*My* Readers

It’s every author’s dream to connect with their readers…the ones who “get” them, love their story, and are transported to a different place and time, away from the problems and cares of their life; readers who are dying to read the next book whether it’s been published or not.

But finding those readers isn’t as easy as one would hope.

Publishing a book is a bit like sending a child off to kindergarden, although it also has similarities with tossing manuscript pages into the wind. You can do your best–by having it edited for content and grammar, giving it a great cover, and an excellent blurb. You can light candles, take out advertising, blog-hop, have launch parties–online and off. But none of that guarantees that the book will fall into the right hands. Especially not in today’s incredibly full marketplace with traditional publications and indie publications all vying for attention.

Although I have participated in them, free promotions seem to be a particularly difficult way to find one’s readership since some people will take advantage of any free book (those are the reviews that start: I don’t usually read books like this…) and some people never do.

I admit that I have not exactly been able to find my readers. Although I do feel like I’m getting close, and by that I mean I have found some of them. (Waves!)

And I’m finally beginning to understand the importance of branding. Although it sounds terribly painful, it’s supposed to ease the connection between the consumer and the provider by making what is offered completely accessible, traditionally by a logo or a slogan. Since writer’s products are composed of words, it tends to be a slogan. I’ve come to realize my slogan is:

Richly Textured Historical Romance

Interesting–and obvious–when I think about it. I have always been captivated by textures. When I used to sew for a living and bought fabric it not only had to look good, but I always walked through fabric stores fondling every bolt that I liked and if it didn’t feel right I didn’t buy it. One of the things I love about history is that each time and place has unique sights, smells, sounds, and tastes.

Having a brand with only the one book out is not an easy thing to do. Unless one hits it big out the gate (a notable example is my critique partner Lisa Valdez and her first book, Passion) making an impression is usually done over the course of several books.

Trust me, I’m working on them. The Unsuitable Earl is coming along, just not as rapidly as I would like. It’s going to be a smashing good book when it’s done. And now there’s a third book for my Restoration series that is begging to be written. Soon, I’ll have a series title for the three of them.

Meanwhile, it turns out that like many authors, the best way for me to connect with my readers is word of mouth. So, if you liked my first book, I’d appreciate it if you would tell someone about it if you think they would also like it. In both the short and the long run, finding one’s readers takes help.