Thursday, August 18, 2016

Readers and Writers... A Match Made in Cyberspace

The internet is a pretty amazing place. If I really stop to think about how it's changed my life, it's really kind of mind-blowing.

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.  



  1. Cate, I feel the same! I am still a fan girl of many writers! Books just make me smile, and connecting with the writer is awesome!

  2. Cate, I still remember many of the books that got me started as a writer when I was a pre-teen. I couldn't wait read those wonderful authors and I greatly anticipated their next books. If the ability to connect with authors were around back then, well, it would have been amazing for me.

    As an author, I love to hear from readers. Its nice to know someone else likes what you write.

    Great post, Cate.

  3. I'm a fan girl too. I don't have letters, but I've got so many autographs :)

    I sometimes think we should have a directory :) We probably have friends in every state.

  4. I love me some readers!! We'd be lost without them. I was just thinking this morning how I rely on my online friends when I'm feeling blue. And I mean those I know and have communicated with through the years. A lot of those are readers!! In that way, social media is a blessing.

  5. Great topic, Cate. I love when I'm out and about and see people reading a book. A physical book or on a kindle. If its a physical book I'll try to see the title/author to see if I know the book/author. I love connecting with others over books. A shared love of the written word is such a bonder. I appreciate readers when they write to me. I've also written to several of my favorite authors as well as a reader of their work. The internet has been a blessing in so many ways for connecting writers and readers. There's also been a down side: the mean people who tear down others when its highly doubtful they would do so face to face. That part I don't like. However, I have the freedom to ignore those people and concentrate on building relationships with readers who love to read, not just my books, but books in general.

  6. It is amazing how the internet has opened up the world for people to share, and it's especially fun to share about books.

  7. First, my apologies to my fellow LI authors whose books were not in the pictures. I didn't want to leave you out, but most of my books are in my Kindle or Nook apps, not in print. A little too difficult to get you all onto my coffee table. ;)

    I agree, Terri. The unprecedented access has changed so many things in life and not all for the good. I guess we're learning how to deal with the bad while celebrating the good!

    I still pinch myself to have so many writers as friends. Growing up, books were so very precious to me that I considered their authors to be on some other level altogether. In many ways, the internet has leveled that field and allowed us to know each other more freely. But I still am in awe of the work of my author friends!


  8. That's so true, Lenora. Too often I think of what a time sap the internet has been. But it's been a boon in so many ways. Just a bit ago I was so wrapped up in what I was writing, so overwhelmed with love for my story. I knew that if I posted that on FB, I'd instantly connect with others who understood.

  9. Can you just imagine, Pamela? I smile thinking of that big picture of LI authors we took in NYC last year. That alone had to represent most of the states.

  10. Mary, you said -

    "It's nice to know someone else likes what you write."

    Isn't that the truth?

    I wonder if readers realize how much we value their comments. Writing can be so solitary, but all it takes is one kind comment from a reader to keep you inspired and working.

  11. Hi Jill, thanks for sharing this post.

    Isn't it cool when we can be fan girls and friends? One of the things I love about social media is the chance to boost our friends and brag on their accomplishments. I mean just look at us - without cyberspace, we'd never have gotten to know each other despite writing for the same publisher.

    In some ways, FB is like a 365/24/7 writer's retreat.

  12. You nailed it, Merrillee. Maybe it's because books are such an important part of our lives that we connect so well over them.

  13. I love connecting with readers online. In fact, I'm putting the finishing touches on a Facebook party celebrating the August Love Inspired Historical titles that will take place this afternoon. Fun times ahead!

  14. Oh, fun, Keli. I'll be sure to stop by. I love those FB parties.

  15. You guys have no idea how much you impact the lives of some of your readers. Being disabled limits what I can do, but it never limits my ability to read. You guys have literally kept me going. Thank you so very much, and may you be abundantly blessed.

  16. Teresa, thanks for you kind words. Sending hugs and love!

  17. Teresa, thank you so much for coming by and posting. It's an honor to know our books bring joy. I know what they have meant to me as a reader, so it's always humbling to hear the same from a reader.

  18. Cate, I love connecting with readers at "live" events and through the cyber world. It's so fun to chat with folks around the country who share that love of story.

    Loved, loved, loved CHRISTMAS IN HIDING!!! Such a wonderful, intriguing story. Congrats!

  19. Cate, I am an avid reader and love connecting with writers and readers on blogs. I don't do much facebook. I love to post reviews and/or contact authors. I just finished Terri Reed's Identity Unknown and am about half way through Jean Gordon's Holiday Homecoming. I really enjoy LI books. It is fun to know more about authors...i.e. your life in NYC amazes me....I live in a small town, and at present I have health issues which keep me at home more.
    As Teresa S. said earlier, you authors keep us going...I read about 10-12 books per month.

  20. Hi Jackie,

    Thanks so much for visiting and commenting and for your kind words. Did you notice that Jean's Holiday Homecoming is in my picture above? I love reading the small town romances.

    Sometimes my life in NYC amazes me too. I'm not really a city girl. Maine calls to my heart.

    I'm sorry about your health issues, but I'm so happy you have books to distract you. 10 - 12 a month is amazing. I'm always torn between reading time and writing time.

  21. Hi Cate! I hope everyone is well! It is so cool to be quoted and I also like when someone needs prayer people draw together.
    Hi Jacki, Terri, Pamela, Lenora, Debby, Keli, Jill and hi to Mary and Teresa!!!! Jenny

  22. How cute!! I love your pets. :) I also love meeting readers and other writers at live events. So fun to take online friendships to real life!

  23. Hi Jennifer,

    Thanks for stopping by. I remembered your comment during the party last week. It helped me brainstorm this blog. Thank you!

    It is. And sometimes when you do finally meet in person it feels so odd that it's the first time because you feel like you've known the other person so well and for so long.

  24. There is nothing better than getting a message telling you how your words and characters moved someone in a spiritual way or uplifted then right when they needed it. Laughter is good too. To be able to share a world that was just in your head and have others join in on the vision and talk to you about it is amazing. Thank you for the shout out.


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