This tweet from accomplished improv musician Stan Stewart (@muz4now), a faithful reader of "Dear Alderone," got me thinking. Since September, I've been serializing "Dear Alderone" online. It's a middle-grade novel, which means that its target audience is tweens. It features two 14-year old female protagonists bonded by blood, separated by several decades, connected by crisis.
I wrote a story I wanted to tell: a story that I would have liked reading when I was 14. But you know what? I'm not picky at all about who reads or -- perhaps more importantly -- who likes it.
The wonderful thing about words on a page (or screen) is that they are equal-opportunity communicators, readily conveying their information to anyone willing to decipher them.
"Noooooo!" I wanted to yell as the books came off of my daughter's bookshelf--
...to be instantly rehomed in mine. Skippyjon stays.
Here's a little-known writer's secret:
Anyone who loves what I write is my intended audience.
Here's another one:
Nothing makes a writer's day like hearing from someone who appreciates a good story.
If you are a rabid reader of an author's work, it doesn't matter whether or not you are in the publisher's target market. Want to really make a writer's day? Some simple ways to spread the love:
* Tweet 'em up. Whether or not the writer is on Twitter, compose a tweet personally recommending your favorite read to your followers. For the cherry on top, add the #amreading hashtag.
* Blog About It. If you have a blog, dedicate a post to a book, series, or writer you like. Google loves that kind of stuff almost as much as authors do.
* Keep the Comments Coming. If the writer has a blog, drop a short comment stating how much you enjoyed a particular book / story / article. It's not that we're pathetic or emotionally needy. (Ok: Some of us are.) It's just that most writers get more than enough negative feedback. For some reason, the people who *don't* like what we do have no problem telling us. I mean: name one other business that names the vast majority of its missives "rejections." You have no idea what a supportive comment praising one's work can do to boost the creative muse.
* Share and Enjoy. Like a book? Talk it up. Then lend it to a friend, so that person can help you spread the word. In fact, you could start a kickass trend by purchasing a physical copy of your favorite paperback, inscribing something like "I liked this book so much I wanted to share it with the world. Read it. Enjoy it. Then, when you're done, leave it in a public place for someone else to discover!" and leaving it behind in a coffeeshop, or a bus stop, or a train station, or a doctor's office, or... You get the picture.
So here's to all the dedicated readers out there. It doesn't matter whether or not you are in the segment of the population to whom a book is marketed. It's not about the marketing; it's about the reading!