Thursday, June 16, 2011

The New Reader

I had a very, very eye-opening experience over the past few weeks.  It's made me more fully appreciate what a new world this is for READERS.  (Particularly those of the young-adult genre).

If you haven't already noticed, authors are now accessible: 

They tweet.
They blog.
They vlog.
...yadda yadda yadda.

And - wonder of wonders - they talk to readers in all these places.

I've had an ongoing conversation with the author of A Very Good Book while I'm reading it.  And it has enhanced my reading experience - NOT because the author gives anything away.  But because I can ask questions about peripheral issues, plot drivers and characterizations before I finish it.

People!  This is HUGE!

Ask yourself what this means for you as an author. 

Do you have enough knowledge of social media to avoid faux pas?  Do you have the confidence (or interest) to hold a conversation with a reader who hasn't yet finished your book and might hate the ending? 

It could be a very scary equation. 

Or it could be awesomeness.  After all, how many of us have had to walk away from rolled eyes, yawns and insensitive 'advice' from people who just don't get it?  Well, imagine dozens, maybe hundreds of people who are suddenly immersed in your world and wanting to talk to you about it! (I'm assuming that only a portion of people who buy your book will actually seek you out personally - though that portion will be much higher if you're writing YA). 

My advice?  Find out where and how your particular audience uses the internet now and get familiar with it.  That way, when its your name on the cover, you can also tell readers where to find you if they have questions.

It's like the world's biggest book club every day.

Your Turn: Does the idea of talking to readers excite or frighten you?  How do you think you'd want to manage that process?


  1. I love love love social media and the way it cuts across physical and metaphysical boundaries: distance, age, culture has no meaning as long as you respect general netiquette. You can probably gather that I'm excited about the idea of connecting with readers.
    Judy, South Africa

  2. Scary stuff isn't it,

    I guess as i am only just starting to write, the thought of a "fan" of my books asking questions is just a distant laugh in the future...

    but i guess i would be ok with it. I'm starting to get my head around social media.

    This week, i have taken my first steps into merging my Facebook page into a more author centered one rather than a personal/friends one.
    see here:

    Sorry for shameful plug :-)

    i normally have a rule that i only accept FB requests from CLOSE friends. NEVER a stranger. However i have added at least 15 people that i only know through online. --> scary stuff!


  3. Isn't it great. Thank goddess for twitter, facebook, and the blogosphere!

    <3 Gina Blechman

  4. I've never considered this before, but (assuming the reader wasn't also a troll),I think it would be a very rewarding experience. There's nothing like sharing your world with someone and the way social media enables that is fantastic. But as you've said, it also has its risks. For example, I imagine it would be difficult to have a meaningful conversation with someone on Twitter or Facebook without including spoilers for people who plan to read the book but haven't yet. I only hope I'll be fortunate enough to be faced with such a conundrum in the future. :-)

  5. It's exciting, definitely. I can hardly shut up about my characters as it is; the thought that I could find myself talking to a bunch of readers who are as interested in them as I am is a wonderful thing! :D

  6. It is the replacement for the trad book signings. I look forward to it (when the day comes). Readers have always wanted to feel a personal connection to their favorite writers. It is the real point of building the media platform.

  7. There are, as you said, pros and cons to authors being so accessible--that is, to readers being able to access writers so readily! I'm not sure which side outweighs the other yet, but it'll be interesting to see. And anyway, it's a force that cannot be stopped. :P

    (Noticed a small typo: in this sentence, "That way, when its your name on the cover," "its" needs an apostrophe.)

  8. I write YA and that is so cool to think about - my readers searching me out. But it is also scary. I'm thinking, "Hey I need a PR person for this." LOL But I am trying to navigate the world of building an author platform. Trying to get my name out there before I even finish the book. It's scary but oh sooo exciting!

  9. Great Post Aimee. I'm a writer-- not a famous one-- and I really enjoy talking with readers! It makes my day each and every time. It also gives me a chance to connect and thank readers. I'm also an avid reader and I enjoy talking with authors that I've read. And even get to know them in their private lives and learn a little about how they do what they do.
    This is the new age of writing and I like it. Readers have always been the life's blood of writers and it is great that writers get a chance to thank the people who support us. Readers are my heros.
    Aimee. You deserve a great big thank you for this post!

    Dannie C Hill @DannieC_Hill

  10. I think it is wonderful. I haven't interacted with any "new" readers yet, but my book has only been out two weeks. I have interacted with people I know who have read my stories, and may have altered their view of me (and me of them) because of it.

    I cannot wait for more. If you (Yeah, you reading this comment) are reading or have read my book, Savage Fire, please feel free to interact with me on Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, or anywhere else.

  11. I love the idea of talking with readers. YA readers are just a great group of people and a lot of fun!