Friday, September 18, 2009

Reader Appreciation

posted by Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy

Writing and publishing is a CRAZY business!

There, I said it, and I know none of the Banditas will disagree with me. (And no, not just because they are scared of my riding crop.)

Another statement on which I'm SURE all the Banditas (pubbed and AYU alike) will agree is:

READERS ARE THE GREATEST!

Back in the day when I was AYU (As Yet Unpublished) I lived for those occasions when my critique partners or beta readers would tell me how much they enjoyed a certain chapter or passage in one of my WIPs. Written words of praise from contest judges or agents and editors (even if they were on a rejection letter) I treasured for the pearls they really were!

Even though I am now a multi-published author (Aunty supresses a tiny squee of joy), not much has changed. Hearing from readers that they enjoyed one of my books, whether it is an email, snail mail letter, or phone call from a friend, is the high point of any day!

Fan mail truly makes all the other craziness worthwhile.

But how can us writers let readers know how very much we appreciate them? Well, I tried to do my part. Last Sunday I threw a party for all my local friends and readers. "Officially" it was a Launch Party to celebrate the release of The Treasures of Venice. But "unofficially" it was an excuse for me to get together with everyone who could be there and give them pizza, cake, and sign copies of their books.

It was all great fun, and I got to see friends and former co-workers I hadn't connected with in weeks, months, or in some cases years. Since the book had already been on store shelves and shipped from online sellers for a couple of weeks, a lot of people had already read it. That meant I got to hear how much they enjoyed the story. "When is your next book coming out?" was a question I happily answered at least a dozen times.

Okay, so maybe the party wasn't entirely an altruistic gesture on my part. I enjoyed all the LOVE 'my baby' kept getting from everyone. And all those 'atta girl' pats on the back weren't bad either.

Yes, I have every intention of throwing another Launch Party when my next book is released. I just wish more of the Banditas and the BBs and all my wonderful online readers could be there!

What about you? If you're an author, what are some things you do to show your readers how much you appreciate them? Besides writing more great books, of course. And for all you fantastic readers, what can we authors do to show you that you really are appreciated?

57 comments:

Lynz Pickles said...

Mine?

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Yours again, Lynz!

Congrats!

AC

limecello said...

Awe, terrific post! Congrats on the GR, Lynz!

Reader appreciation? Heh. Tim Tams? :D
Otherwise, you know, the usual other lovely stuff - books, gift certificates... [lol it's late and my brain is fried from reviewing, so I won't go on - could be scary.]

Helen said...

Congrats Lynz as always enjoy your day with him, what have you got lined up for him to do today?

Aunty Cindy

Great post I love to connect with authors that write books that I love and I think you all do enough I get really excited when the authors email me back when I have emailed them to let me know how much I loved their book. I know how busy you all are writing wonderful stories for us readers and then promoting the book. Lots of authors have great contests to show their appreciation and I have been very lucky and won some of those. For me though I love keeping in connact that is enough for me.

I wish I could have been there for for launch party but I was there in spirit.

And again may I say how much I loved Keirnan and Sam's story and Nino and Serafina as well the book kept me enthralled thoughout.

Congrats and have a great cruise.

Have Fun
Helen

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey Lime,
Afraid you're buttering up the wrong author if you want TimTams... AHEM!

I always wonder if readers like book marks and all those other little trinkets with author names and book titles on them.

What say you?

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

AWWWW! Thanx Helen!
I WISH you could have been there in more than spirit! Maybe someday...

I guess I'm just paranoid that writing more books is not enough. It always was for ME when I was strictly a reader but... like I said, PARANOID!

I'm THRILLED that you liked Sam & Keirnan and Serafina & Nino. They were all such fun to write. I got a fan letter today asking if there might be something between Kathleen and Carlo... I will admit, the thought did cross my mind. What do you think?

AC

Helen said...

Aunty Cindy

Really writing more books keeps me very happy and yes Kathleen and Carlo that thought did cross my mind while I was reading the book I think it would be a fantastic story I really loved Kathleen's fiesty personality and Carlo was just so cool and lay back sort of but I imagine he would be very strong and I think their relationship would be very hot and steamy and fiesty bring it on I say

I also love book marks and book plates etc I have a wonderful collection of them thanks to some wonderful authors.

Have Fun
Helen

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

WOW! I see more than one thought about those two crossed your mind, Helen!

They would definitely have some conflicts to work out, wouldn't they? (Aunty wiggles eyebrows meaningfully) Thanx for the great feedback!

AC

Anna Campbell said...

