Dear Reader:

I do this for you.

Okay, well that may be a little bit wrong because I don’t just do it for you, I do it for me too.  You see, a writer is a writer not because of any aspirations of being rich and famous but because it’s necessary.

Have you experienced those nights when you’ve lain in bed for hours, tossing and turning, because you can’t stop thinking of your to-do list?  You didn’t feed the cat/wash the car/pay the rent/knit a sweater for Great-Aunt Mopsie? This sensation is what it is like to be a writer.

The stories take over.  They pile up, gaining life and color inside my head until I might explode if I don’t write them down.  A couple of months later, I’m looking at a finished manuscript; a story that I slaved over, oozing blood, sweat, and tears while I alienated my family and friends to create it.

Indie publishing gives writers like me an opportunity to put those stories to you, the reader, where you can find them and either love them or hate them–because, let’s be honest here…Books are subjective.  While one girlie may rave about how much of a masterpiece my novel is, another may delete it from her Kindle never for-to-see again while telling everyone she knows that I’m a useless hack.  This is the nature of a human being’s mind; we are all individual, with individual tastes.

But, do you really know who we are, behind the scenes?  I have a full time job.  I work forty hours a week, 11 pm to 7 am, as a 911 dispatcher.  I sleep all day, and try to make time to see my friends and family whenever it is possible.  When you tack on the forty hours a week I try to spend writing, you’re looking at a girl who has no life–simply because writing is my passion.  My need.  It’s not just me, either, most writers aren’t making a living off their writing; they’re working full time careers outside of it.

No matter what happens, I will continue to write.  How could I not?  I’d be lying in bed/sitting at work/driving my car into telephone poles as I attempted to push away the stories that build inside me.  I am a happier, healthier person when I’m writing (as long as I remember to shower and eat).

So, think of me as a person, not just a name on a book cover.  Not just me, either, but every author out there.  Did you know Jennifer Crusie has a flock of dogs?  Did you know Laurell K Hamilton isn’t Christian?  Traditionally published or indie published, we are actual humans behind the scenes, with wants, desires, and needs.  There is a person behind that name and tagline.

So, if you read a novel and you love it, why would you not leave a review?  Now, I’m not saying slap four stars on it and run, I’m speaking of a simple few lines to let the author know why you loved it.  Or even why you hated it! Whether you decide my book is worth 5 stars or 1, it doesn’t matter.

Because we are people; we want to know.

If you’ve left two stars on a novel and no review, how will I or other readers know that your two star rating was simply because you were turned off by the Pagan themes in my book?  That is completely understandable!  You have every right to rate and review a book based on your opinion because your time and opinion matter. But, have you considered your 2 star rating (without a review) tells other readers the quality of writing in the book is terrible?  It tells me you think I’m a terrible writer, when maybe that’s not the case…it’s just, my book wasn’t right for you.

Remember…books are subjective.

But, if you leave a review, 2 stars “There are a lot of Pagan themes in this book and I’m just not into that.  But, the writing’s okay, someone else might enjoy it.”  It shows other readers that I might be worth a try; and it shows me what you don’t like instead of leaving me guessing at where I went wrong.

I guess the truth I’m trying to get out there is that reviews aren’t meant solely to help other readers decide whether to buy a book or not.  Reviews, even just a simple line or two, help a writer understand what she needs to do better or what’s she’s already doing right.  Because an author can grow–this is not a stagnant career where talent cannot be formed from mediocrity.  Every bit of criticism or praise is a stepping stone on our journey to be the best we can be.  Just leaving 3 stars and running doesn’t help us; it only leaves us wondering, where did I go wrong?  How can I make it better??

I would never berate a reader for leaving me a bad review.

The very fact you purchased my book and spent your time reading it means the world to me.  If you felt my novel wasted an hour of your life, then it did!  And that’s okay to feel, because believe me, I’ve felt that way before too.  Indie authors understand that YOU are the cornerstone upon which we stand.  You are the gold, our raison d’etre.  Your time matters; and so does your review, whether it’s 1 star or 5.  What you have to say is important to me.

I want to interact with my readers.  I want to know you, the way I want you to know me.  I’ll share all of my likes, dislikes, my opinions, my knowledge, everything I possibly have to tell you from the color of my underwear to the names of my pet chickens, I would scream from the rooftops if only you ask.

So when you read my books, will you share with me too?

Sincerest Blessings and Hugs,

An Author