Do Authors Have a Responsibility to Their Readers?

The life they’ve chosen

I sometimes feel sorry (just a little) for celebrities who have paparazzi in their faces whenever they go out – to a restaurant, the gym, even a supermarket. Imagine if they were going to get a bikini wax or some other personal appointment. And forget about hooking up for a kinky rendezvous. The whole world is always in their business making it difficult for them to live normal lives. If a celebrity does something stupid (who of us has never done anything stupid?) like lick a donut in a bakery and then put it back for someone else to buy (okay maybe not to that extent. That’s not only stupid, it’s disgusting and shows a lack of concern for the health and well being of others.) But when they do slip up, the whole world knows about it and often it takes a long time for the world to get over it. But as I stated, I only feel a little sorry for them, because for the most part, this is the life they’ve chosen.

The responsibility of YouTubers

My son likes watching YouTube videos, and some of the YouTubers, although entertaining, annoy me because they use foul language. I know, I know… freedom of speech and parenting your child, etc. But these video gaming entertainers know that a large part of their audience consists of young children. Therefore, they should be careful about what they do and say because impressionable children watch and imitate them. If this is what they choose to do, they have a responsibility to keep their material appropriate for the youngsters.

What about authors?

Lately I’ve been thinking about the responsibility authors – especially published authors – have to readers. They buy and read our books, and sometimes, if we’re lucky, they write reviews. Our readers are our motivation to create great stories.  When we advertise or promote an upcoming book, via interview, social media, the back content of current book or any other means, we have a responsibility to our readers to deliver what we said we would.

Cancelled

A few years ago, I read all four books in a popular series. Like many fans of the series, I was disappointed to learn that publication of the fifth book – a version of the first book told from a different point of view – had been cancelled. The author had decided not to finish it because someone had leaked part of the story. By the time I’d discovered the series, so much time had passed since the occurrence of the leak that I had hoped the author would just shake it off and finish the book. Especially since so many fans had asked, begged and pleaded for book five. I’d checked her website from time to time, looking for info, but there’d been nothing. Eventually I found a version of the story which I believe had been “completed” and posted by a fan, so I stopped checking the author’s website and moved on.

When an author chooses to introduce his or her writing to the world, be it a story, a sequel, even just an excerpt, he or she should make every effort to deliver.

 

Responsibility to my readers

Forbidden Kisses EBook.jpgOver the last few days, I’ve been reminded of my responsibility to my readers. On three occasions within as many days, someone mentioned Off Base, the sequel to my Military Romance, Forbidden Kisses.
coverThe most recent was this comment I read on my website from sjlmorgan.
The comment both made my day and broke my heart a little. Here was this reader who enjoyed book one and was ready for book two. Referring to the free sample chapter I’d included in the back of book 1, the reader was basically saying, “Why did you even include the sample chapter for book 2? Now I want it and it’s not available.” The sad thing is, I haven’t even been working on Off Base. I started it, but then out of the blue, I got an idea for a brand new story. I put Off Base on the back burner so I could work on Remember Love.

 

sjlmorgan isn’t the only reader waiting for the continuation of Layla and Ethan’s story. I went through my reviews and noted that there are at least fourteen reviews in which the reader expressed a desire to read Off Base.

  1. Can’t wait for the second installment; hoping for another winner!
  2. Can’t wait for their sequel!
  3. I’m looking forward to following this love story into their next phase of the authors “Off Base”.
  4. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in this series. 
  5. I’m interested in what happens next to Eathan and Layla in the follow up story Off Base. 
  6. I look forward to reading about the progression of their love story.
  7. Waiting for the sequel to follow these two souls in their HEA.
  8. I’m anxious for the sequel that was briefly mentioned. I fully expect wedding bells for them. I won’t accept anything less.  Love this couple to moon and back. Thank you.
  9. I can’t wait to see how the author extends the story line.
  10. I can’t wait to read your next book.
  11. Anxiously awaiting the sequel.
  12. I can’t wait for the next book.
  13. Can’t wait for Off Base!
  14. I look forward to reading Sha Renee’s next book.

Because of all these comments and the responsibility I have to my readers (and my love for Layla and Ethan’s story),  I’ve decided to hold off on Remember Love and get back to writing Off Base. Thank you, sjlmorgan for that reminder.

 

Author Newsletters by Sha Renée

Recently I published my first newsletter as an author. I used Mad Mimi which was pretty user friendly once I got the hang of it. I had always wondered if authors actually need a newsletter, especially if we’ve already got a blog set up. Someone explained that when you write a blog post, your followers get a message letting them know you posted. They will need to go and click on your link to read your post.

