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A Writer's Hug


photo courtesy of a reader


I received this bonnie photo from a reader last week, along with this message,

‘LOVE IT!!!!!!! Such a treat to sit on the beach at the weekend, children playing, book in hand! Bliss…and very much thanks to you!!!

I don’t think readers understand just how much a nice little note like this means to writers, or at least to this writer anyway.

It comes on the back of Margaret Skea, a writer of historical novels, posting about a great review she got on Goodreads. I had commented that it would feel like a writer's hug to her, and she agreed.

Whether it is a good review or a more personal note it feels much the same. Especially if it is unexpected. Although, a review will have more impact on sales. Readers, taking the time out of their own lives to tell us how much they enjoyed our book, gives us an incredible buzz.

When we question our ability as writers, as many do, it helps brush away that nasty little whisper in the back of our minds that causes us to doubt ourselves. The closest we may have to a boss that would praise us once the book is out there may well be our agent, editor, or publisher. Receiving praise from them can feel similar in a way, to it coming from your family. Only payment is part of the relationship with the professionals, while the latter is often delivered through love.

That is one reason why reader’s views and comments are so important to us. They choose to spend their hard-earned money on our stories. No one has pleaded or paid for their input. They decide without any demands, to tell us how much they have enjoyed our writing.

As a reader myself, I value a book that can carry me off into someone else’s world of make-believe. Or indeed, a special interest book such as the recently released Scottish by Inclination by Barbara Henderson. I’m looking forward to disappearing into its pages. You may also notice that Barbara give me that lovely quote for the cover of Blàs of the Highlands.

I checked my inbox and there are more. ‘I was hooked from the first page’ or ‘looking forward to the next one,’ sends me quickly back to the PC. More words fly down or are taken out if it is editing. I can’t see myself ever feeling anything except excitement on reading comments or reviews such as these.

The Hungry Haggis Book Club has chosen to read Blàs of the Highlands this month. I am truly grateful to them for opting to read my book. I sincerely hope they all enjoy it. However, it is still scary in a way. If they hate it, will it mean I shall forever have to leave my house with dark glasses and a wig? And there it is, that writer’s self-doubt creeping in again

Blàs, Roots in the Soil is almost with us. It won’t be that long until it makes its way to other writers and readers for quotes. One will eventually adorn the cover. I’m hoping readers will love this next book as much as the first. It will be available to buy before I know it. This means that I need to make a bit more progress on the third Blàs story, and if it comes to that, my next Grumpa book too.

Before I go back to hiding myself in with the PC, I would just like to say, a big thank you to anyone who has purchased any of my books, be they written in Gaelic for children or English for adults. And an even bigger thank you to those who have taken time to send a review or note to tell me how much you have enjoyed them.

Have a great summer, wherever you spend it. Even if you can’t physically get away, I hope you manage to lose yourself in some great books over the season. And thank you all for the many ‘writer’s hugs’ you have sent me.

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