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View Full Version : Do You Ever Hear From Your Readers?



inkkognito
06-16-2008, 06:15 AM
This is inspired by the "Have you emailed your favorite writer" thread.

Looking at this from the flipside, have you ever gotten feedback from your readers? If so, what was your reaction?

I got my first feedback recently; the sidebar to my "Bird Talk" piece is posted on their website, and several people left very positive comments. I don't know why, but it really felt good to read that. I felt silly for feeling so tickled about it, but I can't help it! I'm a geek, I know.

I guess that's not totally my first, as I get lots of comments on my blog. But even tho' that's "real" writing in the sense that it has a wide readership, earns me money, and has been the gateway to print and video appearances, for some reason that feedback doesn't feel as real as the ones from an article I've sold to a magazine.

Tish Davidson
06-16-2008, 07:33 AM
I got a nice note from a woman with a disabled child who said that my article on temper tantrums (aimed at people with children chronologically younger than hers but at about the same place as her daughter developmentally) really helped her get some distance and insight on her daughter's temper tantrums and helped her stay calm and handle them better when they occurred in public. It was gratifying, since I never know if anyone actually reads what I write.

I also got a very snarky note from an Irish woman who objected to my using the term Anglo to differentiate people of Hispanic ancestry whose primary language is Spanish from people of European ancestry whose primary language is English in Los Angeles. She had a totally different take on the meaning of the word and was offended, deeply offended and at length.

And someone once sent me a bird call whistle after reading my article on the world series of birding.

But given the hundreds of things I have had published, that isn't much of a response.

JoNightshade
06-16-2008, 08:05 AM
I get lots of comments on the articles/newsletters I write for my "real" job. Sadly, a good 10-20% of them are like this:


I also got a very snarky note from an Irish woman who objected to my using the term Anglo to differentiate people of Hispanic ancestry whose primary language is Spanish from people of European ancestry whose primary language is English in Los Angeles. She had a totally different take on the meaning of the word and was offended, deeply offended and at length.

I am consistently flabbergasted at how much time and effort some people put into being offended, or being snarky, or being just unpleasant in general, for no particular reason. And of course, human nature being what it is, I tend to think a lot about the mean things people say. It's like, "Gosh, thanks so much for going out of your way to ruin my day!"

On the other hand, 80-90% of the comments I get are quite nice. And I'd say there's 1% I really, really appreciate. Those are the people who actually get something incredibly worthwhile out of what I write. People who wait for my bi-monthly newsletter because they are sick or injured or for whatever reason are in a bad place. And now and then they take the time to write to me and tell me that my newsletters help take them to somewhere warm and happy, and they are able to get through their present struggles in part by holding onto this dream of traveling to the places I write about. I find that humbling, and it makes me realize that even though I'm "just" doing this for money, unlike my fiction, I still have the power to touch people.

Oh, and a lot of people think I'm not real. They're so jaded by the internet that they think I'm a marketing department. Well, I am, sort of. A one-woman marketing department. :)

Matera the Mad
06-16-2008, 08:06 AM
I guess this would qualify...I wrote a humorous bloggish series for my first website, describng my early experiences with computer(s). Someone contacted me early this year to ask if I would consider putting the old material online again. She made her request by joining the sparsely inhabited forum I have on my current site. Heh. I did, she deserved a reward for Internet Loyalty. :D

JoNightshade
06-16-2008, 08:10 AM
Oh yeah, that reminds me - in 2007 I took down a bunch of fanfic I had written in high school and my first year of college. I got a lot of "fan mail" back then, but then I stopped producing and it died out. Not long after I got a couple of emails from this one reader who was really upset that I had taken down my novel-length fanfic because it was apparently her comfort-reading (ie one of those things you love to read over and over).

MAJOR EGO BOOST! :)

blacbird
06-16-2008, 08:22 AM
Having none, no.

caw

scope
06-16-2008, 09:01 AM
Over the years I've been fortunate to receive some very nice and meaningful letters and such from individuals and others. Since I never had a website or blog (something I'm presently setting up) all were forwarded to me by the publisher(s) or my agent.

A few nice examples:
A personal card from the original Dear Abby.
A letter from a woman in Colorado who after reading one of my children's books asked if I would consider writing another book about adoption.
A letter from the Marriage Guidance Council of South Australia asking for permission to xerox one of my books for use in their impoverished children program (I very politely had to say no, but I did send them 100 copies free of charge ).
A postcard from a colleague visiting Europe telling me -- "found your book in many places -- you are a hit over here."
A letter from the Everett School thanking me for writing a marvelous book and telling me how much the childen enjoyed it.
A letter from Newsday newspaper asking to interview me for a full page article about one of my books.

On the surface I realize that these types of things are rather egotistical, but I must admit that beyond stroking the ego they sure help to pick you up and keep you going.

