I don’t know if anyone has ever told you this, but you are the most important person to an author. Maybe nobody ever considered telling you, because they thought you already knew. Maybe they have told you and you didn’t believe them, or you thought they were mistaken, but it’s true.
There are many reasons that an author writes. Sometimes it is to get a story out that they just have to tell. It can be because they want money or fame. Other times it is because they want to have an effect on the world, on people. Whatever the reason for writing, you are the answer, and I don’t think you get told that enough. Without you, authors are talking into a vacuum. That tree that falls in the forest, you are the ones there to hear it. So, I want to thank you.
There is a lot of change in the publishing industry right now. The arrival of the digital revolution has thrown a lot of people into chaos. Some people are happy about it, others aren’t. There are those who complain about the lack of ‘Gatekeepers’, meaning the agents and publishers who would filter the stories that reach your bookshelves. Some people are upset that the gatekeepers no longer hold the keys to the kingdom of publishing, and that authors can now choose to walk through the gates whenever they choose by self-publishing. However, this isn’t the truth. There are still gatekeepers, and they are more important than ever.
Because, here is the secret… You are the gatekeepers.
Whether the publishing industry wants to accept it or not, readers have always been the gatekeepers of the publishing industry. They decide which books become sensations and which fall by the wayside. It is their love of a great story that decides how well a book travels. It is their appreciation of professionalism, their enjoyment of well told stories and engaging prose. You hold the best hand at the entire poker table, and now is the time to show that hand and collect all the chips.
So, again, I want to thank you. I want to praise your hand and how well you play it. Readers are the most honest audience we can hope for. They are not looking at cash returns on a publishing investment, nor are they balancing spreadsheets on sales numbers to decide whether an author weaves them another tale. They are looking at enjoyment, at love, and it is honest and wonderful.
Reader, I would also like to encourage you. I would like to urge you to use your hand as best you can. Tell your friends when you find a book you love. Write a review on Amazon, Goodreads, or wherever you feel like posting it. Share your love of a story, and hand that gate key you’ve been holding to the next person who wants to enter. Nothing will make them want to go through that gate more than being told what awaits them by somebody they know and trust.
Enjoy those Gatekeeper keys, because you know what? You deserve it.
A Grateful Author.