No, I've not won any awards...settle down:) However, I did have a neat thing happen Tuesday night!
I was standing at the counter, watching the server making an espresso and waiting for my turn in the ladies' room when an older man walked up and placed his order. I commented on the soup choice, and he agreed with me. Then he looked at me again.
"You look familiar; where have I seen you before?"
"I'm in here every Tuesday."
"Where do you work?"
"I'm an author; I stay home and write. Maybe you've seen me at one of the festivals around town?"
He snapped his fingers. "The art gallery. That's where I've seen you. Weren't you waiting to see if you were going to be offered a contract?"
"Yes; I received it. Now I'm waiting for the edits to arrive..." and the conversation went from there.
Which brings me to my topic: Interacting with Readers and Authors Online
Lifted this from Hitting The Hot Spot (Forgive me, Jude!)
How often has a reader told me they lurk because they don’t feel important enough to post a message or comment on something an author has shared? To read Jude's full article, go here.
I joined the online community nearly three years ago. I don't mean simply having e-mail; I'm talking about joining Yahoo groups and reading blogs. And this question resonated with me, because, quite frankly, I'm basically a shy person. (Until I feel comfortable with others...no laughing at me Reg, Anny, Brynn, Bron, or Cindy!)
I started with a local writer's group and met some wonderful people. One received an agent and release dates, and it inspired me to push for publication of my 2nd book. And when I attended a local conference later that same year, I was even more thrilled to be telling potential authors about the yahoo group and the knowledge I was being an inspiration to others. In short, my ego got a little inflated.
I started reading a few blogs, but didn't feel 'right', jumping into a conversation with obviously successful and multi-published authors. So after a few weeks, I screwed up my courage and emailed one of them. She welcomed me with open arms, and encouraged me to set up a blogger account so I could comment. Soon the other two were visiting my website and in general, being supportive. Finally, I started this blog. And joined other yahoo groups.
I'm still shy about expressing a strong or controversial opinion, and when I first joined the yahoo groups, I'd start small. A comment here, a promo post there. When my second book did arrive, I posted excerpts and received some good feedback from my new friends and even others I'd not previously chatted with. What I'm no longer shy about is commenting on new blogs I find, or get directed to by my friends.
After taking some time off from the loops while I've been editing, writing some more, and diverting my attention to promoting Kenzie's book (and believe me, yahoo chats can suck you in and distract you from any writing goals!), I found myself reluctant to jump into conversations on the loops, especially when the names of the chatters have changed. But slowly, I'm working my way back into building relationships again, with readers and other authors who have joined while I was gone. It's not so much as feeling unimportant; I think it has more to do with courtesy. Would YOU appreciate someone butting into your conversation and expressing their two cents, if in person? Or is it different online? Sometimes my comment has gone totally ignored. So now I stick to the posted questions and the convcersation flows from there.
So I guess the 'game' goes like this: Say you decide to answer an author's open question, such as 'What Are You Reading?' You find yourself trading banters with another person and soon you're trading information and visiting each other's site. Guess what? You just made a new friend/potential reader.
-We successfully brought the downstairs TV upstairs. The 5-yr old is happy again, and so is everyone else!
-Went to the doctor about my still-clogged right ear and am now doing a four-day stint on steroids. Guess what happens if this doesn't clear it up? It's back to the ENT for me, which undoubtedly means another tube in the ear. Grrrr....the bright side to this is I'll know to tell the nurse to clamp my head in place while the doc is doing his thing! It hurt like hell the last time, because I couldn't be trusted to hold my head still. The nurse took a hold of my head, the tube slid in, and...NO PAIN! I'd still like to be knocked out for the procedure...tell everyone you know to buy a copy of all my books, so I get a nice fat royalty check and can pay for the anesthesia, lol! I know...I'm a wimp....
-Discovered my additional words on the new story only brings my word count to 650. Great. Only another 300 words to add. I'll have to either add more dialogue or change my 'brilliant' one-liner ending:) Wish me luck!
What's on your agenda today? And what was your initial reaction when you started communicating with other authors?