Interactive dialogue between an author and reader develops lasting relationships. This also gives authors the opportunity to learn about and understand our fans.
Many writers, including some in my writing circles, prefer not to engage with the reader. In fact, I believe, interactive dialogue better allows us to segment your fans. Interactive dialogue also allows for deeper emotional connections between an author’s work and the reader.
When I first started blogging and tweeting, I thought responding to every comment was a good idea. I would spend hours on sites. Each day, I’d spend less time writing. This made me understand why some writers fear Social Media. It’s not having a site that scares us, it’s having less time to write. Soon after I started blogging, I created a writing schedule that made sure I wrote first.
I learned readers need to express themselves without author input after every post. Instead, let readers interact. Respond to comments if the answers are not posted on your site. Answer questions where and when appropriate.
Three ways to support interactive dialogue are:
- Invite fans/readers to join the discussion in an open forum. Social Media, fan pages and comments allow authors to engage with readers.
- Go beyond your brand promise. Your biggest fans are emotionally invested in your stories. They fall in and out of love with characters. They want to know when the next book is coming out. If you’ve promised a series, be honest about book delays. Go beyond making the next book available, let the fans know of its progress.
- Ask a direct question for feedback. Readers like to know their input has value. They will surprise you by giving feedback. When starting a discussion, let readers know your intent. Provide full disclosure.