A Highly Emotional series by a Highly Sensitive Person

It’s been a good week for my books with promotions and blog mentions. I’ve seen a fair amount of downloads, but those don’t seem to be transitioning into Facebook likes or active discussions or reviews on Amazon or anything.

I guess it’s good in that people aren’t hating the books and slamming them with 1-star reviews… but are they not liking them passionately, either? I follow bloggers and reviewers and see great comments about popular books, and everyone seems to be reading the same books at the same time, or one right after the other. My books don’t seem to have that same mass appeal, and I’ve been struggling to figure out why.

The fans I do have seem to be deeply touched by some aspect of the books–typically they evoke a pretty big emotional response, which is great. That’s what I was going for. It’s what I wrote. It’s not what I set out to write, but it’s something I innately do, and do well. I attribute this to the fact that I’m a Highly Sensitive Person. And yes, that’s a real thing.

About 15-20% of the population can be classified as Highly Sensitive. I suspect a good portion of my fans are, as they allowed themselves to succumb to the feelings of the characters in the books, and one of the traits of an HSP is that we emote with the people around us. This isn’t just readers imagining that they’re in the shoes of the character. That creates somewhat of a distanced experience, where you see what happens as you read. What I think happens with my most vocal fans is that readers actually feel at one with Nate, Emi, Jack or Livvy. When they relate on such an intimate level, the feelings they experience along the way are much deeper. So, in a way, I think the success of the books may start with me, the Highly Sensitive writer, but ultimately the Highly Sensitive reader has to sink in to the story for the books to really affect people the way they’re intended to.

But maybe–just maybe–some readers don’t like to immerse themselves so much into a book. Is that possible? Could that be why my books don’t seem to take off like others have, when mine are better reviewed and rated than some of the more popular series out there? Is there such a thing as “too emotional?”

Why aren’t my books more popular? There’s tasteful sex, there’s romance, there’s angst, there’s honesty, there’s love, there’s friendship… there is so much that is desirable and relatable, but more than all of that, there are feelings. Real feelings.

At work this week, I was told that I was “too emotional,” and that’s apparently not a desirable trait in the workplace. This comes as no surprise to me. I know I’m more emotional than most, and I know that my tears make people uncomfortable. Sadly, it’s something I can’t control.

What stands out, though, is this idea that having too many emotions is bad in a mainstream environment. If that’s true where I work, could that be true in the literary world, too? Is “too emotional” too much for the majority of readers to be comfortable with, too?

It’s an intriguing thought…

17 thoughts on “A Highly Emotional series by a Highly Sensitive Person

  1. You have an amazing gift for storytelling! I have read a lot of books–many have entertained me, but I’ve never felt as connected as I do to your characters.
    I feel like I know these people personally, and I already terribly miss them as though they are a real part of my daily life. Thank you for pouring your heart and soul into written word. Please share more of your incredible stories with us!!!!

  2. Lori- I just went on Barnes and noble to leave reviews of your books and I have already done them on amazon! I will do whatever I can as one of your biggest fans to get the word out about how great your books are! Next on to Goodreads! You’ll get there have faith!

  3. I truly believe that your work is going to find a broad, appreciative audience. Hang on to the feeling of it happening soon. One of the benefits to being highly sensitive is that you can believe things into reality – just like you believed these characters into books. Good things are happening!

  4. Hey Lori:
    I just wanted to say I loved your books!!! I was very sad reading the first few chapters of Time Stands Still. I understood why you did that because after all Nate really was not her soul mate. When you read about her kiss in Lost and Found, I kind of knew Jack and Emi would end up meeting up again. Not saying I was a fan of killing off Nate, but understood. I absolutely loved Nate, but I was also a big fan of “Jacks”. Jack reminds me of a guy like my husband, full of patience and the fact of how he loves his entire family. Loved Him! Was happy to see her come to her senses and realize he WAS the man for her!! I loved how he called Emi poppet! When they adopted Livvy at the end of Never Look back, I was so hoping this series would continue on, somehow. I just finished reading Contessa. As the mother of a 16 year old daughter who has an 18 year old boyfriend (Thanks for all those thoughts!) I have recommended these books. There are days my Contessa puts me and my husband to the task, so I related to this a lot. I also have Prom to look forward to in 2 months, I can certainly tell you there will probably be no after party for my daughter, unless I am the Chaperone. I look forward to reading anything you write and recommended these books to all my friends! Please don’t stop writing, your creativity and sensitivity would be missed! Boo to the Naysayers!

  5. I’m not a highly emotional person, well, outwardly anyway… As you know I just don’t cry at the drop of a hat, although I do believe I feel things deeply. I just don’t like showing my feelings. I guess it makes me feel vulnerable.

    The fact that your books, while making me feel things deeply, also resulted in those feelings manifesting as copious amounts of tears, I think says a great deal about your talent and abilities.

    We speak about this often and I know how frustrated you are. I agree with everyone above and I know you will be big. I suppose the main problems right now are that you can’t devote all your time to writing and marketing. When I think of all the big name books and authors, they have teams of people marketing them and their books. And of course many of the current best sellers already had their market of readers waiting for their books to be published…

    Stay strong Lori. You have a dedicated reader base willing to push you forward!