SPMiller
06-16-2008, 09:38 AM
I also got a very snarky note from an Irish woman who objected to my using the term Anglo to differentiate people of Hispanic ancestry whose primary language is Spanish from people of European ancestry whose primary language is English in Los Angeles. She had a totally different take on the meaning of the word and was offended, deeply offended and at length.I am still pretty drunk, so please try to take as little offense as possible, I'm trying to be good.

There's a reason some people take offense at the label. Anglo-Saxon is a mixture of two different Germanic tribes, the Angles and the Saxons. Someone who is white but isn't derived from either tribe might in fact take offense at the label. Yes, we use it to mean white, but literally speaking it means something else.

Are we cool? I'm sorry. In a way, it's kind of like calling a black person African when their family is many generations removed from Africa.

Aw man I shouldn't have even bothered typing this out.

steveg144
06-16-2008, 01:04 PM
I've gotten several emails from readers. Most of my published output has been philosopical/cultural/political diatribes, and I always insist that the pub puts my email address as part of the little "author bio" blurb at the end of the article. The emails I've gotten have run the gamut from "Bravo!" to "You godless left-wing piece of crap, I hope God sends you straight to hell where you can float in a sea of flames with Marx and Nietzsche and Freud and Sartre and Einstein and Camus and Bugs Bunny and Steve Allen and Baby Snooks and ....." No matter what their reaction is, my reaction is an odd sense of humility and a renewed faith in the magic of the published written word: someone I've never met read something I wrote, and it aroused them (one way or the other) enough that they felt the need to write to me. Magic.

Disa
06-16-2008, 02:54 PM
This may not count. I've only been published this year and it wasn't something that a reader sent me directly but....

In the midst of a review for the magazine where my work was published, I found this little blurb about my story and it was on Amazon:



- "A skeptical husband discovers the value of his wife's Tarot reading quite unexpectedly in this moving two-page fiction piece."


Moving, she called it moving! She made the story sound like something I'd want to read :) Never mind that I didn't intend for the characters to be husband and wife but merely living together when I wrote them. Cool that she made her own connections.

Anyway, that little blurb made my day, and several of the days after it. I mean, she could have left it out of the review all together or said something crappy about it.

So should we put our email in our little bios?

KTC
06-16-2008, 03:00 PM
The coolest reader response I received was from the actress Anne Jillian. Her and her husband emailed me to tell me how much they enjoyed a memoir piece I did about my father's brush with cancer. She gave me much praise... I was blown over. My favourite poet also shot me some praise once.

nighttimer
06-16-2008, 03:02 PM
When I'm writing columns I get feedback from readers all the time. Most of it is negative and critical, but that's okay because you learn more from the people who disagree with you anyway.

The most interesting experience was when I criticized a local school board member who turned out a meeting by (no shit) taking a shoe out of his briefcase and POUNDING THE TABLE non-stop for 15 minutes until the meeting was adjourned.

I wrote a column ripping the guy for that stunt. For my reward I was named "Sambo of the Week" by a radio talk show host.

No good deed goes unpunished.

:Shrug:

Toothpaste
06-16-2008, 05:36 PM
My favourite emails are from kids. I've built up a dialogue with a couple of them. I love the observations they make about my book, very astute. I also get the odd email from adults who are kind of embarrassed to admit that they like my book (because in theory it is meant for kids). I try to explain to them that MG is for everyone!

It's really awesome.

illiterwrite
06-16-2008, 05:47 PM
I've had random emails telling me how much someone enjoyed my book. People seem to either love or hate it. Some of the comments from those who liked it were almost over the top. My favourite experience so far came from a US author who came to sign for my publisher at Book Expo Canada last year. She'd read my book and was apparently eager to meet me. She had some very nice things to say about it. :)

tehuti88
06-16-2008, 06:01 PM
I get occasional (though not nearly enough!) feedback from readers of my online fiction. Almost all of it is positive, which is a good thing, I guess, seeing as I want to entertain people. There isn't much "return" feedback, i. e., feedback from return readers (I write serials), so that's kind of frustrating, as it's hard for me to judge if people are still reading or if they lost interest somewhere; I'd like to know sometimes if there's anything I can do to improve something that might be boring, but when people do reply, they assure me they haven't been bored off, so it's puzzling. The rational part of my mind says they just don't have the time or inclination to e-mail more than once, which is probably likely, but still, it's hard.

Oddly, when I post a public note on my site asking for people to reply as I haven't heard from anyone in quite a while, if I do get replies everyone seems to have assumed that I must get all sorts of feedback all the time, I must be so hugely popular, surely I can't want any more e-mail! And then if someone goes on in an enthusiastic manner for more than a few sentences they apologize that they're rambling and promise not to do it again. I've tried everything I know to assure such people that 1. I'm in no way being inundated with e-mails, write to me all you want! and 2. heck, I know all about rambling, bring it on!--but that seems to be the general state of mind among my few readers. Very strange. I guess people are afraid of appearing TOO enthusiastic, though as a writer I can say there's no problem with that!

