Some of my longest-standing writing friendships are with people I got to know on the original AOL Series and Contests boards when we were all starting to write.
I sold my first book to LIS through an online pitch contest.
I've built a world of writing relationships with online acquaintances who have become real life friends. Just think how quickly your FB circle of friends responds when you ask for prayers!
Last week I was visiting my mother in Philly and working on a book set in Texas. It's been a few years since I've been to San Antonio and I had some questions about something I wanted to be sure I got right. Thanks to online friendships, the lovely Jolene Navarro was ready and willing to answer all my questions. I can return the favor by telling all my friends about her new release! And I can have it delivered to my Kindle or Nook app instantly when it releases.
I recently had the opportunity to participate in an online launch party for fellow Craftie Lady Rachel Dylan. I always love these parties because the interaction between readers and authors is SO intense and so much fun.
And that's what I really want to talk about today - how cyberspace has changed reader-writer relationships.
I remember being such a fan girl of my favorite authors when I first discovered romance fiction. I might write a letter, sent via the publisher, that the author might receive and maybe would respond to. I cherished several lovely letters from Mary Jo Putney and they made me feel like I mattered as a reader.
Today we can have almost instant communication between readers and writers either through FB parties, email, Twitter, or blogs like this one.
How do you feel about that?
I've helped host several Facebook parties in the past two years and I noticed one recurring theme: the readers are very excited to have the chance to chat with the authors and the authors are equally excited to chat with the lovely people who read their books. I don't know any writers who weren't readers themselves first, so when we can get together and chat about books, well it's just great FUN!
At Rachel's recent party there was so much conversation about how great it was to get to spend time together chatting about books and our lives. And boy can we talk about our pets!
I asked two of the attendees if I could quote them because I loved their comments:
Jennifer Stevenson Tipton: "I think it is neat how we can all get together from all around the world or country."
Caron Tweet: "One of the reasons I love these parties is because the authors go from being a name to a friend!"
I'd love to see some readers come out and join us here today. Let's talk about our favorite books or whatever is going on in your life.
Or we could talk about pets!
And to my fellow writers - what's your favorite part about interacting with readers?
Let's all connect as readers.