At a conference in Sydney last weekend, I found myself seated at a meal across from an older, professional couple from northern New South Wales whom I had not previously met. We shared the usual polite conversation—where we lived, what we did, that kind of stuff. But the gentleman earned an extra piece of my attention when he mentioned he had read my novel.
This is perhaps my first encounter with someone I have not previously known who has read the book. Reading is often a slightly different experience when reading something from an author that we know, so I was interested in what different comments might come from a reader whom I had not previously met. We had an interesting chat, including his sharing his favourite scenes from the book and his overall appreciation of his reading experience.
A few years ago, I read an article about the difficulties of writing fiction and being published. One of the comments I recall from that article was that an author can survive not being paid, but cannot survive not being read. Thus, the gratification that comes to a writer when meeting a reader, who shares a little of their reading experience.