Lynz, again? Clearly he didn't fly the coop after all!

AC, feedback from readers is just the bees' knees, isn't it? I just love hearing from people who have enjoyed my books - it never fails to make me smile. It makes me sad that I never wrote to any of the wonderful authors (many of them now, unfortunately, have passed away) I loved before I was published.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hi Fo!

I never wrote any fan mail either, and now I'm so sorry I didn't. But those authors were SO HIGH ON THAT PEDESTAL that I didn't feel worthy to write to them! HAHAHAHAHA! Little did I know there were mere humans just like me. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Well, I'm for bed one and all.

I have much to accomplish tomorrow to get ready for my cruise. But I WILL be here sometime before noon West Coast time!

PARTY ON!

AC

Lynz Pickles said...

Thanks for the congratulations. The GR and I have gotten past our rocky period - I lock up all valuables before he comes over these days - and are now getting along well. I think we'll just hang out today, maybe read a little.

I love this post, Aunty :) I love reader appreciation, because if I'm being honest with myself, I know that I'm more likely to pay full price for a book if I feel like the author's a nice person who takes time to connect with their fans. (Books on sale = free-for-all! At least where I'm concerned.)

What can authors do? Write great books, for starters. I'm partial to giveaways, I must admit. Like lime said, books, gift certificates... they all catch my attention and make me know that an author's aware of their readers. Blogging works too, especially at multi-author blogs like this one. I love that when I leave a comment, you guys always respond to it.

Since I review books for rakehell.com, I'm always impressed when I see an author responding to a review. I loved Tessa Dare's books and wrote my reviews or the first two accordingly. After reading them, she wrote me a lovely email thanking me for them, which made my day. And I was soooo impressed with Nicola Cornick when she emailed the three reviewers, myself included, who had reviewed her Fortune's Folly trilogy. I had major issues with the last book in it and my review reflected that, so the fact that she thanked us for our work despite the fact that some of it was negative struck me as so professional. Even though I didn't love any of the books in that trilogy, I'll probably buy her books again, just because that was so nice of her.

I always wonder if readers like book marks- At which point I cut you off to say, "YESSSSSSS WE DO! WE DO WE DO WE DO!"

Or at least I do. Proof being: today I received Ann Christopher's Campaign for Seduction in the mail. I won it on Access Romance and thought to myself, yay, I'm getting a book! When I opened the envelope, I found a signed copy of the book, four bookmarks, two buttons, and two stickers. I went from being just really excited, to being jumping up-and-down excited, because, seriously, it was so cool! And really smart, since the book's about a senator who's running for president, and the pins/stickers looked like the kind given out during political campaigns. Yay! (Also, I still have a hard time giving a bad review to a book when the author took the time to sign it/send me a postcard/bookmark. It makes me feel guilty to write something bad about the book after they do something that nice.)

Emmanuelle said...

Great post !!
What can authors do to show their appreciation ??
KEEP BLOGGING !!lol
I love it when authors do that. I live in France so book signings ans such are out of question. So I really really enjoy blogging with authors ;-)

Helen said...

I have to agree with that as well Emmanuelle I love it when authors blog and you get to "talk" to them no matter where you live.

Have Fun
Helen

PinkPeony said...

AC:

I'm reading "Wild Sight" and "Treasures of Venice" at the same time...if that makes any sense and I'm LOVING both of them!Makes me want to jump on an airplane or have a cuppa! I started WS and then the copy of TOV arrived in the mail..and dinner was an hour late that night.

The first author I ever emailed was the prolific Anna Campbell and she was nice enough to reply and I was worried she might think I was stalking her. =:-O

I think the author blogs are a great way to keep in touch with your readers. It's another way to project your personality to your adoring public. :)

Jen

Christine Wells said...

Aunty, congrats again and I'm so glad you had a great time at your party. This business is crazy and it's worthwhile to take stock sometimes and celebrate instead of always looking forward to the next thing, as I tend to do!

I've mentioned a few loyal readers on my acknowledgments page. I think readers really got a kick out of it and I enjoyed getting emails with squees in them when they read the book. But of course, you can only mention a few. I always write back to readers who contact me through my website or facebook to let them know how much I appreciate them. I think the personal touch never goes astray.

Helen said...

Christine

I am still on cloud 9

Have Fun
Helen

Jane said...

Congrats on the GR, Lynz.

