Thursday, April 29, 2010

Dear Reader - Dara Girard

The ‘Dear Reader’ letter you sometimes find in front of a book are always the most difficult for me to write. Why? Because I’m not sure what I’m supposed to say. How much do I give away? What do I keep a secret? With my upcoming release, PAGES OF PASSION (October 26, 2010), I faced those questions and more.

I didn’t want to reiterate what the back cover blurb said, but how could I entice a casual reader in a bookstore to not just skim the pages, but actually buy the book? How could I catch someone’s interest online before they click to someone else’s book?

I thought about it for a moment—actually three days to be exact—then came up with some ideas. Maybe I could talk about research, but I didn’t want to sound tedious. Maybe I could talk about my inspiration, but writing ‘The idea just came to me’ didn’t sound particularly earth-shattering. So I decided to look to the masters for help and Sir Walter Scott, the Scottish novelist and poet, came to my rescue with this quote:
“Oh what a tangled web we weave, When first we practice to deceive.”
Perfect! I had my premise and the theme of my letter.

What do you like to find out in a Dear Reader letter? Do you read them? I’ll give an autographed copy of WORDS OF SEDUCTION to a random commenter.


Virginia C said...

Hi, Dara! Yes, I do read the "Dear Reader" letters. I enjoy hearing what's on the author's mind. It adds an extra something to the whole reading experience. I love my books, from front cover to back blurb and everything in-between. If the story line is very emotional, with much conflict and difficult issues for the characters, it's rewarding to know the author's thoughts. If there's a lot of humor in the book, it's fun to discover that the author made herself laugh right along with us : )

gcwhiskas at aol dot com

Estella said...

I don't read the Dear Reader page very often.

kissinoak at veriaon dot net

Laney4 said...

Oh oh. Will I be banned from reading (or even winning) books? Alas, I too rarely read those blurbs. Once I've committed to the back cover blurb and have bought the book, I want to get right to Chapter 1 (or the Prologue). I would probably have to be bored silly to read all the pages before that point, as the books are long enough already!

Thanks for sharing this aspect of the writing process. I've learned so much from authors' blogs recently. For example, some of the things that the editor can change; how the covers and even titles aren't always selected by the authors (and rarely match up with the book's description of that scene); how there are certain steps/guidelines to create the book's flow/storyline; and now there's more to write than "just" the actual story, the back cover blurb, and the numerous blogs and emails to "advertise" those books. I'm sure I'm leaving out even more, but I'm sure you understand what I'm saying: you just don't write books! You do so much more (and I applaud you)!

Mary said...

I always read the Dear Reader letters if their are any. I like to read anything the author has left for me to read in the book. I like reading the family tree's in books when you can see the different families or the maps of the town in the front of the book. It makes it come alive for me. So yes, anything the author leaves for me to read...I do.

Michele L. said...

Hi Dara,

The Dear Reader letters are my little nuggets of gold into the author's mind especially what motivated them to write the story. I find it fascinating how the story came about, or if a personal tidbit inspired the story. Also, it is fun to hear how the author came up with the characters for the story. I remember one author used her own relatives as the basis for the outline and she proceeded to tell a certain event which she included in the book but changed subtly to fit the her story along with different names to the characters.

I really enjoy everything that is printed in my books including the page where the copyright and publisher is listed. It is interesting to see what kind of paper was used and the text/font that was used. A lot of books from Great Britain use different papers and fonts.

runner10 said...

I read the "Dear Reader" to find out if there was any personal influences as to why the author wrote the book. Also, it gives me a little better insight into the author.
Good luck on your new book.

Leni said...

I read the Dear Reader letters that are in books. I like to read about what inspired the author and what it means to him/her.

Laurie said...

I like the info provided. It explains things that happened in history or what happened afterwards. It tells why the author changed things.

Alison said...

I read those letters, and enjoy them, especially learning about what motivated the author to write them (visited a setting, line of dialogue they couldn't get away from...)
kitkatcub at yahoo dot com

DaraG said...

Thanks for all your wonderful comments! I pulled Virginia C's name. Please email me with your mailing address.


Virginia C said...

Thank you, Dara! I sent my mailing info through the contact form on your website. I did not see your email address listed anywhere.

gcwhiskas at aol dot com