You don't know me and I don't know you. You recently read one of my books and were kind enough to leave a review on Amazon or Goodreads or maybe both. And I want to thank you from the bottom of my heart. You see, I found your review by accident. I'm not one of those authors who trolls the book sites, seeking any new reviews I might have received.
Not that I don't care what my readers say; I do. Honestly. And I do read all my reviews. But I tend to check every week or two rather than daily or hourly like some authors I know. (In case you didn't already know this about us, most authors are pretty needy individuals. We pretend not to care, but, deep down, we crave input on our work like plants crave sunlight. Without it, we shrivel up and die.)
The fact that you took the time to write anything at all is usually enough for me. Readers often don't realize that, aside from giving a little bit of life to a struggling author with a few words in a comment box, reviews help struggling authors garner more sales. The more reviews a book has (no matter how many stars or what those reviews say), the higher the book appears in sales queues on Amazon and B&N. Many promotional companies authors hire to create more sales require a minimum number of reviews before they'll allow an author to sign on to use their products. Which is why you probably come across authors in social media often begging for reviews. We don't feel you "owe us a review." We need your review. Yes, we crave the feedback as I said. But it also helps us sell more books, which helps us pay our bills, and in some cases, convinces our families that this writing thing isn't just a lark and we can actually make some money, so we can keep writing more books for you to read. It's the publishing version of the Circle of Life.
But there's also something else, and this is where you, dear reader, affected me. Writers are, by nature, moody individuals. We tend to feel things more deeply than "normal" people. Our mood swings are legendary. Pity those who live with us. Six Flags' baddest roller coaster has nothing on us when it comes to ups and downs. On a good day, you might find us wandering the house in a caffeine-induced haze, mumbling to ourselves about an imaginary being who won't do what we want (that's a good day, folks!) and on a bad day, you'll see us curled up on the couch, tighter than a fist, weeping uncontrollably for no reason at all. And we can switch from a good day to a bad day at the speed of light.
But I digress.
You, dear reader, left a review on one of my books a day or two (or more) ago. And during one of those "bad day" moments, I found it. The day in question was a serious bad one: a day where I was questioning if I'd ever really succeed as a writer beyond my own little niche, if I was wasting my time and energy, and if I should give up as so many people would love to see me do. And your words touched me. Yes...that's right. Let me repeat that: Your words touched me.
I know what you're thinking. It's not supposed to go that way. I'm the writer. My stories touch your heart and what I write strikes a nerve with you. But the universe works in mysterious ways. By letting me (and the world) know that you enjoyed something I'd written, at a time when I was questioning my purpose, your simple few sentences that said, yes, I did bring you joy--even for a short while--gave me the strength to pick myself up, wash the streaming mascara off my face, and go back to the keyboard.
You are the reason I do this, dear reader. For you, I slice my heart into itty-bitty pieces and put it back together in words on the page. Over and over again. Book after book after book.
Thank you for taking the time to let me know it matters. Because your actions mattered to me.
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