One Little Email – The Value of Readers
By Skyla Dawn Cameron
In 2010 I was in an odd spot. I had some books out and more under contract but wasn’t giving my work much focus—I had a full time job, working on the other side of publishing, and that drew a lot of my attention. I wrote, almost constantly, but everything remained on my hard drive—it wasn’t often I got to wear my “writer hat” in public.
[And, to digress for a second, if I could note something for writers: most of the time, this is how it is. No one cares if you don’t have your work published. There are a hell of a lot of books out there already. This is why we write for ourselves first and foremost—it’s the only place was can truly find validation.]
An email from a book blogger came to my work email in December 2010 asking about a newsletter—she had seen some books she wanted to purchase and was interested in keeping up to date about new ones. One of the books she planned to get was Bloodlines, by me.
The thing is, this book was originally written in 2004—the fifth or sixth novel I’d written—and released in 2008. The sequel was written, the rest of the books were under contract, but…I’d just not done much with them. Given that I now had a job at the publisher who had contracted my work many years earlier, I kept my attention on other people’s books. Conflict of interest and all that. Now, I’d already started rewriting Bloodlines for re-release—I’d grown a lot as a writer and I wanted my best work out there. So I told this book blogger I really appreciated her interest but she might want to wait for the Bloodlines re-release (which I had…no time table on).
Another email came that January.
This one was titled “Curious on Bloodlines”, again from the same book blogger, mentioning she hadn’t been able to get the book’s description out of her head and wondered, again, if I had any kind of time frame.
Again, I did not.
I also felt…weird. Here was someone asking about my work. People didn’t do that anymore. I didn’t get to be Author!Skyla these days—everyone I knew only saw me in my editor capacity, which was difficult as I’d only been editing for three years versus writing pretty much my entire life.
So I sent my apologies and said not yet, but I’d let her know.
But that blogger’s email hadn’t left my mind and a week later I wrote back and said I’d pulled out the doc, I hoped to have it out in another couple of months, and I would gladly send her a review copy if she was interested.
Bloodlines was re-released April 2011, Hunter finally came out after a three year delay in August 2011. 2012 saw the release of the third and fourth books.
That book blogger was Melissa Hayden of My World…in words and pages who put together this whole book tour.
My point is this: there is a lot of bullshit going on among readers and writers lately. I have seen immaturity and ridiculousness on both sides. There is infighting between two groups that should realize they have a symbiotic relationship: books without readers aren’t read, and books without writers aren’t written. We don’t have an industry without both. It’s easy for both to take the other for granted and I am certainly not immune to the frustrations plagued by many writers, as I’m sure no reader is immune to reader frustrations either.
But, readers, your interest matters. Your opinion counts. Had Melissa not reached out to me…Bloodlines might still be languishing in rewrites. Hunter might not have been released. Lineage and Exhumed certainly wouldn’t have been written. And I wouldn’t be in a position to write this guest post for you today.
It’s easy as a reader to become jaded when you see Jackass writer call a fan a name or send people to attack someone over a review. It’s easy for me to get jaded when I receive hate mail or review requests that leave me feeling like nothing more than a book and swag dispenser.
But the more we reach out, the greater our chance of connecting with the right people.
I know there were other readers waiting for the sequel to Bloodlines out there somewhere, but as a writer
your life is oddly…quiet. And lonely. You see numbers on your royalty reports saying people bought books, but did they read them? Did they enjoy them? Most of the time you have no idea.
Sometimes all it takes is one little email at the right time to remind you that someone’s listening. And it can make all the difference.
So, gentle readers. Book bloggers. Reviewers. Don’t let the current climate of reader-writer relations get you down. Don’t be afraid to reach out to authors whose work you love. If they act like a jackass, file them under “jackass” (obviously not at Goodreads *sigh*) and move on.
As writers, we often have to have faith that what we write matters, that our words will reach the right person right when it’s needed in their life. And I’d say the same to readers. Don’t doubt that one little email can make a difference for the right person.
You might even be the push they need that day to keep them on their path.
Thank you for the post Skyla :=D
And now everyone if you are curious about Bloodlines it is free right now! So go DL
If you’re in her way, it sucks to be you.
After three hundred years of unlife, narcissistic vampire Zara Lain has seemingly done it all, and she’s now making a living as a successful thief-turned-assassin. Her newest assignment seems simple enough: kill the aging leader of the O’Connor coven and his only heir, and she’ll have another ten million in the bank.
But in the dangerous world of the supernatural, few things are ever “simple.”
When a massive assault decimates the continent’s population of powerful witches and warlocks, and its orchestrator has vampires being hunted down and captured, Zara realizes the tables have turned and now she’ll be playing the hero. Forced to join with a smart-mouthed fellow vampire, a demonologist who’s also a fan of hers, a recently widowed—and frequently brooding—warlock, and her best friend’s mom, Zara’s grudgingly willing to do what she can to save the day.
If only people would stop ruining all her outfits…
An excerpt from Bloodlines…
Blue eyes shifted back to mine, dark smoke swirling in their centers, drawing me in. “So you haven’t seen the sun in three hundred years?”
