I've been thinking this week about the importance of the reader in a writer's life.
With my debut novel less than six months from release, I keep thinking, "who will buy my book?" Family, assuredly. Friends, hopefully. Colleagues, perhaps. But what about those people who don't know me who would much rather spend their hard earned dollars on a known quantity, (i.e., an author they already enjoy). With readers, I guess it's a leap of faith when a debut author is involved.
A month ago I began running a drawing on my website for a free ARC (advance reader copy) of my novel. I thought, "5 people will enter, and I'll send something to everyone who showed interest." To date, I've had over 100 people enter, so now I'm planning to have 1 ARC winner, plus I'm trying to decide what I can do for all the other entrants on my small promotional budget. Anyone who expresses interest in "Fire at Midnight" at this stage has earned my lasting gratitude and a permanent place on my mailing list (unless they ask to be removed). I've read every comment form and savored the encouraging comments from people who don't know me and have yet to read my work. That's why I've been thinking about how very important readers are to writers.
I've come across some fabulous quotes from writers far more talented than I on the topic of the relationship between readers and writers, and I'm going to post a few here because they're worthy of sharing:
"Readers, after all, are making the world with you. You give them the materials, but it's the readers who build that world in their own minds."--Ursula Le Guin
"Story is to human beings what the pearl is to the oyster." --Joseph Gold
"The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it live: a live thing, a story."-- Ursula K. Le Guin
Happy reading and writing.