Some time ago I remember reading -- in an article about successfully marketing your writing -- "Love your readers." Wish I remember who wrote this or where I read it, but, whomever, wherever, it has stuck in my head for years. Which gives rise to . . .
Questions, and arguments with myself:
I am supposed to love people I have never met, some of whom may be motivated by all kinds of ideas and life circumstances foreign to me? Those who are truly strangers?
Wait a minute. The kind of love meant is not mushy-kissy love. It isn't romance and wedding bells or even the holding a baby who reaches for my finger sort of thing. It isn't even (really) close friendship.
Those of you familiar with the Bible, including the books of Moses, the Prophets, and/or the New Testament, know the term "Love thy neighbor as thyself." This wisdom passed into generic thought world-wide generations ago, but the question, "Who is my neighbor" perplexed folks back then, even as it might now. One explanation comes in the parable about a man stopping along the road to aid an injured stranger who, under other circumstances, would be considered an enemy. Strangers. Loving strangers, which, I admit, you could call most of any author's readers.
So--love them. This is advice I have now taken to heart, and I admit it's much easier today, since I have eight published books and numerous short stories to claim. These days I hear from readers who use the word love freely when describing how they feel about my books and the characters in my mystery series. Gosh, it is easy for me to love them, as it would be for any of us, right?
But I love all the unknown 'strangers' too.
Another bit of advice to writers I have heard and read is to picture one reader and write to that person while your fingers type ideas. I have expanded that hugely. I think of many readers, and, helped by my familiarity with readers who love enough to contact me, I have all--all of them, including the strangers--with me as I write. Writers talk about being alone much of the time, making stories from their private knowledge and imagination. Is it too much to say that, as I write, I am never alone? I respect, appreciate, welcome the readers in my head and yes, I have come to partially understand, and to love each of them. We are a unit. I am writing for myself, of course, but also for them. I do hope it enhances sales as that long-ago writer suggested. But, whether it does or not, it sure enhances my enjoyment of life as a writer.
May you enjoy the same kind of love! Radine, at http://www.RadinesBooks.com