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There’s No Such Thing as “Just a Reader”

by Julie, hoping to turn the heat back off in Somerville. What happened to spring?

In the past month I’ve attended several different reader focused events. The Kensington Cozy Club Convention at the Cambridge Library warmed me up. Then Sherry, Barb and I went to Milwaukee for the Barbara Vey Reader Appreciation Weekend. The next weekend we all went to Bethesda, MD for Malice Domestic. All three of these events were great opportunities to see writer friends, and to meet readers.

Something happened consistently, so I wanted to talk about it here on the blog. More than once during a conversation the topic would move to what brought a person to an event. I’d ask if they were a writer, and the reply would come back, “oh no, I’m just a reader.”

Dear friends, there is no such thing as “just” a reader.

Without readers, writers could write, but for whom?

Your support makes everything possible. Support comes in all forms–pre-ordering a book, requesting it from a library, posting a review, recommending it to a friend, coming to a reading or event. Commenting on a blog. “Talking” to us on social media.

Some of you take this to the next level. You write a blog that reviews books. You volunteer to help organize conferences and events. You join street teams to support authors.

But the most important thing you do is read. You read a lot.

My friend Jason Allen-Forrest is the first reader of every one of my manuscripts. When I started out, I asked him to read and let me know if I had a book. Now he is my trusted beta-reader. He gives me feedback, asks questions, and responds to the concerns I have about the book. Then when the book is published, he reads it again and helps me celebrate. I’m deep in the edits of my Garden Squad #3, and he is waiting to read it. I can’t tell you how grateful I am to that particular reader. He helps me write better books.

He is also a voracious reader. He’s who I write for, who we all write for.

I’m grateful to all of you for being readers. Thank you for giving my work your time. I realize time is a precious commodity, and I don’t take your investment likely.

And get rid of the “just”. Next time we meet, tell me you’re a reader, so I can thank you.

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