession. As much as I have loved books, I never hugged an author before I became one myself.
Writing is tough. And the world of publishing is tougher. I’ve always appreciated the talent and skill it took to write a book, but I never understood the emotional element that goes along with being a writer. It is easy to get discouraged. Much of writing is accomplished through a writer’s own motivation and determination. I am sad to say that before, I never even let my favorite authors know that I enjoyed and appreciated their work. I just always seemed to expect to greedily devour the next book, and the next one after that, without even thinking of the person who worked hard to give me that meaning and enjoyment.
So how do you hug an author? You let him or her know that you enjoyed their book. There is nothing more motivating to an author, nothing that makes him or her want to work hard at writing that next book, than to know that readers enjoy his or her writing and are anxiously awaiting more.
Usually reviews on places like Amazon and Barnes and Noble are only written by two kinds of people: those who absolutely loved a product and those who hated it. Like I said before, I had never written a review before I wrote my first book. I guess I never bothered to take the five minutes worth or brain power to do it. Don’t get me wrong, as a reader, I always read the reviews on a book, but maybe I felt a little too conspicuous trying to write mine own. Everything had already been said, right? There were already plenty of good reviews, mine wouldn’t make a difference. I agree with one review and not the other, but I don’t actually have to say anything about it, right?
Writers read reviews. If you tell me what you liked or disliked about my books, I always take that into consideration when writing my next one. For instance, with my first book ‘Baggage Claim,’ I got a lot of comments on how people loved how exciting it was. I also got a few comments about how other people would have liked it to have a more overt Christian message. When writing the other two books in the series, I kept comments like that in mind. I made sure the plot stayed extremely suspenseful, but I also made sure the Christian story arc I had always intended was plain for the reader.
In the world of Amazon and Barnes and Noble, reviews make the world go round. A book’s ranking is based on sales and reviews. One of the most shocking things I discovered when entering publishing is that sometimes bad reviews and other methods are used to try to sabotage an author or a book. That’s yet another reason that it’s important to write reviews, especially if you truly enjoyed a book.
Now that I realize how important feedback and review are, I’d like to do whatever I can to help my favorite authors succeed and keep writing the books I love. Nowadays, most authors have websites, blogs, and / or Facebook pages. It is really easy to actually contact those authors you appreciate. Emails, friend requests, comments, questions, even ‘likes’ on Facebook and Amazon—feedback means so much. Authors tend to work in boxes. We don’t have coworkers; we only have our own overactive imaginations to keep us motivated and moving forward. There really is no way to express how motivating and touching it is for someone to let you know they enjoyed your book. Every new good review I get, every positive comment, still makes my heart leap for joy and my eyes tear up because I’m still so touched by the fact that someone read my book and liked it.
After my own experiences as an author, I now write reviews. I know the work it takes to produce a story that is well-done, thoroughly enjoyable, and possibly even touches me in some way. I think I would probably actually feel guilty if I read and loved a book but didn’t take the few minutes to provide some kind of feedback. I want my favorite authors to feel that hug from me as a reader. Because, in all honesty, who doesn’t need a hug every once in awhile?