|Reception for my first book.|
I write because I enjoy telling a story. I told my brother stories when I was a child. When I became a teenager, I started writing short stories and poems. I enjoyed writing papers in college, and now in my later years I’m a published writer – yes, self-published except for stories in one magazine and in anthologies. Maybe it’s because I’m not traditionally published, although I’m not sorry I went that route at all. Even though there are an incredible number of self-published authors now, there’s still a stigma with being indie published.
Although much of my enjoyment comes from the writing of stories, poetry and books, it’s even better when my writing is enjoyed by others. Gradually, I’m finding I have a fan base. This may be hard to believe by other writers, but except for a few weeks after my first book was up on Amazon, I have never read the reviews there for any of my books. Probably it’s because I dread reading any negative ones.
|My Red Read Robin Book Club with only a few showing here.|
It’s not that people haven’t told me they enjoyed my books, at least some people I know. Several women in one of my book clubs buy each new book when it comes out and tell me how much they enjoyed it. I also have several fans that look forward to buying each of my books from The Village Book Store in Garrettsville, Ohio. They check in with the owner often to see if my latest is out yet. And a sister and brother-in-law in Washington State always email me when they finish the latest book and compliment me. My brother-in-law sent an email to thank me for my latest book, “We got your new book yesterday. Started reading it and couldn’t put it down until I finished it. I think it is the best one yet! Can’t wait until the next one.” My sister also liked it.
|Author's Ally at Malice Domestic|
Probably because of the self-publishing stigma, I never felt my books were outstanding. Maybe it was because when our SinC chapter has a yearly event, only the traditionally published authors are on the panels. Even though I was getting checks from Amazon for print books and another one for e-books at least three times a year or more. However, I have been on a panel at Malice and also was a moderator for a panel there. I’ve been in the Malice-go-round two years, and in Author’s Alley, so even though I’m not eligible for an Agatha, I’m still recognized as an author.
And then in February, as I was delivering a pie for my church’s annual Lenten fish dinners, a young man spied me coming down the hall. He threw up his hands and shouted out, “Here comes my favorite author” so loud everyone around started laughing. We first got acquainted through the poetry I submitted to the Family News Letter he publishes for the church. He’s also a professor at a local college. He’d told me then he loved my books, but not quite as loudly as that evening when he said he loved, loved, loved my books and has his mother hooked on them, too.
|A book signing at Malice Domestic next to Sparkle Abby|
Since I’m not one to promote myself as anyone special (even writing this blog goes against my grain), it’s always surprising and pleasing to get compliments on my books. Recently I’ve had a woman from my church call and ask me for my latest book. I took it to her after I finished delivering Mobile Meals. Later she contacted me and said she was disappointed because she’d planned to have something to read all week, but got so hooked on it she couldn’t put it down so it didn’t last two whole days.
Then there are the letters from several children who wrote me after reading my middle-grade book The Sherlock Holmes Detective Club. “Dear Mrs. Alden, So far I read your book. My favorite student is Andrew. I like his funny jokes. My favorite character from this book is Mrs. Alden. She is a great teacher letting the children write letters to Mrs. Van Brocken. I have dark brown hair and brown eyes. When I grow up I want to be a 3rd grade teacher.” There is more of this letter, too, including an acrostics poem, and he even e-mailed me from my webpage. I also received two other letters from the granddaughters of one of my church members who bought that book for them for Christmas.
There have been others, too. When I voted this spring, there wasn’t anyone voting at the time so I visited with the four women who were working for the election. I mentioned I’m a writer and what kind of books I write, and one woman wanted my first two books. So I sold her them out of my car. A month later she called me and wanted to know if she could buy my last four books because she enjoyed the first two so much. This was before my latest one came out.
In May I was contacted by Pat Rullo, who wanted to interview me on her talk radio show. We set up a time and date in June. She called and talked with me that day before starting to interview me. She told me to stay on the line after the interview because she wanted to talk longer with me about things other than my writing. The thing that surprised me was when I listened to it on the site later, it didn’t sound like me at all although friends and family said it did. For my donation to a charitable program for veterans she supports, it will be up on that site as well as others for 52 weeks. To listen to my interview go to http://www.speakuptalkradio.com/gloria-alden/. After the interview we talked for almost a half hour. She wants to meet me in person since she lives less than an hour away, and she wants to read more of my books.
Last week I went to a retired teacher’s luncheon with teachers from the district I taught in. It was the first one I attended because they didn’t have my email address until lately. When I got there, I only knew two of them well, one I was slightly familiar with and the others I didn’t know at all. However one of those I didn’t know recognized my name and started a conversation about my books. Eileen, the one who arranges the luncheons, buys my books and then passes them around to other teachers so I found out I had a fan base I didn’t know about except for Eileen. A woman named Mary Lou followed me to my car and bought my first book. When she finished it she emailed me saying she liked it and would like to come visit me.
A woman named Susan contacted me through my website and wrote: “Have read both Carnations for Cornelia, and Blood Red Poinsettias – new additions at WTCP Library and thoroughly enjoyed both. I like that you delve into the characters background and lives more fully than most mystery authors. Now I have to find the other books in the series and play catch-up. Thank you for a most interesting series.” Susan and I started an email conversation and since she lives locally, she came to visit me bringing sweet treats, and we spent a lovely afternoon together. She wanted to join a book club so I lent her the book I’d finished for my next book club and yesterday she joined us. When I introduced her and said how we met, two people who didn’t know my latest book was out wanted it, a member who rarely comes decided she wanted to read my first two, and bought those, and another member told me someone she knows in a nearby town has read my book, loved it and has been passing it around in her book club to read. She bought one of my other books to give to that woman. So I sold five books that day without any intention of doing so. Am I making a lot of money? Well after buying them from Create Space, paying for shipping, I get a little over $4.00 a book which probably averages out to not earning more than ten cents an hour of my time writing, editing and publishing my books not to mention printer ink because I back up all my writing with hard copy.
My father always said he wouldn’t praise his kids, but would be pleased if others did. Maybe that’s the reason that even though I enjoy the positive comments I receive, I’m still a little uncomfortable with it. One year I won Portage County’s Elementary School Teacher of the Year Award which included a banquet. I was so uncomfortable because the principal put up a huge banner congratulating me. Was I a good teacher? Yes. Did I want all that attention? Not really because we had a lot of good teachers in our small school. So yes, even though I enjoy hearing words of praise, I’m still a little uncomfortable with it.
What do you enjoy most about writing?
Are you ever uncomfortable with praise of your writing?