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The elusive reader or where are you hiding my favorite people?

This topic came up on one of the many yahoo lists I belong to and it really touched me. How often has a reader told me they lurk because they don’t feel important enough to post a message or comment on something an author has shared?

Oh my god!

I could cry when I hear it, or even think it. In some distant tiny part of myself, I can identify with that feeling of uncertainty. I mean if Stephan King walked in the door I’d possibly faint. But, I can almost guarantee he’d say the same thing I would.

Horse pucky!

Without you, the readers, we’re just dumbass writers making up lies and writing them down. Yes, we create stories, and yes we do try to get them to sound beautiful or tragic or sexy, but we do it for you. I can’t say that without you, I’d stop telling my little lies, but I can tell you, without you, it just seems so damn lonely and pointless.

Look, everyone has a gift. I believe everyone also has some form of deformity or handicap too, but that’s a whole nuther post. My gift is imagination. What’s yours? My husband has an amazing eye for wildlife photography. The pictures he shows me often take my breath. Like me, his gift isn’t something he worked for or deserves, it’s just there.

Now, if you, my reader, like a certain thing I’ve written, how will I know unless you tell me? If you despise something, the same is true. I continue to write, and do a lot of praying in the process that someone will like what I come up with.

The odd time, and I can count those times on my fingers, a reader will send me an email. It’s like a gift has been delivered. I’m almost afraid to respond to them for fear of scaring them off. I have heard that readers are afraid of us. It seems crazy that someone would be afraid, or feel less important than me. I mean, if you could see me now, scruffy sweats and slippers, my hair sticking out all over and me chewing on my lip, you’d laugh at the very idea that this woman could be ‘all that’.

I treasure those emails, few though they are. They are all I have to go on when it comes to what readers want. I’ve been told I write too short…I’m working on that all the time. Calls for submission often call for a certain length, so those times I don’t have a lot of say in the word count. But, when I get going on my own, I try very hard to take those words into account. Too short, readers like paranormal and they also seem to like series’. What other things, alpha males. I got that bit of info from my newsletter contest last month. Even when I’m writing m/m, one of the m’s should be more gung ho and bossy than the other. Yup, I can do that.

The yahoo groups I belong to are a perfect example of authors desperate for input. Take one of the publisher organized chats. Add a dozen authors eager to share their blurbs and excerpts for new releases and you’ve got the makings of some great fun. Some of those yahoo groups have thousands of members, others have hundreds. Yet, chances are, when there’s an organized chat, there will be possibly a dozen comments by non-authors. I’ve seen authors literally pounce on the poor person. A feeding frenzy of desire to please, and that scares the reader off. I know it does. The others do too. But, it’s such a hunger to know what this brave brazen soul likes that we just can’t help ourselves.

So, readers/fans please, you are the other half of our coin. We know you’re out there, someone’s buying those books, and we can hear you breathing… heavily! Do us a favor, honestly this would be sooo fantastic, when you read something you really like, gather your courage and send the author a short note. Tell her, or him, what you liked so much. The next time you’re in one of those yahoo chats, and your favorite author makes an appearance, let her know. Tell her the name of your favorite book of hers. Just let her know you’re there. And, if you hate something, let us know that too, or we’re liable to do it again and again, and that would just suck.

Thanks so much for listening. I’d love to get comments on this, from both other authors and yes, you readers.


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*Jude Mason – Readers needed: Come, explore with me…if you dare*


To join my mailing list, email me: jude.mason AT


Jeanine said...

What a wonderful post. I am one of those elusive readers. :) I really appreciate your comments. I do sometimes try to comment, but your post made me realize that I probably don't do that enough. Thanks for that. Keep up the great job of writing so that people like me can keep reading

Chris R said...

I understand this post because I am one of those readers. You authors are the rock stars. It can be very intimidating to write to an author because I know the first thing that goes through my mind after I send something is...I bet that sounded stupid. :-)

Please keep writing!

Bryl R. Tyne said...