      1. Exactly! We ARE growing, everyday, more people join the Facebooks pages. We’ll get you there Lori!

  6. Why your books have not taken off is a mystery, Audrey is right on. I think the books are wonderfully, soulfully written. I mean, REALLY getting into the characters is what it’s all about, right? I hadn’t read a book in a few years (kids were born and all that craziness). I got a Nook in December and was kind of excited to get into reading once again. I read one book (for free) – it was okay, it was free. I visited with a friend of mine over Christmastime and she told me about your books. I downloaded them and started reading and I was like, “This was HOW much?” because it is SUPERB. You REALLY have a gift, Lori. Now that I’m finished with all your books, I’m at a loss as to what to read. I just finished one – it was “fluff” but alright. I started a second and couldn’t get through it. I’m going to TRY a third. But what I want is Nate, Jack, Emi, Livvie and all of your other colorful characters back. I really want to READ something and let it take me to your sensitive place!

    I know I’m sensitive. I’ve seen it officially on the Myers Briggs test. It’s just who we are. That’s how you write. It’s a great, vast place to draw from and put all your feelings and your characters on paper. I think people want to read those kind of books. They don’t want “fluff” all the time, you know?

    You need someone who can tell you what to do, how to get awareness out there, how to market, etc. Is there anyone out there? Or do they charge exorbitant prices? Speaking of that, maybe change up the pricing. I’ve seen some free books and then the next ones in the series are full price (e-books). I don’t know – Nicholas Sparks writes kind of like you – on a deeper level. Can you research what he does/did or anyone like him?

  7. It is beyond me why this awesome series has not taken off as it should. As I compare this series to others, it is more true to life experiences and I think that scares the hell out of people. Many of the other books are unrealistic in the real world. One can escape to that world and feel too good. That is comfortable and safe. Your writing stays with a person and makes us think and feel, again scares the shit out of most people. That’s why I’ve asked you questions about the books as I was so sure it was based after your life or someone you knew. Like Nicole, you just need a few more book pimps, and I am proud to be one!! I’m guessing that is better than a stalker, right!! IT WILL HAPPEN. That should be the mantra.

  8. Simple. You don’t have any vampires! 😉
    Seriously, I have no idea why the Emi series isn’t huge. I gave the three novels and the novella five-stars. I can’t think of a series I’ve read recently that got fives across the board. (I just copied my reviews over to Amazon, by the way. They’re all live now.)

    The thing is, I’m not a horribly emotional person. When my grandparents died, I was the one who made sure there were enough plastic cups and ice, and picked relatives up at the airport, all this while everyone else grieved “normally.” I wasn’t suppressing my grief. I was just overly rational: “Well, Grandma’s gone. I’ll miss her, and I’ll enjoy my memories of her. I’m sure she’s someplace better. Now, Cousin Harold flies in to TIA at 3pm…”

    But something in the “Emi” series got me. You mentioned identifying with the characters. This was the rare series where I didn’t really identify with anyone. I was seeing everything third-person, limited omniscient–I was just an observer with access to Emi’s thoughts, or Jack’s, or Nate’s.

    When I was copying the reviews from Goodreads to Amazon, I noticed that I disclaimed a few times that this is not a series I’d ever imagine I would read, much less love.

    I think it boils down to the storytelling. Your writing is top-shelf, to be sure, but the way you shaped the narrative was the key. You’re not afraid to have your characters do stupid things, or things we perceive as stupid. We want Emi to chill out and let Jack off the hook for wanting a family, but she doesn’t, not for a long time. People in real life behave that way–we hold grudges, we awfulize situations, and worry about problems that may never happen.

    Since I’m a relatively unemotional depressive, maybe that was the hook: yes, your characters showed deep emotions, but they also exhibited classic, fallible human behavior.

    For whatever reason, these were incredible books, and they deserve to be huge. I put them on Goodreads, my blog booksandmoviesandcrap.com, and now Amazon. I’ve recommended them to friends.

    I don’t think they’re too emotional–they are neither saccharine nor morbid. I agree with what Nikole says: you just need more book pimps.

    For what it’s worth, I have on my big fur coat, snazzy hat, and my Coupe de Ville riding low. (That’s like a bad 1970’s movie pimp, but you get the picture. 😉 )

  9. I am perplexed myself as to why your books haven’t taken off yet so I can only imagine how frustrating it is for you. I have never been so moved as I was by your books and its a shame more people don’t know about you yet! I am agreeing with nikole and I know its going to happen though! good things come to those who wait. yeah i hope the wait isn’t much longer for you but it will be even sweeter. just keep doing what you’re doing and please have faith.

  10. Wow! Lori. You are so deep! When I learned about your books I wondered why you haven’t made it as a well known author yet. I personally think your time will come and that you will be as big or bigger then the most popular author. I see it coming. You are just too awesome not to be BIG! Maybe you are emotional, but that’s what makes your writing so good. Don’t give up on your dreams. It is gonna happen. I just know it. Your books do have everything that the readers are looking for. You just need some more book pimps. Lol. I’m willing to be one of your book pimps. Lol

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