For many, 2009 has been a difficult year. Now more than ever am I thankful for the things most seem to have taken for granted in recent years.
This year more than any other I’ve heard authors thank their readers for choosing to spend $8-15 dollars on a paperback when they might need it for something more important. While working at a local bookstore, it occurred to me as the year progressed that hardbacks are dying off. People, even those staunch collectors of hardbacks, were forgoing the pristine hardcover for their shelf and reaching for the paperback edition. It seems a shorter time period lapsesbetween hardback and paperback release, and once the paperbacks arrive all but one copy of the title in hardback remains on the shelf. It is obvious that more people are struggling. So it’s all the more humbling to still see them coming into the bookstore and buying their favorite authors just as they did before.
It struck me this year that without readers where would we be, really? The recession has been kind especially to romance writers and we can only hope to give readers the satisfying happy ending they keep coming back for. There’s nothing more rewarding than a fan letter in my inbox. This year, I was honored by an invitation to join a readers’ luncheon booksigning to which I heartily agreed. The speakers addressed readers’ support and spoke for every author in attendance when they said that the readers make the romance genre worthwhile and thanked them profoundly for keeping us in business.
While signing books later in the afternoon, I overheard another author in attendance complaining about a previous signing’s line being too long and that she was exhausted by the end of it and glad to get it over with. I couldn’t believe my ears. It bothered me that this person didn’t sound the least bit grateful for the support of her readers. It shouldn’t matter how tired we are. In today’s market, we should be happy they wanted to see us, shake our hand, exchange a few words, and spend hard-earned money to continue to support us. Reader loyalty is a powerful thing and drives the romance market above all others. Writing the story is only half the job. Making ourselves available to the readers, whether online or in person, is equally important. I hope my readers know how much they are appreciated, how often I stop and reflect on their impact on my work. This Thanksgiving, above all else, I’m thankful for the continued support from readers. Without you, I would be nowhere. I would have given up on my dreams a long time ago. I can only hope to give back everything you’ve given me!