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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Post Release Post #2: Readers


So now it's been almost two months since my book came out. It has been a crazy whirlwind.  I have to say that the strangest part about having your book published is this:  everyone you know reads it.  And I do mean every one.

People you never thought would read it--they read it.  People who are self-professed non-readers?  They read it.  People who haven't read a book in 10 years?  They read it.  Your 82 year old grandmother?  Yeah, she reads it.  The gaggle of aunts you have who are the sweetest, kindest, most decent human beings you've ever known in your life who you're certain will be scarred for life by the more disturbing scenes in your psychological thriller?  They read it.  All your writer friends?  They read it.  Your friends from grade school?  They read it.  Your friends from high school?  They read it. Your friends from college?  They read it.  Former work colleagues?  They read it.  Neighbors?  They read it.  Your boss?  He reads it.  Your dentist?  She reads it.  Your accountant?  He reads it.  Your fifth grade teacher?  She reads it.

The list goes on and on.

Even your brother and sister-in-law's dog, apparently,  reads it!


This.  Is.  Amazing.  And somewhat nerve-wracking at times!

First let me say that I'm ridiculously flattered and humbled by the response I've gotten from people who actually know me (or know people I know).  My family and friends and friends of friends and neighbors and people I run into at the bank and the doctor's office and the store. . .  have been so enthusiastic, so incredible, so . . . I don't really have words.  They've made this already exciting time about a million times more exciting.  Thank you to all of you!  What is so awesome is that people have taken time out of their lives to spend hours reading something that I've written.  That is so freaking cool!

So because my family and friends are so awesome, they all bought paperbacks and many of them bought paperbacks to gift to coworkers and friends.  So for the first few weeks, almost on a daily basis, I would get an email or text or FB message saying, "I'm on chapter 24" or "I'm on chapter 11" and I'd have to rush over to the end table and flip furiously through the pages of my book to see just where they were.  I honestly have no concept of the chapters.  I only know the order of the plot.  So if I'm not near my book and can't flip to the chapter, I have to say, "Well, what just happened?" and then I know whether they've already gotten to the most disturbing stuff or not!



All right, so if you've read my book or followed my blog for any length of time then you know that my book is not for the faint of heart.  It is dark, gritty and violent.  Lucky for me, I've had almost a decade to get comfortable with my book and what's in it.  Given what real life children in Claire's situation go through, I did not and do not believe there was any other way to tell this story.  I don't think you can tell this story without writing about the violence these children experience.  Would you write a book about a Prisoner of War's experience in captivity and never once speak of what he endured?  I don't think so.  But that's a post for another time.  My point here is that the book is disturbing in parts and while I believe in my book, I was very nervous about certain people reading it--like my grandmother and the gaggle of sweet aunts!

So far, almost everyone I know who has read it is still speaking to me.  The sweet aunts?  The ones who have read it so far have had good things to say.  My 82 year old grandmother?  She loved it!

I get a lot of different responses.  Some people are very enthusiastic and want to discuss the intricacies of the plot and talk about the characters at length.  They're upset and angry that the book is over.  They gift it or vigorously recommend it to everyone else they know.  I think these are the people who enjoyed it the most.

Then there are people who have a lot of great things to say about it and are also very enthusiastic and will recommend the book to others.



Then there are people I think maybe didn't like it all that much--or even hated it--but won't come right out and say it.  These are people who were in the middle of it a few weeks ago and have not spoken of it since.  Or people who say only, "I read it."  Or people who say with a tight smile, "I read it.  It was good."  It must be difficult.  Certainly I've been in the awkward position before of having read something I didn't like or didn't connect with and not wanted to hurt the writer's feelings.  It's that whole if-you-don't-have-anything-nice-to-say-don't-say-anything-at-all thing.  But I know that not everything is for everyone, and I appreciate that people have taken time from their busy lives to read my book--even if it isn't their cup of tea.  There are even people who have told me they couldn't finish it because of the subject matter.  And that's fine with me.  Kind of like how I could never watch The Sopranos because the type of violence portrayed (visually) was too graphic for me.  I'm fine with that.  If I wanted to write something that anyone could read, I would have written a children's book.

Fortunately for me, thus far, the amount of positive reader response has far, far, far outweighed the lukewarm responses which is really awesome.