Hi Aunty Cindy,
Congrats on another successful launch party. You sure know how to put together a good party. All you need is pizza and ice cream. I like receiving bookmarks and various other trinkets like sticky pads, pens and magnets. It also exciting when an author replies to your email about how much you like their book.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

I love the book marks myself, you can never, ever have enough and I use them to tell other friends about books I have read and loved too. I love the little "trinket" packages some authors send out, it feels like Christimas when I get one. Key chains, notepads, pens, book marks, books of course are just top of the line. I just won a "package" from MJ last week which is why I didn't comment when she was here in the lair, I love goodies but I try not to be greedy. It had her book, a book bag (thrilled I was), notepads, book marks, pens, I was like a kid at Christmas.
Bandita Tawny sends out some lovelies as well, I have been privileged to get a package from her as well. I was on my way to the doctor and got my mail as I was leaving, sitting in the waiting room I opened it and was very busy transferring my keys to my new key chain when I was called and had to show them my prezzies and had a nice discussion on Tawny's books on the way in. You never know when the next reader will be found.

Caren Crane said...

Cindy, congrats on the fabulous launch party AND on taking time to say, "Thank you." As a reader, I enoy any chance to speak with my favorite writers and tell them how much their books mean to me. I want to reach out to them but, honestly, I don't expect them to reach back.

The best thing an author can do for me, as a fan, is to keep me abreast of what they are working on and when to expect it. I adore excerpts from upcoming releases and "after" stories - scenes from my favorite characters lives after the book ends. I am always greedy for more of what I love!

Susan Sey said...

Good morning AC! What a great idea--thanking your readers (the local ones anyway) with pizza & cake! Makes me wish I lived closer myself. I do like pizza & cake. :-)

As for what writers can do to make me feel appreciated? Write faster. :-) Seriously. I want those girls AT THE KEYBOARD, you know? Nothing makes me happier than losing myself in a well-created world full of charm, humor & love. So get cracking, oh my favorite writers!

As for what I can do to make my readers feel appreciated? I haven't the faintest. My book won't be out until next summer & I'm hoping inspiration will strike between now & then. In the meantime, I'm open to any & all ideas...

mariska said...

Hi AC!
Congrats for the Party! Yay! I love the picture of the cake. Did they wrote the blurb at the back cake :D
What i love most from the Author: when they reply our mails, chat with us. And giving away a signed copy, signed bookmarks or buttons. And i think give some space in your new book, like 'thank you page', for your readers' (mentioning their names and email addy or their origin country) will be very Awesome experience for us, AC! :)
Mariska

Pat Cochran said...

Good morning, Aunty,

A response from an author to a note,
email, or blog comment makes me feel
so happy! I practically get up and
do a happy dance when one of you
indicates that you have taken note
of a communication from us. Thanks
so very much!

Pat Cochran

Donna MacMeans said...

Great Post Cindy!

I never know what to do to show appreciation for readers - so if any have great ideas - email me! I promise to respond.

I do a lot of face-to-face reader events (I'm speaking at one tonight), and I can't tell you how much it means to me to have a reader come up and say they love my books. It makes you want to keep writing - because believe me - there are days when it's tempting to say "no more!"

Part of my problem is that I don't think I'm very interesting and no one would really be interested in knowing what I'm working on - so I don't send out updates or newsletters as I should.

Keep those suggestions coming! I'll be back in a couple of days to read all the answers.

jo robertson said...

Great post, Cindy! It's true that we do all the nutso stuff we do in the writing business for our readers, whether those who've bought our published books or those who are our beta readers and critique partners.

Readers are amazing. I'm always surprised at the reviews ordinary readers publish on Amazon, for example.

Cindy's launch party was great fun with my favorite kind of pizza -- Round Table -- and a beautiful cake. Thanks, Cindy, I'm so glad I was close enough to come.

Again with the rooster, Lynz? Treat him well, but no Tim Tams for the chook. I hear he's getting rather . . . chubby.

Julia Smith said...

As Yet Unpublished - AYU - thanks for a cheery take on my current status. I'm going to use that one until I don't have to anymore.

I agree that it's exciting when a reader tells you they've felt this or that emotion while reading something you've written. That's a thrill that can never wear off.

housemouse88 said...

Hello Aunty Cindy,

As an avid reader and fan, just getting a reply to my letters from authors make my day. Thank you for your kind words and I can't wait for your next release. You are truly a craftsmen of words. Have a great day.

Roberta

catslady said...

Since I keep my books (they're all keepers), I like to have a bookmark from the author that I keep in the book - and if it's signed so much the better :) I think blogging is a great thing and my favorite blogs are when there is some interaction (like this one). I don't expect a reply or comment every time but it is nice to know both sides are reading and paying attention. I've stopped blogs where it seems that no one is listening.

