Well they do. Sometimes. But rarely like Susan Boyle. The paparazzi don't wait outside an author's door, hoping to snag a photo of her in her pajamas.
Even the picture on the back of her book won't help folks recognize her in public, not if her photographer did his job. Compare Jonathan Franzen's author photo (left) with the truth (right) and ask yourself if you would notice him in the checkout line at Walmart.
No, you wouldn't, and that's just as it should be. We don't want to be celebrities. We want to be read.
In a comment to Latayne's post on Monday about measures of success, Bonnie brought up the "'blessing the hearts and lives of others' measure that, while important in mainstream fiction, is 'critical' in Christian fiction." She went on to say that "For some writers an e-mail from a reader telling them the book has brought them closer to God in some way is success enough."
So today we're going to share some of the messages we have received from readers. These are our dearest measures of success:
"I just finished reading Talking to the Dead and it filled me with capital "H" hope on many levels - reminding me that God is with me ... and reminding me that God is always there for those that are seeking. "
"Thank you for your wonderful book, Like a Watered Garden. Following my mother's death, my grief consumed me and my faith in God waivered. Your book has encouraged me to open my Bible again and draw near to Him."
"(Latter Day Cipher) quickly becomes much more than it appears. One part murder mystery and one part exposé of the theological flaws in one of the worlds most powerful religions; in addition the book addresses quite well what happens when someone suffers a crisis in faith, when the very foundations of their beliefs are shaken and cracked."
Sharon K. Souza:
"There was something about (Lying on Sunday) that intrigued me. Once I started, I couldn't wait till I had half an hour or an hour to read it. I especially liked the ending. No matter what bad thing happens to us, we can look to Christ to bring us through. Thank you for the incredible ride."
"Oh, I fully enjoyed Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon! I wish I didn't have to let the characters go. They were so realistic. It is going down in my history as one of my favorites. I loved the paragraph at the end of chapter 41, it has written itself into my heart."
"The Feast of Saint Bertie is the first Christian fiction I have ever read, and boy did you set the bar high! ... For me it contained pearls of wisdom that left me breathless. Your book was dark chocolate for my soul. I have read, re-read, and underlined passages. The gratitude centered message of the book has blessed me, my children, and my husband."
You writers: have you heard from your readers? We would love for you to share the messages that have blessed and encouraged you.
And you readers: have you written to an author lately? What did you say? Or if you haven't, consider this the place to practice a bit of fan mail for your favorite author. He or she would love to hear from you, and we at Novel Matters would be happy to share your process.