What has been really cool is that literally not one day has gone by without me getting some kind of message--an email, Facebook message, Tweet, text, etc.--from a reader saying something positive.  One day I got five messages all within a few hours of each other.  Needless to say, I was on Cloud 9.  Just last week I got a beautiful email from a reader who connected with the book on a personal level, and that was very gratifying.

In fact, the reader response thus far has been doubly gratifying to me since it took me almost a decade to get this book into their hands.

Next time, I'll talk about the dreaded reviews!  And after that . . . FAQs and after that . . . I'm considering a post on misconceptions of the newbie author's life.  Stay tuned and THANK YOU for stopping by!

A friend of a relative

18 comments:

  1. Umm, so...you think maybe you can adopt me into your family? I'd like to have all those friends & family members read my book the way your family reads yours! I'd say you're lucky, but that's not it. It's that you're talented & skilled & incredibly awesome at what you do, tell a story, even at its grittiest, dirtiest, most violent moments. Your fans are a testament to all your hard work & tenacity to see this book published. You deserve it all. And SO much more!

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  2. Just keep writing what you feel and don't worry about what family thinks. Wait to my Southern Baptist peeps get their hands on 12:19...OMG lol

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  3. Yeah, all my friends and family didn't buy my first book. Even less purchased the second one. (I think they were distressed I'd actually produced more than one.) And my book is clean and suitable for young people. Of course, it's THAT genre - science fiction.
    Oh, and to this day, my mother has never read either of my books. She buys them and my father reads them, but that's it. (She hates science fiction.)
    Yes, please share your friends and family.

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  4. Awesome post, Lisa! That's great you've been getting postive responses from your family and friends!

    I still have to read it :( I know though it's gonna be a great book!

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  5. I read it, and I loved it! Still sitting on my nightstand for me to read my favorite parts before bed :)

    But I so know what you mean. I got an email the other day from my tax guy's wife, saying she loved my book. And I had a bit of a freak out because I swore she was a bit... conservative and well, my book... yeah. But apparently I was wrong! LOL.

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  6. Hmmm . . . maybe Philadelphia DOES have love for writers after all! :)

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  7. Um, hello, rock star. :D

    Seriously, that's so cool! I keep telling my family and friends, "Feel free to buy it and never read it. Use it to level your dining room table or something. How about a door stop?" LOL

    Romance is a little awkward...

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  8. The good news about all those people reading is that they've (hopefully) all bought it! Congratulations on the positive responses you've been getting. I'm sure that gives you a great boost as you work on Aberration.

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  9. Hey, those eighty two year old grandmas will surprise you. They've seen a lot of life.

    What a great experience you're having with your first release. And great perspective, too. Of course not every book is going to be for everybody. I think the phonebook is the only one that can do that. But if you're lucky enough to have pleased more people than not, you're doing great. I thought it was a wonderful read. :))

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  10. Dude, you deserve every reader you have. You've converted many people into fans. I'm one for sure!!

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  11. I love reading this, because as terrified as I am that no one will buy my book, I'm also scared that all the people I know will read it. It's not violent, but I work with a lot of religious people who have no idea I write explicit scenes in my romance novels.

    I'm also *very* curious to hear how the reviews thing is going. But then again, you wrote a fantastic book (I devoured it in one day), so...

    It's so great to hear about this process for you - please keep sharing ^_^

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  12. Well, I thoroughly enjoyed your book. It has been one of few that has stayed with me long after I finished reading it. ;)

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  13. I always love releasing books because readers are so excited about it -more than us writers, I think. I'll definitely check out your book and add it to my "to read" pile.
    I think it's amazing you've had such positive feedback with readers. Too bad out of the many people reading my book I have yet to convince my boyfriend.... But I will eventually *evil laugh* ;)

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  14. What a lovely post, it is so interesting to hear about your experience with everyone reading it - and glad your gran enjoyed! :)

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  15. and yet i still worry. you are giving the best case scenario! i can only hope for such positive responses! and congrats on your top 20 ranking!

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  16. My *eep* moment was when the book club at my church read my book. I couldn't help but squirm...what did they think when they hit the love scene (sure it's tasteful and all, but still it's S E X)...they laughed and assured me, "Honey, we all have kids and we know how it happened."

    But still. I get what you're saying!

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  17. This is a really amazing post. I enjoyed reading this a lot!

    www.modernworld4.blogspot.com

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  18. This must be so very encouraging to you as a writer -- I hope the same thing happens when my book comes out :)

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