Weekly Roundup 7-25-18 The power of reader feedback.

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

I received a delightful email from a reader this week! You may wonder why this is such a big deal, and to someone else it probably wouldn’t be. In almost a year’s time I have only received a handful of emails, despite encouraging my readers at every turn to contact me, and it makes my day every time.

I cannot speak for all Indy authors, but this one needs affirmation, encouragement, praise or plain old contact with another person. I want to know what they liked about one of my books or how it met a need or spoke to them personally. It boosts my spirits and motivates me to keep going amid the discouragements of life. It validates my efforts in the same way a stage performer feeds off audience applause.

Hearing directly from a reader is not the same as a review, which is usually addressed to fellow readers (unless the reviewer is particularly unhappy with the book!). When a stranger writes to me saying they enjoyed my work, it is humbling to know I made a positive difference in their life or at least provided some transitory enjoyment. Such powerful connections are a wondrous thing and should be celebrated!

Here’s the message I received from an 88-year-old gentleman from NY who appreciated my book Green’s Thumb.

“Hi! Just a note to tell you how much I enjoyed reading this particular book. Since my partner of 26 years died in 2009, I have become an avid reader of m/m romances. I did not meet the love of my life until I was 52, and just five years out of the closet, so am most appreciative of a novel that has more mature MCs. Most are in their 20s and 30s; okay, but not something with which I can easily identify any longer. So the story of Karl and Mitch was a great surprise and more to my taste. Even though I was never married, I identified with Mitch who was more my age when entering the relationship and suffered from the same inexperience. Thanks for this heartwarming story. I shall read it again.”

Wonderful! In my response, I shared that parts of the story were taken directly from my own life. It was great to see how the book meant something to him and met a need. I also told him I plan to include more silver characters in future stories, since older gay men are mostly ignored. The author of this email had no idea how much his simple communication would mean to me, probably assuming it was nothing special. Well, it was, and I am deeply appreciative.

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Update on current manuscript: Traitor’s Moon is gaining momentum! I’m part way through chapter five, having reached over 35,000 words. I’m having fun revealing more of Jack’s history, introducing new characters, and describing the drama surrounding Nolan and his mate. There’s so much more ahead for Gladstone, and I can’t wait to get it all written and to my readers. The feedback from early beta reading is very positive!

Weekly Roundup 7-18-18

Weekly Roundup is an update on what’s going on in my world. Welcome!

I’ve got so much going on in my head I don’t know whether I’m coming or going. This week has been particularly overwhelming and I wish I had some time off work to deal with everything!

  • Current manuscript – Traitor’s Moon is coming along, though not as fast as I would like. Word count is 30,000+ and I am almost finished with chapter four. I’ve been looking forward to writing this part of the story for quite a while, though it presented its own challenges which slowed me down. I’m looking forward to book 3 which I hope will be a bit less involved and complicated. We’ll see.
  • Book sales are still flat and I need to start building my email list. I now have MailPoet, but it  isn’t set up completely yet. Relying on forums to answer my questions is a waste of my time, especially when I am already paying for the service! I need to hire a tech-savvy assistant to do this kind of stuff for me.
  • I’ve been joking around with a co-worker about writing a custom short story with her as the heroine. We have a lot of fun laughing over possible titles and content, and I would really enjoy doing it – but no time! My current book gets the majority of my attention for the foreseeable future, and I can’t allow myself to be distracted. Easier said than done…
  • The countdown to my move across country is getting close now – only a couple of months! It’s going to mean a major interruption in my writing, of course, and I hate the thought of losing momentum. It will push the release date out further too, but it can’t be helped. Meanwhile I have to start packing and make arrangements. There’s a lot to do!
  • I read a blog post this week in which the author suggested traveling to the places you write about. In some ways that would be cool, but then I decided it would punch too many holes in my imagined world. My current series is set in Michigan’s upper peninsula, which is someplace I have never been. I use maps and Google to get the info I need and base the story on real names, places, and facts, but add my own details when necessary. Actually traveling there (while I’m writing the books) wouldn’t be a good idea, as I would begin to doubt everything I’ve already written! Perhaps I’ll visit after the series is complete.
  • This week I started re-reading a quirky series from a few years back: Ganymede Quartet, by Darrah Glass. The basic premise involves a forbidden gay romance between a rich teen and his personal slave. The whole thing is fascinating and disturbing and difficult to put down. The biggest disappointment is that the author never really finished, leaving her readers hanging without some kind of resolution or addressing the important questions the MC has about his life and future. Still, if you want something different, this series might fit the bill! Get it HERE.