By Ally Shields

May 25, 2018

 Ally Shields illusWho doesn’t love book fans? Those intrepid readers who snatch up every book you write on the day it’s released, the book clubs who analyze your characters from motives to what they wore in a particular scene, and the bloggers who sing your praises in online reviews. Sigh. Fantastic. The kudos are wonderful…like warm fudge cake with double chocolate frosting.

But fans can also be your most persistent critics. Such as the reader who takes you to task for too many commas or too few, for the over-usage of “warm” words, or complains that the model on the cover doesn’t look like her concept of the heroine. And I vividly recall the reader/reviewer who’d read all of my Guardian Witch novels but was sharply indignant that one of my characters, in one book, used the word Ugh! She explained at length how this didn’t fit the character’s personality or the atmosphere of the scene. (By the way, I agreed with her. While proofing for the print edition, I deleted the word!)

How could I—or any author—not be flattered by all of this? They’d read my books! And carefully enough they could talk about them, in minutia. They knew the characters, the plots, and subplots better than I did. An author couldn’t wish for more.

reviews picBut book fans don’t always understand the power they can wield. Series live or die on sales, and those are often dependent on the number of positive reviews. The best book in the world will never be enjoyed if readers don’t know it’s there. Placements in search engines and on best seller lists, even acceptance for advertising, and ultimately sales are driven by reviews. And believe me, my publisher pays even more attention to them than I do. She can quote from them.

demon picAre there “bad fans?” That almost seems like an oxymoron, but yes, there are those who carry fandom too far, who stalk authors online, or even worse, bully other readers who aren’t fans of their favorite author. Like others, I’ve been on the receiving end of someone’s misdirected fans, and it’s best just to ignore them. Most authors don’t want or appreciate this kind of support. Personally, I believe these “trolls” need to get a life. But enough said about that aberrant minority.

Real book fans are the life and breath of authors. Like roses thrown upon the actors’ stage, we love hearing from you. I respond to every email and any tweets I catch. Whether it’s a personal note, a comment on the blog, or a review posted somewhere, I hope readers keep them coming. Authors are depending on you….

And feeling so grateful you “get” their books.

Ally’s website is here: