by Toni Blake

I think, as human beings, we all have an inherent need to simply--yep--be liked. And appreciated. We can spend all the time we want saying we don't care about that, but, really, don't we?

I find that, as a novelist, nothing makes me feel more validated than getting a letter or e-mail from a reader telling me how much they loved one of my books. Maybe this is because writing can be a lonely profession--you spend months by yourself creating something that you hope your readers will love as much as you do. But, really, no matter what we do in our lives, I think we all thrive on recognition.

When I got to thinking about this, I realized that even my characters, without my planning it, want to be liked and appreciated by others. Lindsey, the heroine of LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER (currently at a bookstore near you!), thrives on feedback from her audience. She writes a fun advice column and blog, but only when she gets positive feedback and experiences interaction with her fans does she really take complete joy in her work.

Rob, the book's gruff, sexy hero, spends much of the story convinced he doesn't need people or care what they think of him, but in the end, when details of his mysterious past are revealed (and no, I can't tell you more or it would ruin the surprise) we discover that, deep down, even Rob enjoys being liked and appreciated, too.

On a personal note, I recently received a piece of very exciting recognition for my work: my previous book, TEMPT ME TONIGHT, has been nominated for a RITA award! I didn't see that coming, but it sure did make me feel energized to see my work celebrated that way.

The winner won't be announced until August 2, but, no matter what happens, it's true what they say: it really is an honor just to be nominated.

So tell me, readers, do you thrive on recognition? Who has recognized or appreciated you for something you've done? What gesture or gift or reward made you feel truly valued? And how do you show others that you appreciate them or their work, friendship, love, etc.?

I'm also happy to chat about anything else that comes to mind and, meanwhile, I hope you'll check out LETTERS TO A SECRET LOVER. You can read an excerpt and watch the rockin' book video by Clicking Here.


Blogger Sin said:

I always try to write authors that I read to let them know how much I enjoyed their books. I think that's an important part of being a reader. Writing is a lonely occupation (you can't count hearing your characters in your head. No matter if you do talk to them. LOL) So the only way to let the author know how much you truly enjoy their talent is to email or write them.

Great blog, Toni!

11:54 AM  

Blogger Sin said:

PS. Congrats on your RITA nod! It's well deserved!

11:54 AM  

Anonymous Toni Blake said:

Sin, thank you for stopping by to comment : ) And also for the congratulations - I'm super excited about it : )

I also thank you, on behalf of authors everywhere, for knowing how much reader praise means. I think most of us are writing with the hopes that people will connect with our stories, so to find out you actually achieved that is always truly gratifying : )

1:23 PM  

Blogger Lindsey said:

Great blog, Toni, and congrats on your release! I think I worry a bit less about being liked now than I did when I was younger, but it's still a huge part of my makeup.

Sin, that's great that you make such an effort to let authors know you've enjoyed their books. This is only something I've started to do more recently. When I first started reading romance a couple years back, I didn't realize how approachable most authors are. I had this idea of published writers as glamorous and important and very, very busy. It's taken me a while to adjust to the idea that shooting them an email of praise for their work is not bothersome. :)

1:31 PM  

Blogger terrio said:

Great blog, Toni. I admit it feels good to get that little unexpected bit of praise. I recently started my day with an email from a friend who just wanted to tell me she appreciated me. It was so sweet it made me tear up and really got my day off to a great start.

And I also love when my daughter says I'm the best mom in the world. Though she's a bit biased. :)

I've gotten to an age where being respected is more important than being liked. I don't expect everyone to like me, but I think I deserve respect and hate it when someone dismisses me. Don't know why but that really bothers me.

I've been reading romance for many years and it never would have occurred to me to send a note of thanks to an author until the last couple of years. I still have that first thought that the author is to busy to care about a note from me, but then I remember all the great authors I've *met* (like you!) and send that thank you on through.

2:00 PM  

Anonymous Toni Blake said:

Ah, now Terri, that's what I'm talkin' about ; ) LOVE that your friend was so thoughtful, and your daughter, too. I think it's just lovely to show appreciation for someone, as well as to recieve it : )

And I'm glad that, like Lindsey, you let authors know when you enjoy their work : )

2:05 PM  

Anonymous Toni Blake said:

Well, darn, I answered Lindsey's post, but I think I forgot to do the verification word and it's gone. So, to try to remember what I said ... ; )

I'm so glad you guys let authors know when you love their books - it always makes my day when someone takes the time to track down my e-mail address and sends me a message about one of my books; to me, it's about the most gratifying part of the job : )

And interesting about not caring as much about if we're liked as we get older. True enough, I have to agree - and it's probably a sign of maturity. But I will admit I thrive on knowing things I do are appreciated, and I always try to let other people feel MY appreciation, as well - I think even if we don't necessarily need or seek validation for stuff we do that it's always nice to get it anyway : )

2:09 PM  

Blogger MsHellion said:

I'm a Pisces: I thrive on recognition (and I wilt when it doesn't exist...or worse, when there is only criticism. Criticism makes you better, but at least tell me what I was doing right.)

Congrats on the RITA nod!! :)

But I'm with Terri about the respected rather than liked. I don't want to necessarily be "liked"--because that's not always true. The internet has an amazing ability to have cliques that will send you zipping right back to high school. But on the whole the internet does have LOTS of very supportive women and writers--so you just have to find the right group. But it's usually a small group. *grins* It's not universal appreciation, but it's sincere...and they GET you.

I think that's what people want most of all: they want to be *GOT*/understood.

2:26 PM  

Anonymous A Simple Life said:

hello! thanks for being a top EC dropper on my blog. as my way of saying thank you i gave you a linky love. see yah ;)

3:13 PM  

Anonymous Toni Blake said:

Hey Hellion - thank you for stopping by to comment! I think you hit the nail on the head with your very last sentence : ) I couldn't agree more : )

A Simple Life, I think you're referring to the Avon Romance Blog in general? Thanks for stopping by today, though : )

3:35 PM  

Blogger limecello said:

Congratulations on the nomination, Toni, that's so exciting!
I'm not sure why, but I've rarely written authors to let them know I like their books. I'll comment on blogs, or their blogs, or if we're already in communication for some reason.
I don't know why but I always felt "below the author's notice" - maybe it's the authors I was reading :P. I also felt like I needed more substance/ a "better reason" to contact them. Also, I've only "cold called" (shall we say) 2 authors ever, and one ignored me :(. I think I may have emailed them twice, even. Haven't really tried since.

5:27 PM  

Blogger Jane said:

Congrats on the RITA nomination. I have written to authors about how much I like their books. I've ony done it a few times and I always got a response, so I didn't feel like I wasted my time or the author was too busy to email me.

5:48 PM  

Anonymous Toni Blake said:

Hello Jane and Limecello - thanks so much for stopping by. Thanks for the congrats about the Rita nom, Limecello, and sorry that you haven't always gotten a warm response from the authors you've contacted. Admittedly, there are probably some people who are really crazy-busy and can't always answer their mail, which is a bummer. I've been pretty crazy-busy myself lately, but I hope I never get THAT busy ; ) That said, I think authors are thrilled to hear from readers through any medium - a message, a blog, etc. : )

Thanks again to you both for stopping by and chiming in! I appreciate it : )

6:03 PM  

Blogger Ann Christopher said:

Toni, I picked this one up the other day and can't wait to read it. That cover is just gorgeous.

10:16 AM  

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