With a newsletter, they’ll get an e-mail from you, and once they open it, BAM, there’s your message with everything you want to tell them. Of course they can choose to skip the email, but the important thing is it eleminates a step.  I like to look at it like this: Option 1 – the mailman comes to my door and tells me that Macy’s is having a sale on dresses. Maybe he even shows me a photo.  But I’m in the middle of preparing dinner which means I have to stop and go to Macy’s to look at the dresses. In option 2, the mailman comes to my door with 3 dresses from Macy’s. I can pick one right then and there. Tada!

Creating my newsletter was hard work, but it was also kind of fun. I included fun fall facts, tree trivia and some interesting information about fall foods which supposedly increase penile blood flow (someone get back to me with the results).

NEW COVERWhile I love promoting my book and the upcoming release of Forbidden Kisses, I wanted to include something extra in my newsletter – exclusive content which isn’t available anywhere else.
After all, if you’ve read my blog posts or visited my social media sites, you already know I have a kick-ass military romance which is available now for pre-order. So I wanted to include information you may not already know.

I’ve decided that 4 to 6 issues per year is frequent enough for my newsletters to go out. I have subscriptions to a number of online newsletters, but I find it annoying that some of the subscriptions send daily issues. Sometimes I get more than 1 issue per day from the same organization. That’s too frequent for me.

There is a feature I’ve seen increasingly on blogs and e-mail subscriptions and it’s a big pet peeve for me. And while I don’t judge those who include this feature… okay, yes I do… a little, I can’t see myself including it in my blog or my newsletter.

Imagine if you’ve been seeing an amazing guy or girl and things are getting serious. Today they’ve invited you to come over. Let’s say they have a 1-hour lunch break today instead of 30 minutes and they’ve asked you to stop and pick up some condoms on your way over. You make your purchase, get to the door and ring the bell. They answer immediately, completely nude, but instead of making the most of those 60 minutes, they shove their new pet hamster in your face as soon as you step in the door. “Hey check out my hamster. Look what he can do. Feel how soft his fur is. Look how he eats his carrot.” What the heck! That’s not what you came for.  This is how I feel when I visit a site that has a big pop-up message in my face BOOM – as soon as I log on. Can you at least give me a chance to view the information I came for first?

I was working on something recently that gave me the option to include a pop-up message that would appear to my viewers, and if so, how soon did I want the message to appear. The choices were 1 second, 3 seconds… are you kidding me? Why would I ambush them with an offer which may not even be relevent to the information I’m providing? Let them at least have the opportunity to get what they came for – what I invited them for.

You can include a pop-up message if you want to, but please give me a chance to come in and get settled.

Anyway, my newsletter doesn’t have pop-up boxes BOOM – as soon as you open it. You won’t get an issue on a daily basis. I have quarterly issues. And hopefully you’ll find the content entertaining and interesting, like excerpts I haven’t shared anywhere else and the complete Forbidden Kisses music playlist.  See for yourself!

From our table I watched Ethan’s performance. His eyes locked on mine as his song started. When he sang the first line in acapella, my heart laughed, danced and cried. The music started and the audience cheered. UB-40’s version of Can’t Help Falling In Love featured a slow reggae beat that everyone wanted to move to. I watched, transfixed as he sang to me. Me. He was singing to me. Was he saying he was in love with me?

Ethan was beautiful and so darn sexy as his hips rocked to the reggae beat. He sang and danced like he could feel the music. As if it flowed through his body the way it did mine. His eyes, his movements and his words seduced me.

Thanks for reading. I’m by no means an expert on creating newsletters, but I’d be happy to help you get started if you have questions.

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Writing a Book is Easy.

Or at least it seems easy in comparison to the tasks we’re faced the-endwith once we type ‘The End’.

 

If you’re an author or have friends who are authors, you know exactly what I mean.

thOnce the story is written, everything else you need to get that baby out into the world makes the time spent on your laptop, legal pad or typewriter (remember those?) look like a cakewalk.

If you decide to publish traditionally, you’ll have to make sure your manuscript it correctly formatted down to the exact font, spacing, margins, etc. There are strict guidelines that you’ll need to adhere to. Not to mention querying publishers, waiting for replies and dealing with rejections. Continue reading

Before It’s Too Late by Sha Renee

Recently when I accompanied a loved one to the hospital I noticed a man sleeping in a chair in one of the waiting areas. He appeared to be in a fairly deep sleep – arms crossed over his chest, head tilted to the side. I studied his sleeping visage for a moment. Surely he was the spouse of a dear friend I met long ago when our kids were in first grade together. But I hadn’t seen him in so long… was that actually him? If so, I should wake him up and say hello. Continue reading