Why I Love Hearing From You

I know a lot of authors, and most of them are happiest in their solitary writing dens. However, even hibernating bears come out of their caves when winter ends, and authors, too, must interact with others, especially their readers.

We want feedback. We want to know what our readers like and (with less enthusiasm) what they don’t like about our books.

The lack of enthusiasm, I hasten to say, mainly comes from reviews like the one below that was posted about The Dragon Who Didn’t Fly. (I’ve in no way edited this.)

“Candid in Space. Way too much tech stuff combined with a naïve hero and lots of violence. Easy to pass up.”

Those who have read The Dragon Who Didn’t Fly will wonder if the reviewer read it. (I suspect not.) If you haven’t yet read it, I’d be happy to point out the following errors:

    1. “Candid in Space.” Is that a book title? Not mine.
    2. “Way too much tech stuff.” Right. I can barely put air in a tire.
    3. “Lots of violence.” Every page drips with blood.
    4. “Naïve hero.” They usually are. This moves the plot forward as they stumble from one mess to another and painfully learn wisdom. This is also called The Hero’s Journey.
    5. “Easy to pass up.” Also easy to write a review of the wrong book in twenty-one scintillating words.

At one point in my writing career, this kind of review would have sent me scuttling back into my cave. Now I’ve come to realize that most readers are thoughtful and generous, and I love reviews.

How Reviews Help Authors

I asked a devoted reader to write a review of The Dragon Who Didn’t Fly. He was happy to do so, commenting that he’d never written a review before. Knowing that he’s an avid reader, I was surprised until I realize that many people don’t realize how much reviews help authors.

Because I do know this, I review any books I’ve enjoyed. The reviews are sometimes short, but short reviews, count, too.

When people looking for books see a lot of reviews and a positive overall score, they know that a book is popular. This has a positive effect on their decision about buying it. This is especially helpful for a new book or an unknown author.

Also, when people read reviews, they get a better idea about whether they’ll enjoy it.

In very technical terms (which I don’t pretend to understand) reviews also influence how Amazon selects books for top placement. The bottom line is that reviews help here, too.

So, if you have read and enjoyed The Dragon Who Didn’t Fly, I would love for you to review it.

Why The Dragon Series Will Continue

Sometimes I get life-changing feedback.

When I finished Rainbow Dragon, the fifth book in the series, A Dragon’s Guide to Destiny, I was pretty sure that it would be the last book I would write about those characters and the land of Oasis. I told a reader of this decision, and she didn’t like it. She said, “But we don’t know about . . .” (I’m not repeating her exact words because it would give away an important part of the story.)

When I thought about that, I realized that I needed to answer that question. I let some possibilities roll around in my mind for a few days and began to write down notes. Once I began, I was amazed at how quickly ideas emerged. After a few hours, I had the skeleton of a new book. I’m now writing it.

I don’t know what its title will be. Because it begins sixteen years after the end of Rainbow Dragon, I think it might begin a new series. I don’t even know that much about where the story will go (except to answer that important question), but I have lived in this state of uncertainty for every book I’ve written and have learned to trust the process.

If you’ve read Rainbow Dragon, I’d love to hear what questions you’d like answered in a follow-up book. I will list your name on the acknowledgments page with deep gratitude.

And those who’ve finished the series so far aren’t the only ones I want to hear from. I’d love to know what you think of whatever you’ve read. Your comments might spark inspiration in my thoughts about future books.

Every page of my web site, cmbarrett.com, has contact information, and I answer all messages.