Electricity danced along my skin, nerves hyperaware. I’d never admit it, but the magic freaked me out—I wasn’t used to someone stronger than me, better than me. I could kick his ass, sure, but he could fucking stop time. And a strange little thrill went through me when I felt the shift in the air, saw the haze over his eyes, and sensed a magical storm about to hit.
I swallowed dryly and pushed a snarky tone back into my voice, hoping he couldn’t tell precisely what effect he had on me. “Duh. What’s your—”
My lips snapped shut as he muttered words I couldn’t make out. The lights in the room went out, leaving us in darkness.
Um…what the hell?
A weak glow appeared to the upper left of me, on the wall by the windows. I gazed up and watched as the light burned brighter and brighter.
Jesus, he’s going to burn me alive… “Um…Nate?”
First the rounded edge of a fiery orange sphere peeked around from behind some unseen obstacle, then gradually it grew. My body tensed, ready to run, waiting for the hot burn on my skin, the agony pouring through me.
It didn’t happen. The sun stretched across the apartment ceiling until it illuminated the entire room, bathing us both in light. My bare skin warmed in the sunlight, my hair and dark clothes burned.
It was beautiful. So many years and I hadn’t really thought about the sun, hadn’t wondered about what I was missing. When I lived, the sun made for long days in the garden, harsh on skin and bearer of headaches in the summer. But this…this was glorious.
I closed my eyes for a moment, drinking in the heat and savoring the feeling. When I opened them again, Nate was watching me. I didn’t know whether it was the faux sunlight radiating from his taut skin, or perhaps that he had created the sunlight itself, but I was suddenly very aware of him—his breathing, his heartbeat, and the hot blood coursing through him. And in the light, he was gorgeous.
Too soon the sun had passed to the other side of the apartment and it perished behind another nonexistent horizon. As the last beams faded, part of me seemed to darken with it.
Moments later, Nate switched a couple of the lamps back on with a few magical words.
Holy fuck. I let out a breath—a very human gesture, I realized, but one I felt compelled to engage in anyway. “Well.”
I gave him a grin. “Is that all you can do?”
“No, but I was hoping it would leave you speechless for a while.” He gave me a sexy half-grin—a real, genuine smile with no boohoo I’m a brooding widow shadows behind it. “I guess I was mistaken.”
“There’s a much easier way to get me to stop talking.” I shifted, pulled myself in to a crouch, pressed my palms to the floor, and crawled the short distance to him. Already the guards were back up—smile gone, back stiff, but I’d be damned if I’d give up without a seductive fight.
He didn’t respond, which, though infuriating, was also mildly arousing. No better way to drive someone insane than to show absolutely no interest.
I wanted him. Wanted him in a way that made my chest ache. Because he was betrayed and damaged under all the guards he put up, because he just created a freakin’ sun knowing I hadn’t seen it in centuries, because I wanted to spend the next year unwrapping all his layers to see exactly what kind of man awaited me on the inside.
The intensity of that want scared me; I nearly hightailed it out of there just to escape it. But I’d never failed at seduction before and maybe if I got him out of my system—maybe if I confronted all that want—it would lessen a bit and I’d feel less terrified.
I tried a casual smile. “C’mon…you’re pretty. I’m pretty. We could be pretty together.”
“My wife was murdered two nights ago—”
Oh god, more brooding. “Yeah, after trying to kill you. Time to move on. Or…” I moved my lips to his throat and tasting his skin in a kiss. “…I could just bite you.”
His pulse quickened beneath my lips. Fear or lust? Sometimes it’s hard to tell. “I’d rather you didn’t.”
“I really don’t need your permission.”
“Well, you won’t be getting it, either.” Still, he didn’t move. Not to push me away, and not to take me in his arms either. Frozen solid, watching me. Weirdo.
I was close enough to taste his lips, his breath warm on my face; my gaze drifted up again to meet his eyes, voice went low and husky. “I’ve been around a long, long time, and I’ve invented positions you couldn’t dream of. I can take you right here hard and fast, sweet and slow, ride you to exhaustion until you’re empty but craving more, and then do it all again.”
His blood was rushing south—I could feel it, heat searing, burning in him. He leaned closer, eyes leveled at me, mouth nearly brushing mine. “And I could take you to the edge and keep you there for hours, quivering near madness, begging me to release you—and that’s even without bringing magic into it. But that will never happen. Ever.”
I swallowed. Hard. Tried not to let it sting. “’Cause I’m not blonde?”
“Because you’re self-absorbed, arrogant, childish, and I’m not interested.”
A flush infused my cheeks—real, genuine hurt, rejection feeling like a slap across my face. I swallowed dryly and fought to pick up my shattered pride.
But I could fake it. Pretend it didn’t bother me—that I didn’t take the whole thing too seriously. I pulled back to sit on my heels and pouted. “You’re no fun.”
“My apologies,” he said without smiling.
I rolled my eyes. “You can’t blame a girl for trying.” I stood and started for my room. “Whatever,” I called. “I’m going to bed. If you decide to stop being a killjoy, you’re welcome to join me.” I glanced back at him just as I stopped in my doorway, but he made no move to rise.
“I’ll keep that in mind.”