Tag Archives: connecting with readers

Considering Cliché: A Writer’s Unforgivable Sin?

The very first piece of advice that I remember anyone giving me about writing was, “Avoid cliché.” I was ten. I had to look up “cliché”. So now I have a question.

Dickens father of clicheA cliché is a word or phrase so worn out by overuse that it has deteriorated until it is meaningless. It may once have been striking. Today it is white noise.

The gentle reader ignores it. The ungentle critic berates the writer for laziness and lack of originality.

Dickens got away with “It is a far, far better thing I do, than I have ever done,” because he thought of it first. After that it became popular, then heard widely, then untouchable by any writer with pretensions to respectability.

Cliché, the Reader’s Friend?

Continue reading

THE Romantic Scene: Writing Rules? — Maybe

Hero Allure — Libertà’s Hero Poll Results

hero allure in autumn light

How often is hero allure part of what compels us to pick up a book?

Last week we asked people to vote on which qualities would hook them into the hero’s story. We were thinking of just that first engagement: what we learn from the blurb, the first few pages or Amazon’s sample.

Across A Crowded Room

With more and more novels to choose from every year, it’s becoming a major issue. I suppose it’s the literary equivalent of eyes meeting at a party. Something in you jumps to attention and says, “Oo yes, this one.” Continue reading

Appetising Heroes? Have YOUR say in the Hero Poll

?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?   Who Is The Man On Page One   ?  ?  ?  ?  ?  ?

hero in the mist - bring him into the light with hero pollBring YOUR hero out of the mist

Hero Poll — Romantic Heroes that draw YOU in

You check out the cover, the blurb, the first page or two. What is it about the hero — as he appears at the outset, warts and all — that makes you want to read his story? Continue reading

Designer Brief from Self-Publisher

The designer is key to a book’s reception. Readers see the cover before they’ve read a word.

A confession here: it took me a while to realise that this blog entry had to be called Self-Publisher to Designer not Author to Designer. The problem is I haven’t got used to seeing myself as publisher. Getting closer, after this experience, though.

hand writing a letter with a goose feather


I am a writer. Yet, by opting to self-publish, I’ve engaged in a twenty-first century business (ouch!) with many aspects: editorial, physical and digital production, marketing, sales, communications (that’s PR to  you and me) and finance.

And design! Here is what I’ve learned so far. Continue reading

Serendipity: a New Love Letter to a Favourite Novel


serendipity the key to a magic realm of readingHow many of us owe a lifelong love of a particular author to serendipity?

The kind of happy accident — in a bookshop, or a book sale, or perhaps even a hotel bedroom — when we pick up an author we haven’t heard of and start to read.

And ten minutes, or ten pages, later, we have the key to a whole new world and we are well and truly hooked.


New Love Letter to a Favourite Novel

Serendipity Love Letter to a Favourite NovelToday’s new Love Letter is from a male reader (small fanfare of trumpet here for sex equality in reading!). David describes the effect of just such an unexpected discovery — a hitherto unknown writer who has since become a must-buy for him and an essential part of his reading landscape.

Just the thing to warm the cockles of every writer’s heart.


Magician First edition cover

cover of first edition


The writer in question is Raymond E Feist and David’s happy discovery was Magician, an engrossing fantasy first published back in 1982. You can read David’s Love Letter here. Continue reading

The Reader Writer Connection: Guest Blog by Sue Moorcroft

reader writer connection with Sue Moorcroft

Today, our guest blogger is Sue Moorcroft, an award-winning author and writing tutor who sets the gold standard for the rest of us in the art of making the reader writer connection.

At Liberta’s request — we imagine we’re not the only ones who are looking for hints to improve our links with readers — Sue’s blogging about how she interacts with her readers.

Over to Sue…

Sue Moorcroft Connects with Readers

It’s always a good day when I receive a message from a reader.

Partly because I’m lucky enough to receive a lot of nice messages, which gives me a warm glow (you may prefer to call this ego-feeding!), but mostly because it proves my work’s being read and enjoyed.

reader writer connection


Continue reading

First Reader Love Letter to a Favourite Novel

First Love Letter to a Favourite Novel

Libertà’s First Reader Love Letter to a Favourite Novel

Our Love Letter to a Favourite Novel feature is still a work in progress. We’ve now refined it in the light of comments we’ve received from (we hope) intending contributors. We’re really grateful for all the supportive and encouraging suggestions and we hope you will keep them coming.

At this stage, we’ve got a couple of watchwords for ourselves and our contributors as they write their Love Letters: sharing and authenticity.