Louisa Cornell said...

Lynz, you obviously have an all night hen disco, chicken spa and rooster condo at your place. Smart girl to lock up all of the valuables AND the car keys.

Aunty, how I would have LOVED attending your party! Authors like you who genuinely appreciate your readers will always have them.

Everyone knows I ADORE cover flats and have framed autographed cover flats all over my writing studio walls as inspiration until I get my own.

I am also quick to snatch up bookmarks especially for books I want to recommend to friends. It is so much better to hand them a bookmark than to just tell them about a book and expect them to remember it. I always send bookmarks to my Mom to put out at the restaurant. Her crew of little old ladies always come by to ask what books I recommend and they take a bookmark with them so they will know exactly what they are looking for when they run down to the local BAM. (The great Satan of bookstores I know, but it is close and trust me, you do NOT want some of these ladies on the road for long. SCARY!)

Janga said...

I love bookmarks and other swag, and I squee loudly and at length when I receive an autographed book, loudest and longest for an ARC. I'm thrilled when a writer responds to a comment from me on a blog or Facebook or Twitter. I'm even more thrilled with an email or a comment on my blog. But I think the most important way writers demonstrate reader appreciation is by writing the books I love to read.

MsHellion said...

This is one of my favorite parts of the internet: I can write my favorite authors (okay there are a couple who you can't just email) and tell them how much I loved their books.

And if I'm lucky, I get a response back--and that's almost even more thrilling than the awesome book!

I never felt confident to just sent out a snail mail letter to an author--esp if the letter was going to the publisher. I couldn't decide if the publisher would go, "Who is this punk?" and toss the letter or if the author would do that. Then I couldn't agree which would be worse. *LOL*

The internet is so much better. I love it. And I love "knowing" my favorite authors...it's awesome.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Morning all!
Aunty is happy to see (through the bleary haze) that you have be chatting while I was snoozing. :-)

Lynz, as Louisa says VERY SMART move to lock up all the valuables and keep the GR AWAY from your car keys! I do remember a certain event with the chook and a certain puppy dog named Frodo... AHEM! Oh, and a nice low fat low sugar diet would be a good idea too. As Jo mentioned, our chooky boy is getting a bit chubby. Methinks he needs another workout/training exercise as only P226 can provide!

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Lynz,
Thanx for your always thoughtful comments!

Interesting you should bring up the "people are more likely to spend $$ if they feel the person is nice." The DH and I were having this discussion just the other day. As I've mentioned, he is an artist, though not one who is actively selling his works. However, he does work with several artists who are and they all say pretty much the same thing. The days of the snooty and aloof artist are long gone. Galleries expect artists to get out there and play nice with the clientele. Those who don't aren't invited to do another showing because people just are not interested in buying their work!

I definitely see this carrying over into the publishing world. Some already established authors MIGHT be able to get away with not interacting with readers, but very few that I know of are reclusive. Besides, it's so much FUN to do stuff like blog!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

GREAT point, Emmanuelle!

Thanx to the Net, writers and readers can now connect no matter WHERE they are!

When we first started Romance Bandits, the number of visitors we got from all over the world really blew us away! I mean, intellectually you know it is possible, but then you get a post from a lovely woman who says, "Hello from France!" Or Indonesia (winks at Mariska) or Finland (Minna) or just about EVERYWHERE!

I still personally get a little thrill everytime I think of someone on a far corner of the world from me reading my book. :-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Helen and ALL our BBs,

All us Banditas are tickled pink that you all chose to share part of your day with us! We all HOPED when we started The Lair that it would be successful, but we never dreamed just how wonderful and FUN it would all turn out!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Hey PinkPeony!

Speaking of a long distance fan... NOT! Glad your copy of TToV arrived (I was tempted to drive over and deliver it myself) and that you are reading BOTH! Not even I have read them simutaneously... though I did do copyedits on TToV in the middle of writing Wild Irish Sea. That was a bit challenging since both heroes had names starting with "K". :-P

Adoring public.... Aunty LIKES the sound of that! Of course, our amazing La Campbell has a lot of that, but the rest of us are determined to meet her standard! ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Mme,
I agree that the personal touch is always welcome. Matter of fact, ANY of your yummy heroes could personally touch Aunty ANY TIME! MUAHAHA!

I haven't mentioned any readers in my acknowledgments so far, except for my First Reader. But I plan to remedy that oversight in the future!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Jane and Dianna,
Thanx for mentioning the little 'extras' to slip in with a book. Tawny is such a smarty and sooo organized too. I can just picture her with her alphabetically arranged boxes of goodies... "one from here, one from here..."

