Whenever I tell someone I’m a writer, and they show genuine interest towards my “profession,” I end up telling them about all the cool e-mails I get from people. Or about the reviews my books get. Or this or that comment.
You know, there are good days and bad days. There are days when you don’t feel like writing, or days that you simply don’t want to write. But your readers are what’s most important, what keeps you going, what makes you feel like a writer even during those bad days.
And I think this is the big change we’ve seen recently, the reason why self-publishing has become such a viable option: we can now interact with our readers in a myriad of different ways. Social media is not a get rich quick scheme, is just the best way to find readers, or for those readers to find you.
It didn’t use to be this personal. Think of a time before the Internet, before all these cool social networks. Before blogging.
But now, you can send an e-mail to any writer you’d want. You can comment on his or hers blog, and you might even get a reply. You get to know these people, which in turn enables writers to build connections with readers.
It’s become quite personal.
I honestly believe that without his readers, a writer isn’t much of a writer. And it’s not about numbers, about some statistic, it’s about the way he treats his readers. I read every comment and every e-mail I receive. I do my best to reply, but sometimes there’s nothing I can add to the conversation, so I chose not to write some generic reply, like “Thank you for your comment.”
And I think that it doesn’t matter if you’re self-published, traditionally published, or just writing on a blog.
You have to treat your readers with respect. Because, at the end of the day, they’re the ones who encourage you to write more, to write better.
That’s something money can’t buy. Appreciation, admiration, however you want to call it. That feeling you get when someone tells you that you’ve somehow inspired them. Or given them strength to carry on. It’s a feeling that can’t be described or analyzed.
I once wrote that, “Writing isn’t easy because you have to relieve the most painful moments of your life, over and over again, and then you have to write them down, hoping that they’ll matter to someone else other than yourself.”