Excellent points, Jude. As an author, I'd like to point out in response to (reader) Chris R above that most of us do NOT look at ourselves as "Rock Stars" as you put it. LOL Believe me, and Jude stressed this, we authors adore fan mail, be it one liners that simply say, "I loved your book," to the more elaborate pointing out each detail. But Chris, nothing from a reader is ever considered anything except cherished. Trust me.

As a reader also, I have to admit, I don't contact authors that I enjoy enough. But I do try and at least rate the books I like on various sites like Goodreads, Shelfari, Library Thing, etc, hoping the author will see that I really liked their book. It's about all I have time to do anymore.

Again, great post, Jude!

Bryl R. Tyne

Jude Mason said...


I'm thrilled to get all of your responses. Honestly, my heart is beating faster and I'm grinning like a fool.

Jeanine, hugs. Thank you! Any comments, anywhere, are so appreciated. You just remember, without you, I'm spinning tales to myself.


Jude Mason said...


You know, I really do understand, or I think I do, about the intimidating part. I mean like I said in my post, if Stephan King or Nora Roberts walked in the door, I'm sure I'd faint. I'd be unable to speak that's for sure. Babbling idiot comes to mind. LOL But, I'm also pretty sure, both Stephan and Nora would be thrilled to get a reader's response to their work. (Probably laugh like hell at my babbling too, but that's beside the point) LOL

Chris, honest, your message would never be thought of as stupid sounding. A few words and we melt. I mean, look at me now. I'm all giddy, just knowing you, a reader, took a minute to answer this. Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.


Jude Mason said...


Yeah, what you said. LOL I can't imagine anyone thinking of me as a rock star, specially if they heard me sing... shudder. I will admit to dancing pretty well, sometimes, if no one is watching. *G*

Thanks so much for stopping by and leaving a few words of wisdom for us.


Genella deGrey said...

What a great post! I couldn't have said it better myself!
I would love to put this on my blog and plug you and your latest/next release - would you please email me and we'll talk about the possibility?

Let me know if you can't find my email -

Jude Mason said...


Thanks so much. I've found your email addy and am just putting together an email for you.

Have an awesome day!


Anonymous said...

I will not approve on it. I assume warm-hearted post. Especially the appellation attracted me to study the unscathed story.

Kris Norris said...

Hi Jude,

OMG, what I wouldn't give for a reader to send off an email and say, hey I liked that. Or even if they didn't, that's okay. I've never gotten fan mail, lol. Perhaps one day, but I do understand. And I think it's a fairly new concept. Until recently we couldn't contact Stephen King or the like, but with email, everyone can drop a quick note.
I do wonder how many folks take the time to do this. Great post. I'll be interested in seeing if anyone sends something along after realizing we're just big kids waiting for a letter.

Jude Mason said...


I've had a few and I tell you, there is nothing in the world like it. I'm sure you'll find out soon.


Jaime Samms said...

Excellent post, Jude.

Just yeasterday, I recieved an email complimenting one of the free reads on my website, and asking for a broken link to be fixed. You can bet it made my day. Not only did the reader like the story, but wanted to read more. Yeah. It puts me on cloud nine to hear that!


Jude Mason said...

Hi Jaime,

Yup, I so know how it feels. A very very good friend became my very good friend by doing something very similar. Ain't life strange and wonderful?

Thanks so much for stopping by.


Erotic Horizon said...

Waves to Jude...

I love this post - In some respect I am that person you write about...

In Real life - I just get on with my day and am a really confident person - but I tend to lurk on quite a few yahoo group and blogs... never having the moxie to type a comment..

At first it felt like a little gang - and the use the word "Gang" specifically...

It felt insulated - I didn't get the "in jokes" or the cligue atmosphere...

After about a year and as I got to know more and more authors I realise that an authors world is generally an insulated society and only another author can understand what you are going through..

Sometimes this is reflected in some of the chat- one of the reasons I dont visit...

Then there is the other side - the authors who

1. Pounce at you - it shocked me at first - but thanks to you guys you made me see that it was another way of saying welcome, we appreciate your time and your opinon..

