I’m not sure what it was about this Easter weekend, but my books got a lot of love, and I wanted to say thank you. It was also interesting to get them from different places: through artwork, through a note in my contact form, on my Facebook author page, in person, and through an anonymous ask box on my Tumblr.
On Saturday morning, a 17-year-old girl from New Zealand named Laya sent me this extraordinary fan art she did of a scene from Shadowplay. It’s so detailed and incredible to see a scene from my books come alive. Someone was moved enough by my words to spend what must have been hours crafting such beautiful work. And to be 17 and that talented? Wow.
The next morning, I had the sweetest note from a 13-year-old from Spain, who said that my books are “two of the best books that I’ve read since the post-Potter depression. For me, that’s saying a lot (I haven’t been so nervous and expectant to see who would win the Maske/Taliesin duel since the final Quidditch match between Gryffindor and Slytherin).” I stared at that for a long time. I grew up a Potterhead, reading fan fiction, dressing up, seeing the film 5 times in the cinema, going to midnight book launches. I remember I was on holiday in Hawaii and my dad had picked up the 4th book for me but I couldn’t read it for the two days until I came back, so I asked him to read me the first few chapters over the phone, I was so desperate to read them. To hear that a total stranger, nearly half my age, found my books even slightly as meaningful as those books were to me…well. That’s an incredible feeling.
In person, I had the lovely Ann Smyth from Twitter come up to me after the panel and tell me how much she was enjoying Shadowplay. I showed her the fan art and she said she hadn’t gotten to it, and then the next day she told me she’d reached it! Then she told me via Twitter that she’d finished. I love getting little updates like that. It’s so cool to think that yes, someone’s going about their daily lives, like a con, but reading my book in the evening before they go to sleep.
Monday, I got a message from a reader from China on my FB author page. The fact my words are being read around the world is still absolutely awesome. Lastly, I received an anonymous ask in my Tumblr, so I don’t know where they are from, thanking me and saying they bought the second book before they’d even finished the first. In the past, I’ve had people tell me my book helped them feel better about being bisexual. A parent of a school visit I did said she enjoyed my world as much as Narnia. I’ve had a genderfluid person saying it was nice to read a character that was like them. I’ve had a 15-year-old book say my books were the some of their favourite books on Earth.
I worry listing these is coming across as bragging, and that’s not my goal at all. I feel like the least I can do is say a public and heartfelt thank you to these people that have contacted me.
Thank you. Thank you, thank you, thank you to everyone who’s reached out to me to tell me that they appreciated my work. It really means so much. Writing is a crazy industry sometimes. It’s full of ups and downs and vast amounts of uncertainty. Before you’re published you have no idea if anyone will want to read your projects. After you’re published, when you’re writing, it’s hard to remember sometimes that there are those out there who want to read your words. You feel like you’re sending things off into the void and you’re listening for echoes, and sometimes it can feel very quiet.
Thank you for liking what you like and feeling moved enough to reach out. I never did that as a teen, and even now I’ve only reached out to a few of my favourite artists because I’m afraid to. Getting these have made me realise how silly that is, and I’m going to try and tell more people that I admire how I feel about their creations. Receiving notes from readers is hands down one of the best parts of being an author for me. It really helps remind me that this is why I love writing: connecting with others. Not for sales figures, not for money (though money would be nice), but to entertain people with my characters and worlds.
Please, never feel ashamed or embarrassed to contact out to someone whose work you admire (unless it’s to show up at their home unannounced at their house or something. Maybe don’t do that). I can guarantee you that they’ll appreciate it. A sweet, little one line note will brighten their whole day and give them the courage to keep going, even when they doubt themselves. Which happens rather frequently, because most creators are neurotic, self-doubting creatures by nature. 😉
Thank you for being amazing.