No, this isn’t a trick question.
It’s the challenge we ladies of the pen all face in our social media, digital, crazy, mad, mad world…
The answer is: BOTH.
The writer is me in total chaos working on an insanely difficult book about rape in France during World War II with a deadline looming. My office is a mess, I’m a mess… the manuscript, thank God, is NOT a mess but it’s not finished yet. Weaving such a trauma against the backdrop of the Nazi Occupation is the most gut-wrenching task I’ve ever faced. It’s taken me a while to get a handle on the story of two sisters and how the rape of one of them affects them both.
That’s the writer me.
Now for the author me.
That’s the me writing this post because this is my chance every month to reach out to you guys and let you know what’s going on in my world. It’s how we present ourselves to the book world and at times is as just as trying and difficult as the writer me.
Hence, my TikTok confession.
I hope you enjoy my video showing me in my office drowning in research material… oh, Lord.
And now for some good stuff, if I may.
My WW2 story THE ORPHANS OF BERLIN is now FREE to read in PRIME on Amazon
THE OPRHANS OF BERLIN
Meet the Landau Sisters barely surviving in Nazi Germany… and Kay Alexander, the amazing debutante from Philadelphia who will stop at nothing to save them from the Nazis in 1939 Berlin…
And of course, there’s a British pilot hero to die for…
Like so many people, I told myself ‘when Covid ends I’ll finish (fill in your WIP)’. As Covid dragged on, I became sluggish and uninspired when it came to writing, so I decided to give my most popular series, The Josie Bates Thrillers, a cover make-over.
I was going to have my wonderful graphic designer tackle the project, but found myself indecisive regarding the direction I wanted take. Without constructive input, her job would be impossible, so I decided to do a few rough drafts to clarify my thinking. Instead, I became obsessed with the process of redefining my work. This is what I learned when I went all in on DIY cover design.
I received my first fan letter 36 years ago from a lady named Bev. I wrote back a thank you note. She wrote back. I wrote back. Bev was the first, but she wasn’t the last to write to me. I have met the most wonderful, interesting, smart, and kind people all because we share a love for a good story. Some of these fan-friends even show up in my books (with their permission of course). New friendships are the priceless benefits of writing and the bottom line is that those friendships start because one person reached out to say thank you. This seems the perfect time to offer a few suggestions for readers who want to thank their favorite author for the hours of entertainment, and authors who want to send the love back.
A follow on Twitter or Facebook is great, but interacting with your favorite author on those platforms is truly special. One of my favorite followers is a truck driver who posts pictures from the road. I love getting a shout out while she is on her travels.
Every author has a contact form on their website. Send your favorite storyteller an email or, better yet, snail-mail. A quick note about how much you enjoyed a specific book and ‘keep writing’ encouragement is priceless.
Reviews on Amazon, Goodreads or any other review platform is the best way to show your gratitude for the months – sometimes years – an author has spent writing a book.
Finally, if the spirit moves you, share your art or passion. I have been honored to receive a crocheted blanket from a reader, another sent needles from her mother’s sewing kit because she knew I sewed and her mother had enjoyed my books. One reader – a woman in the U.S. Army – sent me a pair of combat boots!
When you get a fan letter, write back. Auto responses or an assistant written messages are no-nos. It’s so easy to discover the person behind the letter, so take a little time to look at Twitter and Facebook profiles. Maybe you’ve been to her* hometown. Perhaps she just got married or has sent her kids back to school. Do her posts show pets or hobbies that you share? Personalize your letter if you can. Always let her know you are thankful that she wrote, and for the time she spent reading your work. Remember your readers are a family of fans, so showing genuine gratitude should be second nature.
Every once in a while, when the situation calls for it, I send a gift to someone special like a homebound reader, or a young writer who has asked for advice. This is usually a book, but I’ve also sent a little glass jar filled with sand from Hermosa Beach where Josie Bates plays volleyball. Of course, we can’t do this for everyone, but sometimes a special situation calls for it.
Finally, if a reader asks you to speak to a local (and I stress local)group or book club, do it. In person interaction is energizing and your fan will love you for it.
So, Happy Thanksgiving all. I appreciate everyone who has spent the time reading this post, who has ever read one of my books, the person who is thinking about reading one of my books, and all those wonderful readers who follow me on my social platforms. And now, since I’m a reader too, I think I’m going to go write a note to my favorite author…just to say thanks.
*PS Men write fan letters too, and being contacted by a fiction-reading guy is really a great feeling! And yes, click Hostile Witness. It’s free. My way of saying thank you.
Sometimes, you get it right….
When I saw this review of my Titanic love story THE RUNAWAY GIRL, it tugged at my heart.
Yes, it’s a wonderful 5 star review, but more importantly, my story has captured the interest of a young girl who wasn’t much of a reader beforehand.
Reviewed in the United States on September 23, 2020
Two women hold the keys to his heart. Only one will survive that fateful night…
When Ava O’Reilly is wrongly accused of stealing from her employer, she has no option but to flee Ireland. The law is after her, and she has only one chance at escape – the Titanic.
Aboard the ship of dreams, she runs straight into the arms of Captain ‘Buck’ Blackthorn, a dashing gentleman gambler who promises to be her protector. He is intrigued by her Irish beauty and manages to disguise her as the maid of his good friend, the lovely Countess of Marbury. Little does he realise, that the Countess is also in love with him.
As the fateful night approaches, tragedy strikes further when Ava is separated from Buck, and must make a daring choice that will change her life forever…
A sweeping historical romance set aboard the Titanic, from the author of Her Lost Love (Christmas Once Again).
Praise for Jina Bacarr:
‘A delightful holiday romance that has all the charm of a classic Christmas movie. Christmas Once Again is perfect for anyone who loves a holiday romance brimming with mistletoe, hope, and what ifs.’ Andie Newton, author of The Girl I Left Behind ‘A breathtaking holiday romance that is sure to stay with you long after reading’
‘A mesmerizing holiday romance that is sure to sweep you off your feet and take you away to another place, another time.’
‘A fabulous book you won’t want to miss’ https://youtu.be/S-33oEM4DlI
THE RUNAWAY GIRL e-book, print and audio book:
This book is incredible a truly remarkable story, Sylvie diary, notes photo's and recordings are inspiring. the real story of glamourous Sylvie Martone has to be solved and told. She will never be forgotten. I loved it
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