I belong to a bunch of Facebook groups that are related to writing in general, reading/writing romance, or specifically male/male romance. Some of the groups are discussion only; one doesn’t even permit authors to identify themselves as authors, partly so readers will freely discuss their opinions and partly to avoid becoming yet another group that’s all promotion all the time. (Unfortunately, even groups with the best of intentions sometimes turn into just a bunch of authors and assistants shouting ads at each other…)
Some of the groups I’m in allow authors to promote their books only on certain days of the week or only when the group admins announce that promo is permitted. In two of those groups this past week, I posted things promoting books in my Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series.
And on each of those posts, someone commented saying how much they love the series!
I’ve had readers tell me they enjoy the books, but the readers I usually hear from are people I know personally or have known online for a long time. In one of the cases this past week, it was someone I didn’t know at all; the other commenter was someone who has reviewed all three of the currently-released RWDEM books and said she can’t wait for the next one.
Can I just say how amazing it feels to have readers tell me they like my books? How amazing it feels to know that people are *reading* them?
About six months ago, I had an experience that I still pull out of my mental filing cabinet when I feel discouraged. In my non-writing life, I’m a rideshare driver; it’s how I support my writing habit. I had a passenger one day back in September-ish who asked me what I do when I’m not driving, and I told her I’m an author. She asked me what I wrote, and I gave her a one-sentence overview of the Real Werewolves Don’t Eat Meat series. (At the time, I had only rereleased Salad on the Side and Veggie Burgers to Go, along with the two related hetero romances.) Sounding excited, she asked me for my pen name; I glanced in the rearview and saw that she had her phone out, presumably looking me up on Amazon, so I gave her the name…
…And she stared at her phone, then said, “Oh, my gosh, I just read one of your books!” She went on to tell me she loved Salad on the Side and thought Kyle was an awesome character.
I think no matter how popular an author becomes, no matter how much they earn from their books, hearing/reading a reader saying they love the books feels incredible. Years ago, before my long-term hiatus from writing, I told my husband that if I ever stopped being excited to hear that someone had read and enjoyed my books, I would know it was time to quit.
Posting reviews on Amazon, Goodreads, etc. helps authors because it tells other readers about that author’s books and whether they’re something people should read. (Reviews are NOT for authors, though some of us do get something out of reviews, even the negative ones.) But telling an author, either in a message or a conversation or a comment on a Facebook post, that you love their books can also help far more than you might realize.