Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Considering The Writer/Reader Relationship…

I’ve referenced Joel Friedlander and his blog, The Book Designer, a number of times on this blog.

One post in particular, Where’s The Gate? ~ More Thoughts On Publishing…, would make a good paired-reading with this post

There’s no doubt that the relationship between writer and reader is undergoing fundamental change.

My personal take, stated briefly, is that we’ll see the reader replacing the publisher as the force determining which books get read.

Certainly, since books have been in existence, readers have shared their book picks and had some influence on book sales. However, much of the influence readers have been able to wield has been leveraged and/or payed for by publishers.

So, assuming readers are capable of gaining power in the process of book sales and distribution, how can an author facilitate the transfer of power?

Joel invited Mary Tod to guest post about the writer/reader relationship in, How Self-Publishing Changes the Bond Between Readers and Writers.

I’ll share her bullet-points about what the self-published writer should consider when they ponder their readers:

  • Listening – create ways to listen to your readers and collect data about what you hear; use focus groups and surveys to support regular listening mechanisms. Make sure you respond when they ‘talk’ to you.
  • Customer knowledge – find out why people buy your products (or not), why they recommend you to others (or not), why they are repeat buyers. Understand what else they buy.
  • More customer knowledge – understand who your buyers are, what segment and communities they belong to.
  • Conversations – find unique ways of connecting with readers, ways that will enhance your brand as an author, ways that enable dialogue not one-way broadcast.
  • Collaborate – go beyond listening and conversation to collaborate with your readers, perhaps testing your products in advance of a full launch or soliciting ideas for additional content.
  • Long term relationships – develop mechanisms to foster long term connections with your readers. Keep them engaged even as you create new offerings.
  • Community – build a community of your readers. Facilitate mechanisms for readers to interact with one another as part of this community and to broaden the reach to additional readers.

I strongly encourage you to read the whole article.

Then, come back here and help me have a conversation about it, ok?
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9 responses to “Considering The Writer/Reader Relationship…

  1. indiebookslist July 15, 2011 at 3:32 am

    Another excellent post! Lately – and I don’t know why it didn’t dawn on me earlier – I’ve put a lot of these items into action. On my author website ( I have a reader survey, and a password-protected deleted scene. I’ve also seen a big surge in readers at my Facebook author page. I spent too much time listening to other writers, which I should have spent more time listening to my readers. I am about to add a forum and an email list so readers can subscribe to either my blog, new release announcements, or informed of when I post deleted scenes/extras on my website. Or they will be able to subscribe to a combination of the three. When readers love your work, they instantly want more. I am giving away free coupons to get my books free at Smashwords on the day of their release. I don’t see it as lost revenue. I see it as keeping my readers happy. I had one reader tell me this week that she turned four of her friends on to my books. When you’re trying to make a name for yourself as a writer, you can’t put a price on the importance of engaging and cultivating your audience.

    I love your blog! And I have more time to read it, now that I quit my day job. :)


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 15, 2011 at 4:06 am

      Well, first, Shaina, congratulations on being able to quit the day job !!!

      Also, I love that you have deleted scenes and other extras for your readers :-)

      Plus, I wholeheartedly agree that nurturing your readers is paramount and should be fertilized with giving them gifts and praising them and doing them favors and, if possible, including them in the writing process


  2. Simone Benedict July 15, 2011 at 8:52 am

    I liked the conclusions, especially when compared to the bullet list. I wonder why some of the authors mentioned aren’t engaging in much feedback (listening). The entire article is very good. This is just part that particularly struck me.


  3. Selena July 15, 2011 at 1:57 pm

    Excellent information, Alexander. I haven’t researched the self-publishing issue much. But lately it has a certain appeal. I like the idea of being in control of what happens to my work. Your recent posts have opened my eyes to the types of effort and communication that can make it successful. I was really surprised when I read that James Redfield and Richard Bolle had self published first. Two very successful stories! With the work that you are doing with NFAA, are you seeing good results?


    • Alexander M Zoltai July 15, 2011 at 4:02 pm

      First, Selena, I’m glad you’re finding the posts useful :-)

      Second, about the work I’m doing with Notes from An Alien :

      In the year-and-a-half I’ve been learning about and pursuing self-promotion, two things have become blindingly clear–it takes Massive Effort & the core task is Relationship-Building.

      I spent a lot of time trying to utilize Facebook and Twitter but have recently left them behind in the dust from my journey

      I recently began using Google+ and have high-hopes for it helping me build stronger relationships

      My sales are still extremely moderate but I’m not troubled at all

      Finally, I’ve been freely offering a digital manuscript of the book and will always do so. I now have an email list of over 170 people who got the free edition. When the Companion Volume is published, they, and however many more accrue, will be a ready and (hopefully) willing audience

      And, finally Final: two books can help sell each other :-)


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