The reason I write and publish …

Island in the Clouds

It’s never been about the money (because, as I have said before, you’re more likely to win the Irish Sweepstakes than make much money at all in this publishing game), and it’s not about the fame (similar reason as for the money part).

It’s because I believe I have a story worth telling and that I’m the only one who can tell that story the way I’ve chosen to tell it.

But it’s mostly because I love to think that someone out there who has read what I’ve written will be touched by it in some way – hopefully in a positive way! – and that my story makes them think, feel, and experience something they would not have otherwise known, had I not written.

Someone like Heartny, for instance, who I met online through my blog when she commented on one of the posts I wrote about Chickungunya, as she too was suffering with the virus. We struck up an email conversation over the months and before I left Canada in early December to return to Bequia I sent her a print copy of my novel, Island in the Clouds. Imagine my extreme delight when I received this email comment (and I post here with her permission):

I had received your book last year around Christmas and I wanted to thank you so much for the beautiful gift …

Right before the book arrived, I had a major heart break and I was feeling really sad … So the book brought me some light and joy when I needed them the most … Thank you Susan.

I just couldn’t do many daily things like writing emails, eating, sleeping, and so on … So please forgive me that it took such a long time to write you a thank you email.

Now my heart feels better, I finally was able to go back to my normal routine and started reading the book, and I really like it … It is so cold in New York today. Now I can dream of the island in the clouds.

Thank you so much once again Susan.

Receiving an email like this, and from another reader who came to me through my Chikungunya posts (A from the UK, as I refer to him) – both previously unknown to me, plus the many personal comments and messages I’ve received from other readers, is far better than any number of reviews on Amazon or any other sites – because they’ve taken the time to tell me directly that reading my books has touched these people personally.

As an author, I think you just can’t ask for anything better than that!

I thank these readers especially though because it’s the comments like theirs that encourage me to keep writing …

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50 responses

  1. Susan, what genuine thoughts about writing. It’s all about the readers and how they are touched by our words. It only has to be one or two reader responses that stay with us and spur us on to keep writing. Brava, for you telling it like it “should” be! Christine

    1. Thank you for reading, Christine, and for your kind words!

  2. What a wonderful email. Things like that definitely warm a writer’s heart and make all our efforts worthwhile. So sorry to hear you suffered from Chickungunya though. No fun at all. 😦

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Carrie! And, yes, the Chikungunya is now down to a dull ache in my right arm. Awful virus!

      1. Not to mention a tricky one to pronounce and spell. πŸ˜‰

  3. Indeed! I know my bits of writing will never be published, except on my blog. But the feedback received is so important, that touching, connecting. Years ago, I wrote a letter to J.D.Salinger, never expecting anything. The letter I received, handwritten, touched me deeply and all these years later, still touches me. I had the letter framed and it hangs on my wall to remind me of that connection. Writing for the sheer joy of it is a wondrous thing! I wish you the joy of more letters and good reviews. Thank you for your words and for touching us.

    1. Thank you so much for sharing your story, kanzensakura! And thank you especially for your good wishes.

  4. Engaging with readers is what writing is about. Hopefully, more readers will realize the benefits of sharing their enjoyment and write to authors they like. It’s a win-win for both sides and costs nothing. πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, Tess!

  5. Reblogged this on How the Cookie Crumbles and commented:
    This post warms my heart: the essence of a writer.

  6. An enjoyable post – thank you, Susan.

    I can’t speak for all authors, but I can speak for myself: I have loved receiving letters from readers who enjoyed the book. Hundreds have written such notes and I have been grateful for every one, and always took the time to write a reply. I figured that if they could write me such meaningful notes, I could read and reply in similar fashion. After all, we do not write books for ourselves, but for others to read, enjoy and find meaning.

    1. Exactly, Cynthia! Thanks for sharing the story of your own success. I’ll bet that every one of those fans who wrote to you and received a personal reply now realizes how important it is to tell authors that we enjoy their writing, and they won’t hesitate now in contactinng other authors.

  7. Such an encouraging post, Susan. I have often wanted to write to authors but haven’t really been sure how. I did have the chance to meet two favourite authors last year. They are both Australian but have an international profile: Michael Leunig and Graeme Simsion. That was fabulous.
    I think trying to make a difference and help others is why so many of us want to take our writing out of the private sphere and share it with others…as well as the hope that we can at least afford to eat.

