Perhaps the greatest blessing I receive as an author is the opportunity to hear from readers. They send me emails, letters, pictures, such as this great rockin' dragon sent by thirteen-year-old Sierra Reep, and even cookies. They tell me how much my books mean to them, and I am often overwhelmed by their testimonies. I have heard from kids who have become Christians because of my books, or are now walking closer to God, or have changed their minds about hurting others or themselves, even one teenager who changed her mind about committing suicide.
On more than one occasion a reader has arranged a Dragons in our Midst party and invited other readers to come. When I went to one of these parties in the Atlanta area, readers came from as far away as New Jersey and Louisiana to get together for one afternoon because of their love for my books. What an amazing blessing!
When I go on book tours, I often meet readers who become good friends with my children, and now we have close bonds. As I write this, two of my readers are in my home, having flown in from distant cities to spend time with our family. On one occasion, a couple of readers traveled great distances to help my family move from Orlando to Tennessee!
I hope never to take these amazing blessings for granted. My readers are more valuable than gold. That's why I reply to every email, every letter, and every author-directed post on my message forum, which amounts to hundreds and hundreds of personal pieces of correspondence. It can take several hours each week to get to all of them, but it's worth it.
Some kids ask me for counsel regarding very difficult, even tragic events in their life. They don't have anyone else to turn to. How could I ignore a single cry for help? As long as God gives me strength, that will never happen.
So, hats off to my readers! You rock! Without you, I could never be an author. Without you, I would have no reason to write at all. Even if my books sell so many copies that I become a celebrity, may God help me never to forget that as an author I am a servant, not a star.