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IWSG: How I Became a Fan of my Fan!

Making friends through writing

I’ve been writing for decades, and getting paid for travel articles since 2006, but it wasn’t until I published Unexpected Texas that my writing began directly connecting me with readers. Sure, I knew people read my articles, but it ended there. I never made friends with any of my readers.

Meeting people because of things I’d written? And not just online, but meeting them in person?!? As I said, this never happened when I was simply writing magazine articles! Sure, articles paid well, but even with a byline, it felt rather anonymous… like a message in a bottle that never washed ashore.

Since my first book came out in March, I’ve had many readers add me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter (and you can, too, if you like!) Plus, I’ve met interesting people and made wonderful new friends in person at various book-related events. I am grateful (and delightfully shocked!) to have so many new friends who are interested in the same quirky, offbeat, overlooked, and strange things that I am.

In fact, if I’d known that publishing a book would help me make new friends and “connect with my tribe,” I would have done it much sooner!

My first reader fan mail

I often feel like contacting an author after reading their books, so I make a point of including my email address in my own. That way it’s easy for readers to reach me with questions, suggestions for me to research and write about, or to simply say “hi.”

That said, only recently did I receive my first reader fan mail.

What a thrill!

Using my books for writing inspiration

In his first email, this reader thanked me for both of my books. Not only did he read and enjoy them, but it turns out he is also a writer, and has been using the offbeat Texas history and lore in Unexpected Texas and Paranormal Texas as inspiration for creating an alternative Western universe.

Since my primary motivations for writing are to entertain and to inspire, this made me feel great!

Shared unprinted tales with him

This same reader also wondered if I had tales that didn’t make it into the book, especially any involving mysterious creatures. Well… do I ever! So I blasted the guy a big rambling email and pointed him to a few links online where he could read about some strange creature sightings and other weird tales about Texas.

Hey, as I said before, it’s not every day that I meet someone who gives a hoot about the same things I do!

Gave me my first UK Amazon reviews

To top it off, he also gave me my first reviews on Amazon UK!!! You’d better don sunglasses before reading them, though, ‘cuz these reviews are glowing. Here are a couple snippets:

Here’s a snippet from his review on Amazon UK for Paranormal Texas:

“Whether you live in The Lonestar State, are planning to visit, or like me are just collecting extraordinary tales, this book is a must. Tui Snider writes beautifully, as if you and her are already friends, and by the end of the book you feel that you are!”

See what I mean? I’m blushing over here!

Here’s a snippet from his review on Amazon UK for Unexpected Texas:

“A fascinating, beautifully written guide to all the extraordinary sights, and folklore of the Dallas and Fort Worth area. I’ve been researching Dallas folklore for a book I’m writing and found this book to be everything I needed and more.”

I love that he was looking for these weird tales and found them in my books!

How I Became a Fan of my Fan!

When I asked where he lived, the reader responded that he was from the UK, but “I currently live in Paris. The original one in France!” (This was a tongue-in-cheek reference to the fascinating little town of Paris, Texas which I wrote about in this post: Paris, Texas Day Trip – Visit the *other* Eiffel Tower)

A flurry of emails ensued, through which I learned that although he is a writer, his ‘day job’ is being a street magician! Not only that, but he is the first person in the world to receive a bachelor’s degree in street performance, and he recently gave a Tedx Talk in Germany on the importance of play:

Cool, eh?

By the end of our email exchange, I had definitely become a big fan of my fan! We’re now friends on a few social networks, and if/when he ever makes it to Texas, I hope he will swing by Castle Azle to say hi.

Meet Owen Lean

So let me introduce you to my fabulous new friend, Mr Owen Lean. You can visit his website here:

Owen Lean: Road Mage

…and if you get a chance to visit Paris, perhaps you will see Owen Lean in action! If you do, please tell him Tui sent you!

That’s my IWSG for November

So that’s my IWSG check-in for this month. Has writing opened doors for *you* socially, too? I look forward to seeing how things are going with all of you!

What is IWSG, anyway?

IWSG stands for “Insecure Writers Support Group.” It’s a monthly check-in for writers of all stripes. Its creator, Alex J. Cavanaugh, describes ISWG like this:
“Purpose of IWSG: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!” – Alex J. Cavanaugh

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