Where would I be without my readers?
Writers have the urge, passion or vocation to write. But if no one reads our work, what would that mean? Would we still have the incentive to write the romance, the mystery, the fantasy plot?
After I sold my first book in 1991, I didn't know much about marketing and sales. But I had been involved in retail in a department store, in a jewelry store, in Home Interiors and Gifts. Basically, I knew you built a customer base by one satisfied customer at a time. That's how I approached selling books. My first intention was to write an emotional book readers would want to put on their keeper shelves. But then what?
My first publisher did its authors a wonderful service. They gave us 1000 books! Fortunately, my first few books had local settings. I contacted distributors in the surrounding area and they agreed to distribute to local stores. I was on my way. These stores liked the idea of book signings to sell books. Every time I appeared at a book signing, I took along a guest book. Readers who signed were the basis for my mailing list.
I started writing for a second publisher and each year, I had about three book signings. I also began receiving reader mail. Every time a new book was released, I notified my readers with a post card.
Let's move ahead twenty years. I still use that snail mail list about once a year. But now I have contact with my readers through my website, my e-zine, Facebook, Twitter and e-mail. Not so different really, except now I'm probably more accessible than I've ever been. And interacting takes more time than it ever has.
My readers have been so loyal over the years. They've supported me by buying my books and that's why I like to have contact with them. I enjoy hearing about which hero or heroine they like best, about how they enjoy the setting. But I especially like to know how my books relate to their lives.
ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE, my October Samhain retro release was my first to generate heartfelt reader mail. I received letters from women who had port wine stains or could relate to Abigail's feelings of rejection when she was a child because she was different. When some of my readers learned ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE would be republished in e-book form, I received mail that said they were so pleased they could read this novel again in this different way.
ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE was and still is a book of my heart. I hope you enjoy it for the first or second time around. Thank you for becoming one of my readers. Thank you for returning book after book to try my newest release.
from ABIGAIL AND MISTLETOE:
"Brady, I need to tell you something. I—"
He brought her tighter against him on the small dance floor. "You feel so good in my arms."
His voice floated around her, caressing her as his green eyes had. A voice whispered, Tell him, but a louder voice said, A little more time won't matter. Take this moment and hold on to it.
He brought her hand to his chest and smoothed his thumb over her knuckles. "What did you want to tell me?"
His hand on her back scorched through her sweater.
His thumb on her hand created a rippling pleasure throughout her body.
His shirt under her fingers, the scent of clean soap, his beard almost brushing her chin intoxicated her. "Nothing. Not now." His nose grazed hers as he murmured, "Good thinking." He dropped the lightest of kisses on her lips, locked his hands at her back waist, and pulled her flush against him. All the air whooshed from her lungs as she laid her cheek against his shoulder and let his thighs guide their movement. His lips brushed her ear and a shiver zipped up her spine. He must have felt it because he whispered into her ear, "You're a very sensual woman, Abigail Fox."
She lifted her head. "Are you trying to seduce me?" Amusement mixed with passion in his deep green eyes. "Here? In the midst of this crowd?"
Several other couples had joined them on the dance floor, and most of the tables were filled. She wrinkled her nose at him. "I think I accepted a date with a wolf in sheep's clothing."
His amusement faded away. "My intentions are obvious. I want you. I'm not pretending differently."
His primal message was clear, and heat flashed through her. She turned her head and again laid her cheek against his shoulder. The music lulled her, but his hard chest against her breasts, his hips against hers, his arousal, which he didn't try to hide, excited her. Everything about Brady was controlled, restrained. Picturing what could happen if he unleashed his desire should make her run away from him, not toward him. But in a sense she'd been running since Stan had rejected her. It was time to stand her ground and meet her own needs as well as Brady's head-on.
Her needs dictated that she should be more cautious this time, listen to her intuition, but let common sense count, too. And her common sense told her it was too soon to fall in love.
Award-winning and best-selling author Karen Rose Smith will see her 80th novel published in 2013. She writes happily-ever-after relationship romances about love's power to heal. Relationships will also be the basis for her mystery series about a home stager sleuth beginning next year.
One lucky reader who comments on my blog will be randomly selected to win ABIGAIL & MISTLETOE. Good luck!