Swoon Author Lydia Albano: Thanks to You, the ReadersLydia Albano
Without you all, I would not be holding my very own book in my hands today. That’s not a sappy sentiment, it’s a fact.
The first draft of Finding You was a whirlwind; I posted a prologue on Figment.com without a plot, and without much confidence. From there it seemed to take on a life of its own, with readers refreshing the page for weekly chapter updates and telling me all of their thoughts and reactions and giving me new perspectives that influenced the plot, since I hadn’t actually planned what would happen in the book. Some days, those comments were all that kept me writing.
Querying terrified me, but when I finished that first draft I knew I had to do something with this book, and that’s when stage two was implemented—psyching myself up to submit to Swoon Reads. “They won’t pick me, but it’s good to put myself out there,” I told myself again and again. Then came comments and feedback from the lovely Swoon Reads users, supportive and helpful and encouraging and often carrying really great critiques. I tried not to get my hopes up, even when I got that email asking Holly West and Lauren Scobell could give me a call. This doesn’t happen on the first try, I kept thinking, incredulous. Then came cover voting (maybe my favorite interactive thing about Swoon Reads), where I sat biting my nails and watching the opinions come in and being grateful, in a way, that my readers got to have input as to what my book would look like “in the wild” someday.
The thing is, I know it’s not conventional (yet) to have input from hundreds of strangers before your book ever hits the shelves. But with Finding You’s release here at last, it’s been occurring to me not for the first time how much of this book is owing to you, my readers–the directions the story took, the emotional weight it carries for me, the encouragement that pushed through my self-doubting and told me to keep going, the votes and comments themselves that made it happen.
So here’s my ask, to anyone reading this: please keep reading books that are still in their infancy. Please comment, and encourage, and (kindly) critique! Authors love to share the words that make their way out of their heads. (Some of us balk at the idea of sharing them out loud, but we want you to read them!) Read, interact, send gifs—whatever it is you love to do. The thing is, it might just help someone achieve their dreams someday.