Connecting With My Readers
My readers come from all walks of life and age groups. Last weekend I had the privilege and pleasure of being invited to have dinner with an enthusiastic, eighty-seven-year-old lady. Having read and loved both my books she mentioned to her son her desire to meet me. The minute I met Sally, (she insisted I call her that), we connected. She was tiny, feisty, incredibly interested and interesting with a wicked, sharp sense of humour.
Sally related to my book, ‘Innocent Nurses Abroad’, having worked in the same Knightsbridge Nursing Agency in London as I had. She also had lived in Fulham. Despite the fact she was several years before my time, her story resonated with mine. She revealed to me that she too, had returned home from travelling abroad considerably overweight, to the extent her family walked past her at the railway station without recognising her!
This delightful lady kept looking at me and saying,
“You are a remarkable person.” Then she would turn to Rick with a mischievous twinkle in her eye and declare that he had a ‘treasure of a wife,’ a statement he had to agree with in such company! I must admit to enjoying this banter.
Following a delicious dinner and several glasses of wine, I had a strong desire to discover more about Sally’s life. Following the bravado of humorous stories accompanied by laughter, often bringing everyone to tears, I found myself alone with Sally.
Her story moved me as she recounted living through the Blitz in London with her mother and sister, not seeing her father for five years, sleeping in an air raid shelter every night, the hardships, lack of everyday essentials and the fear. When Sally married, she and her husband migrated to Australia on the Italian ship ‘Castel Felice.’ She told me that it was to be cut up to make razor blades and scissors after their voyage! I’m not sure if she was serious or not!
And on the stories flowed. Her son and daughter-in-law begged her to record her story and I pleaded with her to do so. It is typical of this wonderful generation, who have lived through so much, to feel their story is not interesting!
As I hugged Sally goodbye, she looked me in the eye and said,
‘I have had a wonderful life. I am totally happy, I love where I live (in a Retirement Village), I wouldn’t change a thing in my life.’ I love that!
My final words to Sally were ‘You MUST record your story.’
What a pleasure it was to meet one of my readers, and connect with her and hear HER story, which I sincerely hope will be documented. I will follow her up!
Throughout the Covid lockdown it has been limiting for me to connect with readers for my latest book ‘Innocent Nurses Abroad.’ I find that my success comes best from face to face presentations. However, this hasn’t been possible, which has had personal benefits. I have been pushed out of my comfort zone and made to expand my thinking and move more into social media. I am eternally grateful to the team at Ocean Reeve Publishing, particularly Ocean Reeve who has been my mentor since 2014. He is patient, kind, but also insistent! He and his marketing manager Josh Clifton have been running fortnightly zoom mentoring sessions. I have never heard of another publishing company that offer such guidance to their authors.
As I sit and listen and write furious notes, I am inspired to follow their recommendations and do more. It’s not only the advice received, but the fellowship, support, encouragement and ideas from fellow authors in the group. We have exchanged books, created author interviews and helped each other with marketing our books. Our connections are strong and trustworthy. One day we will have a big party when we can get together face to face!
Yesterday, I nervously did my first ‘live’ on Facebook. Oh, my goodness, it was pretty stilted, but I was AUTHENTIC!! If I’m unable to connect personally with my readers, a ‘live’ is the next best thing. I’m hoping I will improve with practice and remember to add where to purchase my books!
I have personally met many of my readers, but the majority of my connections are through social media. I always put a business card with my personal details inside the cover of each book, allowing for easy communication and, hopefully, a review.
Until next time, happy connecting!