    1. Thanks for your comment, roweeee! And what fun that must have been to meet the authors – especially Graeme Simsion, whose The Rosie Project I loved reading! Best of luck with your own writing.

  8. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord – Variety is the spice of life and commented:
    We cannot touch the life of everyone who needs help. But as Susan says there is that special moment when your realise that you have made a difference to even one person and made them feel better about themselves. Yes we would all love to say that we make lots of money from our books but in the meantime… I would be happy to settle for an email like this one in the post in response to my writing….

    1. Thank you, Sally, for reading and commenting, and for all that you do to promote other writers, as well!

      1. My pleasure have a great weekend. best wishes

  9. The publishing journey isn’t an easy one and I think you’ve put into words so well why so many people want to write… Thank you for the quality post!

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Christy!

  10. Reblogged this on Tales from the Hills and commented:
    I think a lot of authors are inspired by these same things… an insightful post.

  11. You nailed it. If I wanted to make money I could have knuckled down and written to the guidelines of the big publishers, but it just wasn’t me. I want people to do as they have already done, come up to me and say, “It was so wonderful. I laughed, I cried, and I can’t wait for the next one.”

    1. Thanks for reading and commenting, dragons4me3, and very happy to hear you’ve had a similar experience with your writing!

  12. Indeed, that’s what it’s all about! Thanks for this inspiring post πŸ™‚

    1. Thank YOU for improving my thoughts and words, Editor!

  13. I absolutely understand where you’re coming from. The best thing about writing has been the people I’ve met along the journey. People like you, Susan!

    1. Aw, thank you, Tricia! I think the same of you. Thanks for all your support!

  14. Writing is sometimes a compulsion. But having someone say it reached them on any level – now that’s just winning the lottery!

    1. So true, philosophermouse!

  15. Great piece. We meet such nice people. πŸ™‚

  16. A nice honest posting… Thank you from Stay Cheeky, Scotland.

  17. Great post Susan. I think corresonding with new, nice people makes it worthwhile as you say. πŸ™‚

    1. Thank you, Suzanne! And thanks for being a faithful follower and commenter this past while. Much appreciated!

  18. My goodness, that’s got to be gratifying! Just goes to show, we don’t know how our work is going to affect someone out there — even better when it’s someone we don’t know. Congrats, Susan!

    1. I know of several readers who have been affected by your writing as well, Kevin – including me. I have told you privately in the past of how I feel about your writing, and also publicly by listing you as one of my favourite writers, but I do hope that other readers have also told you, as they’ve mentioned to me, that your characters and stories brought them to tears of sadness while also making them laugh. If they haven’t done so yet I’m telling you now. Thank you for writing and publishing!

      1. Aww, shucks! No, I didn’t mean to imply that I haven’t had my share of rewarding moments with readers. Just that, when it does happen, man, does it feel good!

        One reader of Yesterday Road really touched me, speaking of how her father suffered from dementia and how the book had a powerful effect on her. Now, that was a great one…

      2. πŸ™‚ So glad you are getting the recognition you deserve, Kevin!

  19. Great post – thanks for those thoughts which so many of us can relate to!

    1. Thanks so much, curtisbausse, for reading and commenting!

  20. Reblogged this on An Aspiring Writer and commented:
    Truly an inspirational posting for writers.

  21. Susan your, posting has caused me great reflection today and i want to thank you so much.

    I’m an aspiring writer and I’m not writing for money, yet I find pleasure and fulfillment in what I write.

    I hope to one day effect someone as you have me to day.

    Keep on posting as I will follow.

    1. Thank you so much for reading my post and commenting, Retirement Lifestyle! We all began at the beginning, so best of luck with your own writing!

  22. Great post! I agree with everything you said. I am not in it to make money (and I don’t!), but if a few out there connect with what I wrote, that’s what makes me most happy.

  23. How wonderful!!!! I’ve always dreamed of having my own book/cook book published. What a gift you have! Thanks!

  24. Reblogged this on Kev's Blog and commented:
    Answers from author Susan M Toy πŸ˜€

  25. Beautiful post and very true. I don’t think an author could receive a better compliment.

  26. Reblogged this on Seumas Gallacher and commented:
    …now THATS what it’s all about folks!… re-blogging this… a must!… thank you, m’Lady, Susan Toy…

  27. …now THATS what it’s all about folks!… re-blogging this… a must!… thank you, m’Lady, Susan Toy…

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