I'll need to collect more of those trinkets since I know you (and several others) like them. ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

And Dianna, GO YOU!

Talking up one of your FAVE authors in the doctor waiting room. Now THAT is a reader to appreciate!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Posh,
I do have a newsletter that I put out faithfully at least once a month, but what a GREAT IDEA to give out 'bonus' stories about favorite characters. I'll definitely think about that one.

One thing I am doing (when I return from my cruise) is I am asking my newsletter members to help me name my newest heroine!

If you wanna help, you can join my group from my website.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Smoov said: Write faster. :-) Seriously. I want those girls AT THE KEYBOARD...

YES'M!!! But that goes for YOU TOO, Missy! ;-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Mariska,
LOL! I didn't check the back of the cake. Maybe they DID write the blurb on there! :-) And I will definitely try to include thanks to some of my readers in future books, though we authors are limited in the amount of space we get for acknowledgments. (Aunty pouts.)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Pat, keep up that happy dancing! CONGA! (uh oh, here come the cabana boys en mass)

I can't say enough times how much ALL us Banditas appreciate ALL our wonderful BBs LIKE YOU who hang out with us here in the Lair!

(Aunty grabs the nearest cabana boy and steps into the conga line.)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Donna,
OF COURSE you are INTERESTING! Between that dapper riding hat and the pink corset purse, VERY INTERESTING! ;-)

Jo, I was sooo happy you came to the Launch Party! It was a blast! Can't wait to do it again.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Julia,
The credit for AYU goes to Ruth Kauffman. I heard her use it at a workshop in Atlanta in 2006. I LOVED it and have used it ever since. :-)

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Roberta,
Thank you for the wonderful compliment! I try hard to make every word count in my stories.

I'm so glad you enjoyed TToV!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Catslady,
Having just finished a 3 1/2 week blog tour, I know what you mean about blogs where NOBODY seems to be "home." You will NEVER find that the case here in the Lair! We're so glad to have you with us!

CONGA!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Louisa,
We all KNOW you'll have your own cover flats VERY SOON!

And I am LOL about your mom and her lady-friends driving to Books A Million. Talk about the "wrecking" crew! LOL!

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Janga,
I still haven't got the hang of twitter... okay, honestly I haven't tried because I already waste far too much time on Facebook!

WHEN am I suppose to sit down and write that next book? I know, I know, off to the deep dark writing cave for me. :-P

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

MsHellion,
LOL on sending a snail mail to an author via their publisher. I wouldn't have the nerve to do that either. I can just picture my letter posted on a bulletin board under the banner: Dork of the Week

I'm with you, EMAIL is the way to go! And I really should start sending more to authors whose books I admire...

AC

Helen said...

Donna

I love your books and would love to get a newsletter and updates about what you are working on, I get lots of newsletters from authors and I read them all love them.

Louisa
I would love one of your coverflats when your first book is published i am sure it won't be long I love them as well.

Have Fun
Helen

Louisa Cornell said...

Aunty, picture a line of flying Dutchmen with nothing but a fluff of blue hair peeking over the steering wheel. See, I told you! Scary!

Helen, I promise you will be the first person to get a coverflat after my Mom!!

And yes, Aunty, I too recall the incident with Frodo, the Chook and my poor car, Big Blue. I swear if you say the word "rooster" that car starts to shimmy.

Pissenlit said...

I'd never say no to book swag but I'm normally good with an author being friendly...or friendly and signing my books. :D Not so much on the signing my books without being friendly though...I tend to regret getting my books signed if that happens...

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

LOL Louisa, I saw a lot of that on trips to Florida! But I LOVE that your mom and her 'crew' are romance readers. ;-)

And we'll all be careful about saying the R word (No NOT romance) about Big Blue.

AC

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

Pissenlit,
I can't imagine NOT being friendly at a signing. But I've heard stories of other authors...

I DO NOT GET IT! And I don't think I'll ever get to the point where I am not grateful for every single person who buys one of my books. If I should ever slip (Aunty shudders at the thought) you ALL have my permission to use my crop ON ME!

AC

Virginia said...

Congrat Lynz!

Personally, I think most authors to plenty for their readers. The main thing is to keep a good supply of good books coming our way! Believe me when I say we really do appreciate you ladies and we could make it without you, so just keep up the good work and let us know when something new is coming out.

Loucinda McGary aka Aunty Cindy said...

HUGS, Virginia!

SOOO glad we have you hanging out here in the Lair with us!

AC