Sunday, April 01, 2012

Growing closer to readers

One unexpected effect of the Internet—social media, epublishing, author websites, etc.—is that readers have become closer.

In the past, for an author, readers constituted a big blur. When my first book, a Regency romance called Lady in Disguise, was published in 1983 in hardcover, all I knew was that it was being sold primarily to libraries.

The main feedback I received came from professional publications such as Library Journal, which called it “…a spirited romp … witty dialogue will help keep the reader hooked.”

That’s nice, but was anyone—beyond a few letter writers--actually reading it?

Now, I’ve reissued Lady in Disguise as an ebook, and all that has changed. Not only can I see how many have sold each day on Amazon, I can also find readers’ comments. On most of my books, they’re positive. Of course, this system also opens an author to negative reviews, sometimes thoughtful, sometimes idiotic (of the “I wouldn’t want my boyfriend to act like the hero so I’m giving it a one-star” variety). Or even the drive-by diss that Barnes & Noble allows, where someone can anonymously post one or two stars without any comment. Grrrr!

By the way, if you like a book, please be kind to the author by posting a favorable review, however brief, or a positive rating on B&N. Those do affect sales.

And if you know anyone who thinks it’s clever to “buy” an ebook, read it quickly and then return it for a full refund, please let them know that the author can see this, too.

Back to the fun part. I enjoy meeting readers through Twitter, where I’m @Jacquediamond. I’ve also met readers through sites such as Good Reads and Wattpad.

Plus I appreciate the review websites. The Baby Dilemma, my April Harlequin—the eighth book in my Safe Harbor Medical series—began receiving enthusiastic reviews in late March.

Sometimes there are unexpected benefits. Anne Glover, who writes fascinating historical blogs and Regency reviews at, praised Lady in Disguise but didn’t like my cover. She introduced me to Kelly at, who designed my new Regency covers including the one shown here.

Authors of previous generations never imagined such one-on-one contact. Despite a few drawbacks, it’s a great boost for authors. And, I hope, for readers, too.

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