After my last book signing, I realized that meeting my readers is similar to a live performance, where fans come backstage for autographs and, more importantly, to speak with the actress. It’s a chance to mingle, to answer questions, and to listen to their thoughts.
Guess I never thought of it this way before. Writing is such a solitary profession. I usually sit alone in front of my computer and let my characters take the lead. Writing a novel, in many ways, is no different than reading a good book. It is an opportunity to disassociate from the everyday activities around one’s self. It is a chance to move to new locations, meet new faces, learn about other’s lives, and sometimes as in murder mysteries, to solve problems and even crimes.
I often sign my books saying, “I write for you, my reader.” Years ago, when I finally realized this concept, it gave writing not only an audience but also a purpose. Prior to that, the little mind gremlins would question me as to why I spent such significant time writing if no one was to see my work, if no one cared, as I put manuscript after manuscript in a drawer never to be seen again.
Book signings have taught me otherwise. My audience consists of my readers; my purpose is to entertain by taking my readers away from the mundane of life to become part of different settings, to meet new people, and to help my investigator solve the murder.
In return, I have the pleasure of meeting my readers, the ones who love murder mysteries, a series, a flashback to the 1950s.
Whether my books provide a good summer read as one of my readers told me at my last signing or just an opportunity to get lost for an hour or two before bed, I thank each and every one of you for providing me a purpose for writing. As John Steinbeck said, “I nearly always write just as I nearly always breathe.” I write for you, my reader!