Musings and Amusings

What traits DO we want in our readers?

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Just as we appreciate quality in writing, we appreciate thoughtful, engaged readers. Of course, the primary way readers support us is by leaving comments.

In our multi-tasking, fast-paced world, it is reasonable that readers will do a certain amount of “skimming” – they show up, skim your post, click the “like” button and move on to the next blog. I do this myself if time is limited or bloggers post multiple times a day.

Most of the time though, I linger on each post reading and absorbing the content. I try to respond in the way that will be most meaningful to that blogger and that specific post:

  • Encourage; praise; sympathize
  • Relate a similar experience or triggered thought
  • Inject some humor into my comment
  • Ask for more information
  • Heartily agree – or respectfully disagree – with an opinion
  • Suggest an answer or resolution
  • Recommend a link to a relevant blogger or online resource

Knowing how to comment effectively becomes easier as your engagement with specific bloggers evolves. I try to take cues from bloggers’ tones, their comments to me, and their “about” pages to determine the frequency of contact and degree of intimacy each blogger seems comfortable with. (Note: I’m not sure I’m successful!)

Beyond comments, how can readers support bloggers?

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Participating in daily challenges, blog hops, shout-outs and award nominations are all ways readers can acknowledge bloggers.

Late at night, I browse by searching tag words – for example, “musings” or “life” – to find bloggers I might be interested in following. It’s akin to browsing in the stacks of my library, which has always been one of my favorite indoor pasttimes.

Readers who can afford to might purchase books by indie authors and art or photography from indie artists. Bloggers often recommend books that have impacted them. Reading those is a way to gain perspective in your blogging relationships. I have taken a cue from Damyanti, using some of my book budget to buy and enjoy the following reads:

 

jane's book

  • Whirled: Life, Loss, and Healing on the High Plains by Jane Willis Musings on her life as a minister in a small Wyoming town. 
  •  

    seneca scourge

  • The Seneca Scourge by Carrie Rubin A medical thriller with a genre twist that gives her plot a unique flavor.

     

    Imaginary Friends

  • Imaginary Friends by Melanie Lee A compilation of Melanie’s A to Z Challenge fables with simple, thought-provoking messages for adults.

     

    Persepolis

  • Persepolis by Marjane Satrapi – Marci at Fuzzy Undertones recommended this graphic memoir of Marjane’s childhood in Iran. I found it highly informative and exceptionally creative, a great read I would never have discovered on my own.

    On my wish list for future purchases are:

  • A Dad’s Journey by Mark Trout

     

  • Climbing the Eiffel Tower by Elizabeth Hein (to be published Oct. 3, 2014)

     

  • Yakimali’s Gift by Linda Covella (to be published July 29, 2014).ย  Linda has THE BEST book trailer I have ever seen!

     

  • Art by several of my favorite artists (who will be featured soon in an artist shout-out post)

     

    I recently made a small contribution to Laurel Regan’s “Go Fund Me” campaign to help her reach her goal of attending a Certified Zentangle Teacher (CZT) seminar. Laurel’s blog introduced me to my new tangling passion, and I have learned so much from her. She generously shares her expertise, and I am grateful for her mentoring.

    Are there other ways you support bloggers or feel supported by your readers?

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Comments on: "Readers: Reading and Beyond" (66)

  1. I also enjoy readers who are engaged. I love reading comments and forming relationships through the blogging world. If we don’t have time for each other to leave a short comment, what do we have time for?

  2. I try to comment on other blogs, and I interview fellow authors on my blog. If anyone is interested in an interview, please contact me linda.covella@rocklogic.com. Since I’m a children’s writer, I prefer not to interview erotica writers. Nothing personal, I assure you!

    I hope to have engagement from readers when my books are released! ๐Ÿ™‚ Sammy, thanks so much for spotlighting my debut and my trailer. I love my trailer, created by the awesome Tanya Watt at http://authortanyawatt.wordpress.com/

    • I have seen some excellent interviews and appreciate bloggers who do that. I find the quality of the interview depends on the quality of the questions. I don’t think I’d be very good at thinking up questions, so I admire those of you who do!

  3. I try to be a good reader but it’s getting hard now that I’ve found so many good bloggers to follow. One downside for me is that I’ve been neglecting the books on my nightstand. My readership seems to be growing and I’m trying to encourage that as well as “thank” people by reading and commenting.

    I guess we will figure this all out somehow. That book of fables looks very interesting. I’m going to search for that.

    Thanks for a nice “make me think” post.

    • Haha, you beat me to it!

      • I’m going to go with the ‘great minds’ thing

      • Might as well try to respond to both of you, Dan and Jude. It’s a good dilemma to have, eh? Your followers exist because of the quality of your writing and photography.