2. Then there are some authors who still have the human touch - they respond to emails, they get involved and let their hair down - we all know you are busy.. we the readers are busy as well... so that always nice to see authors in the same places we hang out..

Hats off to those who still realise that before all else you are all readers first...

3. For authors that I read their work - I alway drop them a line - as I think it's only courteous to let them know what I think of their work...

As a reader when I get a response - I hug it to me and think ... yes, I got a email...

(Jude you are used to my nutty ways)

However not all are nice and I am only human and sometime paint alot of other unsuspecting authors with that same brush....

so I lurk - and never comment even when I am dying to..

I wont get rid of it in some cases.. but more and more I am seeing authors and readers gelling togethers, and this really give me a boost to always leave a note on a group or a blog...

Thanks for the post Jude -this is a topic that I can indentify with on so many levels...


Jude Mason said...


What an insightful commentary. Thank you. I guess I realised that when we pounce we probably terrify readers. I, for one, really don't mean to. I'm just so glad to see you.

I really am smiling now. We really aren't all that different. I'm used to chats now and can usually get talking pretty well right away, but I so remember when I was told I was expected to hit the organized chats. I couldn't for the life of me think of anything to say. I'm not an exciting person here. And, I'm shy, which doesn't help. So lurking is my comfort mode.

E.H., you really have opened my eyes about some readers. Being an author has forced me to be much more mouthy than I normally would be. You, and many others, have no need to do that.

But, you are one heck of a reviewer!!!

Thank you so much for stopping by.


Jaime Samms said...

I can so sympathize with you on the chat thing, Jude. I've been at this a couple of years, and when I tell people I'm shy, they look at me funny, like I'm being sarcastic. I can remember the first few chats I did. It was horrible! I was a wreck. Even up to now, I've managed to avoid lone chats...what if no one comes? lol! No. really. What if no one comes? O.O
E.H., that is a great comment on the whole thing. We so seldom get a chance to hear the reader's view, and I think we really need to know that side of things. Thanks so much for your insights. A very good point that we all started out as readers, and really, we still are. There are some authors I'm still in a little bit of awe of, even on the loops I frequent. I don't think that ever goes away, and really, I don't want it to.

Amber Sand said...

Hi Jude
I am one of the rare readers who have commented to authors and am very glad I did so.
It turned me from a dedicated reader into a fledgling author.
When I first emailed a well known author, I was actually surprised she responded and did it so graciously.
Since then, whenever I have liked something (and haven't liked something in one case) I do write and tell them.
I haven't done it often, only when the author has done something special. Even copying in the paragraphs or lines I like.
From their replies, I can back up your blog.
Like all things, it needs to be done in moderation. Authors are, by and large, very busy people so don't have time to communicate on a one to one person with every fan. That's what lists and blogs are for.
But when you read something that moves you. I'm sure they find it a help to get that feedback. I know I would.

Erotic Horizon said...


I know what you mean about not been an excitable person - sometimes that hold me back as well when it comes to commenting... I am such a laid back sort of personality..

But I am glad that there are authors like yourself that knows and understand enough to pace themselves when people like me comes into a chat room or even just reach out on an email.....


There are some authors I'm still in a little bit of awe of, even on the loops I frequent. I don't think that ever goes away, and really, I don't want it to

I so agree with you - although I didn't start my blog to review - I still am in awe of some reviewers - and I don't think that will ever go away as well..

I will definitely be checking out yours and Kris book - so I have something to email you about...


Jaime Samms said...

Here's something else interesting. Whenever someone tells me they're going to check out my work, I have a little freak-out moment. A "what if I got it all wrong and they don't like it?" moment.


That probably never goes away, either. ;)

Lisabet Sarai said...

Rock stars??? (Spitting out coffee in hilarity) Oh please! Readers, we authors are people exactly like you. Maybe even a bit more desperate for validation!

Writing can be very lonely, and feedback is like gold to us. Even critical feedback is really helpful. I'd love to know what I was doing wrong, as well as what I'm doing right!