As I get feedback so rarely, I cherish all of it. One of the most flattering comments I got, while not commenting much on the story itself, informed me that my serial was very popular among people who work tech support at some place in the middle of the night. There can be long stretches between calls, so they need something to fill in their time--thus they turn to online writing. And seeing as my stories are so long, reading them gives them something to do. That was nice to hear. (Although I hope in addition that they find the story itself interesting!)

stormie
06-16-2008, 06:03 PM
I was about to throw a pity-party for myself, thinking, no, no one has emailed me or sent a snail mail letter about my work...but wait! Yes, I've gotten reps and PMs from AWers about my wonderful, terrific, thought-provoking, creative, awe-inspiring, life-changing, poem (see below). I luvs youse guys. :Hug2:

Sunnyside
06-16-2008, 06:14 PM
Yes, I've heard from readers -- and I love it. I've gotten e-mails and snail mail (I call it "analog mail') and it's still staggering to me (and very humbling) to get a letter from someone I don't know who's read my work. At the moment, I can still respond to every one of them, and do (I don't anticipate I'll be flooded with mail any time soon!)

All of them have been positive, though a few have written to grumble or complain a bit about my assertions that Washington Irving was likely homosexual. I knew that was going to be controversial going into it, though.

Birol
06-16-2008, 06:14 PM
I got my first feedback recently; the sidebar to my "Bird Talk" piece is posted on their website, and several people left very positive comments. I don't know why, but it really felt good to read that. I felt silly for feeling so tickled about it, but I can't help it! I'm a geek, I know.

You touched people. What's not to feel good about that?

Apart from comments on the blog, which is part of the blogging experience, I've received a couple of e-mails in response to articles that I've written them. I've unabashedly saved them.

The author published in this month's edition of Trunk Novels has also received reader responses on her work their. One of them was sent to a general mailbox that I monitor, so I got to see another author's kudos before forwarding them on. It was good to see work that I published touching a reader, too.

aka eraser
06-16-2008, 07:44 PM
I've been fortunate to receive a lot of nice notes. It never gets old.

willietheshakes
06-18-2008, 04:01 PM
I've been fortunate to receive a lot of nice notes. It never gets old.

Ditto.

Susan Breen
06-18-2008, 04:07 PM
I've been getting a lot of e mail from readers, thank heavens. I get clusters of mail from book clubs and, because I have writing exercises in my book, people will do the exercises and send them in for me to look at, which I LOVE! Oddly, about a third of the e mail comes from people who bought my book at Costco. I don't know why that should be, but it does perk me up every time I go on line and read one of those notes.

maestrowork
06-18-2008, 04:34 PM
I saved all my readers' comments. It's always a pleasure to receive them. Especially the really nice ones.

grommet
06-18-2008, 06:35 PM
I've had the good fortune to hear from readers too. It still amazes me that people I don't know, who aren't related to me, have read my book(s). And it makes me realize that I shouldn't have been so shy/reticent about writing to authors whose work I admired.

grommet (http://www.kathrynmillerhaines.com)

Susie
06-23-2008, 11:00 AM
I've had a few nice letters from readers, but one time I received a really scary one from a fellow in jail. The letter was hard to read, illegible and all with black lines throughout. Not good. Needless to say, I didn't write for that publication again. :)

MoonWriter
06-23-2008, 12:15 PM
It's very humbling when my readers take the time to put in writing how my works have affected them. Just the other day, Susie said that one of my posts was sweet. She even offered me some chocolate. That made me feel special because I know she doesn't rep many people with comments like that.

And Matera the Mad complimented me on another post. Now that I've seen her softer side (not literally), I'm not as afraid of her as I used to be. Ah! But that's when they get you, isn't it? When you drop your guard.

Sometimes I long for the days of anonymity.

HeronW
06-23-2008, 02:33 PM
AW posters & reppers are in a whole special goodie basket that I read when I feel lower than a worm's butt.
When I did Xena fanfic I got a few letters saying basically that 'You're crazy--do you have anything else you've written on Xena because I've read everything in suchandso site.' :D

KTC
06-23-2008, 02:58 PM
I just remembered my very first reader feedback. It was for my first publication... I think I actually mentioned it here before. The pub. was a memoir piece in the Globe & Mail. My wife--being a geek and an I-told-you-soer--took it to an art shop to get it 'mounted'. I could have killed her, I was that embarrassed. But she was telling the lady in the shop about it, bragging about her husband having a piece in the paper, and when she hauled it out the woman says, "Oh my God... Helen, come out here!" (I called her Helen, though I don't remember her name... nor do I trust that my wife gave me the right one). So 'Helen' comes out and the other woman says, "Look at that" and points to the clipping. They had both just read it the day before and it made them cry. They told my wife to tell me how much it meant to them. They actually did the 'mounting' for free. My wife went back to pick it up and they said that it was on them.

I think that will always be my favourite reader feedback.