  • chatting about authors we loveSharing — we want everyone who reads these posts to feel at home here, whether they’re a fellow author or not.
  • Authentic — the piece doesn’t have to be unalloyed praise. Love isn’t always blind, after all. If readers think a character was short changed or there’s something they wish had or hadn’t been in the book, but nevertheless they still love it, they should go ahead and say so in their Love Letter.

You can read more about the latest news on the Love Letter to a Favourite Novel feature on the main page.

Today with a fanfare of trumpet — we could only manage one, sadly — we’re publishing our first reader contribution. Beth Elliott shares her love for R D Blackmore’s Lorna Doone. Continue reading

The Importance of Readers (reposted from RNA Blog)

This post on The Importance of Readers was originally a guest piece on the Romantic Novelists’ Association blog. Many thanks to the RNA for letting us repost it here, complete with thoughts on our progress, nearly a year on…

Sophie Weston AuthorBack in December 2015, Sophie Weston wrote . . .

Every author understands the importance of readers.They nurture our visions, buy our books, keep us creating. You might say, they’re our raison d’être.

But how much do we know about how or why or even what they do, when they read? Especially when they read fiction.

When I say they, of course I mean we.

All authors were readers before we started to write. Most of us stay readers — some, voracious — throughout our lives. Sometimes though, we don’t read the way we used to, need to, if we’re to fulfil the purist job description.

HINT: if you’re reading with a pencil in your hand you’re not leaving room for what Ursula Le Guin calls “acts of the spirit” (in Dancing on the edge of the World: Thoughts on Words, Women, Places, Harper Perennial, February 1990).

Put the pencil down, lie on the floor and get a mug of tea.

readers reading by the fire

Reading by the fire. Bliss!

Le Guin, if you don’t already know her, is a wonderful, award-winning writer of primarily science fiction fantasy, for adults and children. Her stories are thoughtful, strange, evocative, unforgettable and her ideas about writing are both profound and crisply practical. But what I want to concentrate on here is what she says (in that same book) about reading:

The writer cannot do it alone. The unread story is not a story; it is little black marks on wood pulp. The reader, reading it, makes it alive: a live thing, a story.

Strange science

readers and LED lit books


The science of it is up there with atomic physics.  A writer, like a spider, weaves a story out her guts, and then throws the golden crafted thing out into the world, not knowing where it will travel.

A reader opens the door to her imagination and says, “Come in. I embrace you.” This writer and reader will most likely never meet. They may well live in different countries and centuries. And yet their imaginations interact, independent of their intellect, physical presence or even will. Memorable encounters happen in theta space.

Social or Solitary Readers

These days we mostly think of reading as a solitary pursuit. But it has a social aspect — the church bells pealing for “virtuous Pamela, wed at last”; the man who turned to me on a snow-halted train and raved about The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo; the international and deliciously Woosterian Wodehouse Appreciation Society; they all give evidence of this. And some people still receive great pleasure from being read to by means of audio books, radio or even in person. Maybe more of us should try the latter.

Readers Male care assistant reading senior woman book

LibertaBooks.com for Readers

All of this was what historical author Joanna Maitland and I had in mind when we set up our new website. We call it a place for writers and readers to meet. It is very new and ideas will develop. But the focus, even when we are trying to help other writers, is on remembering those readers.

Love Letter to a Favourite Novel

Specifically, we have dedicated a page for readers to offer their own Love Letter to a Favourite Novel. This will include authors — as long as they put their pencils down first! We don’t want it to feel intimidating, though, so we’ll probably invite a few non-writers to kick us off. Some readers think authors know an awful lot more than we do and are in unjustified awe as a result. We’re looking for Love Letters that are a spontaneous, heartfelt response to a favourite novel, not a high end critique. And we’re hoping for lots of new recommendations. Nothing persuades you to read a book like an enthusiast.

Reposting this here, in September 2016, we’d add . . .

We’re cautiously pleased with the responses we’ve had to the website, though the blog posts have garnered more attention and more comments than the pages about favourite novels and authors. We’ll be working on those, so watch that space!

We’re delighted by the geographical spread of responses — it seems that readers (and writers!) around the world are interested in some of the topics we cover. If you, Dear Reader, have a topic that you’re burning to see us discuss here at Libertà, please tell us via the contact page and we’ll do our best to respond.

And, more generally, we love to hear from you on any subject related (however vaguely) to reading. We may be writers, but we still read more than we write!

With thanks to all our Readers
Sophie and Joanna