Thursday, May 10, 2018

Every Book Needs Readers

by Giselle Renarde

Last year, I talked about filling The Well of Creativity with every kind of media I can get my face on.

At that time, I viewed myself as a dry well. I've shifted a touch, to view myself as a fallow field. A healthier outlook, I hope.

We all need to rest once in a while. I used to be obsessed with the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Aspects of Love. One of the first lines in the show is: "I'm resting again--that's what actresses say when they're not in a play." Am I resting because I'm not writing? Or am I not writing because I'm resting? Either way, I'm not in a play.

Most writers are readers first. Reading is important to fill The Well. Watching movies, TV, plays, listening to audiobooks and Andrew Lloyd Webber musicals--it all helps us to be better writers. But I covered that last time.

I'm revisiting the importance of reading (and watching and listening) because a new thought occurred to me the other day, another reason it's so important to be a voracious consumer of media:

Every Book Needs Readers

Before, I was thinking about the benefits of reading to me, as a creative writer and human person. Now, I'm thinking about the benefits of reading to the author of that book, and even to the book itself.

One of the reasons my will to write has dwindled is that there are far fewer eyes on my words than there used to be. Or at least it feels that way. Every time a reader picks up a story I wrote, a novel or an anthology or short, that's huge for me. Every sale is a big deal, but it's not even about the sale. I put so much time and energy, so much of myself, into everything I write. I want eyes on those words.

So now, every time I read a book, I imagine how pleased the author must be that their words are being read. Kind of silly, I know. They're probably so successful that one more set of eyes makes no difference to them. But maybe readers think that about me. After all, I'm a full-time writer. I've been doing this job for more than a decade. Maybe readers consider me established.

I hope they know how much it means to me when they consume my words. Every book I write needs readers. If my words aren't read, what's the point in writing them?

I used to think of reading as part of my ongoing author education. And it is. But lately, I've considered it more of an imperative. I'm particularly drawn toward books that are out of print, stories that aren't online, aren't available on Amazon, aren't ebooks. Yellowed paperbacks that will cease to exist once these few copies have come apart. They're on their last legs.

Every book needs readers. Doesn't matter what you're reading, as long as you're reading. But, for me, those yellowed finds are the ones I want to read... before they disappear forever.
Oh, and if you're reading these words before Mother's Day (Sunday May 13th) 2018, I just want you to know you can read some of my words for free. Years ago, I wrote a sweet romance called LOVE AGAIN. It's a second chance romance about older adults finding each other nearly 40 years after high school. Anyway, it's newly re-issued and free from certain vendors at the moment. I'd love for you to have a copy. More words to read!


  1. I don't know about other authors, but if a person tells me he or she is reading one of my stories, it absolutely makes my day.

    I've downloaded Love Again and look forward to savoring your wonderful words.


  2. "You don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. Just get people to stop reading them." Ray Bradbury, on a bumper sticker on my truck.

    Husband and I just walked in from going to the yearly AAUW (Association of American University Women) book sale. Husband goes for sci-fi anthologies, the big,hard-cover ones. He's been enjoying books written back when we were kids, as well as more recent ones. He's really big on sci-fi short stories. I bought a few Ann McCaffrey books. I also bought replacements for a couple of the books in a 4-book dragon series, which I've owned since my kids were young, and have loaned out to many of the kids I tutor. All 4 of the books are falling is even missing pages. So any time I can find one of these out-of-print books, I pick them up.

    If I stop to think that my words will never be read, I'll be too depressed to write anymore. But the stories will still keep growing in my head, and demanding their separate existence...out of my head. So I'll just keep on stealing moments out of my life to write, and hope for the best. Judging by my royalties, that "best" is a long way off. But maybe someday...

  3. Have you considered altering the genre slightly that you write in to allow you to get out of the rut you're in? Possibly a different type of story will reinvigorate you.

    On the other hand, if you don't feel creative and are okay with it then entertain yourself by reading the works of others until the dry spot ends.

  4. I get to feeling guilty if my anthologies aren't doing well because that means my writers aren't getting read, after they've trusted me with their work. And when it comes to my own stories I long for my characters to get the attention I think they deserve, or might if I'd handled things differently. On the other hand, they wouldn't exist at all without me, so there's that.

  5. I agree that books need readers! Sometimes I comfort myself with the thought that books often have much longer lives than their authors, and they can always be rediscovered and can inspire other works. Re Anne McCaffery's "Dragonsinger" books, I have 2 paperbacks that I bought at yard sales, but I think there are at least 10 in the series. When she passed away a few years ago, I read that a grown son of hers had recorded music supposedly sung by the dragonsingers (bards) in the books to remind younger generations of the danger caused by "threadfall," and the importance of dragons. I'll see if I can find a link.

  6. Try this:

  7. Or type in "The Question Song" on Youtube.

  8. I have a bit of a fraught relationship with the idea of my words being read. Sometimes the thought is agonizing to me. On the other hand, I can easily see what you're talking about, that books need readers. And the idea that I don't have many does make me sad. This post speaks to your usual compassionate and empathetic focus, Giselle. :)


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