        Damyanti had a good post awhile ago about responding, and at what point a blogger might not be able to keep up with the number of comments. I’m not in that situation, but as a follower, I would be ok with someone who obviously has a large following responding only occasionally to my comments and responding more often to their newer readers, or to the comments that add the most to the conversation. I put both of you in that category – not expecting to hear from you often, but encouraged when I do.

        As you say, Dan, we’ll figure it out as we go along, and saturation will differ for each blogger to some extent.

    • You can get Imaginary Friends on Kindle at Amazon; otherwise must order paperback from Singapore (see Melanie’s website). Am happy to drop my copy in mail if you want it; just email me with address.

  4. I prefer to leave a comment rather than just a ‘like’ but as my list of blogs I follow has grown – there are so many interesting people out there – sometimes I only have time to skim and like. But at least, hopefully, they know I have visited. And I also like to read other people’s comments and chip in – that way we all become involved with each other.

  5. I don’t mind “liking” as a reaction; sometimes there is nothing to say and as a blogger to thank each person at some point (when I have enuf readers) it may be impossible. I don’t read everything that comes to me with few exceptions.

    I have two authors for you: Land Circle, my favorite by Linda Hasslestrom (http://www.amazon.com/Land-Circle-Writings-Collected/dp/1555910823/ref=la_B001IXU0NU_1_4?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1405707446&sr=1-4) and
    Wallace Stegner — anything — but favorites are Angle of Repose or Crossing to Safety. I wept when he died. That is how good the man is!

    • Katie!!!! Linda’s compilation “Leaning Into the Wind” is my favorite book EVER. If I was stranded on a desert island, that’s the book I’d want. I will look for the one you recommended. I also have “Woven on the Wind” but like “leaning” better.

      Read and loved both of those Stegner’s; it’s time to add those to my re-read list, but I want to get through his short story collection first and it’s a thick book!!

      Stegner was a giant -as a man and an author.

  6. You’ve obviously put a lot of thought into this, Sammy. Dan and Jude are spot on with the ‘price of success’, if you can call it that. A couple of bloggers that I really respect have pulled back and post less frequently. That obviously leaves more time for commenting and visiting, and yes, even for living! ๐Ÿ™‚
    I’m intrigued by ‘Climbing the Eiffel Tower’ ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks, Jo.

      I started feeling guilty about not posting enough (how can I call myself a writer??), but the reading and exploring is just as compelling to me. I think it’s a matter of individual personality, needs and preference.

      I am just so grateful that so many bloggers I admire are willing to interact with me!

  7. …I love comments. I can sometimes ‘get’ that my blog has resonated with the reader in some way because of their comment. And, I most often learn from them – I see things in a new way. I support back – always. I don’t have a wide readership, I know this. I’ve not got into ‘technical’ ways of increasing readership.
    I recently re-read Hermann Hesse’s ‘The Glass Bead Game’ – and am currently reading Isabel Allende’s ‘ Ines, of my Soul’. Set in the 16th century and tells of leaving Spain to live in Chile. An extraordinary tale …
    I also donate books to the library … and use the library.
    Your tips are excellent Sammy, thank you.

    • Oh dear … Two more excellent authors and books to add to my “wanna read” list :-). I love getting recommendations for books – sometimes I just sit and peruse my many lists and – I can’t explain it – it’s like a choir singing to me.

      You are right about the comments; they are all supportive, but it’s the ones where you know exactly HOW you affected someone that mean so much.

      • That’s exactly right Sammy! How beautiful re lists of books ..’it’s like a choir singing to me’.
        Have a wonderful weekend!

  8. How nice of you to showcase my book! Thank you so much. You are very kind to spread the word about it along with those other books (which look wonderful!). I, too, enjoy reading books by other bloggers. I have a couple pages on my blog devoted to Indie books, and every so often I try to direct people there. By reading these books, I find myself reading outside my typical genre more, and it’s been a wonderful.

    Thank you again. So much appreciated!

    • You bet, Carrie. I’m happy to hear that you, as an author, support others and I have seen others share that spirit. We lift each other up by doing so.

  9. Brilliant post Sammy. To be honest I’m still at the stage where I’m chuffed if I get a comment! It’s nice to make you think about exactly how you can support others ๐Ÿ˜‰ Persepolis is one of my favourites! Have you seen the film of the book? x

  10. Very thoughtful post, Sammy, with so many great points! You are a terrific and supportive reader, and I have both benefited and learned from your example. Thank you for that. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, too, Laurel. You have brought several of us hours of pleasure, and I look forward to more.

      I think you said you’re going to the Blog-Her conference. I hope you will enjoy it; I’m sure it will be very rewarding.

  11. Hmmm………..

  12. Sorry,Sammy, I had to do it……. just a short comment, but it says so much don’t you think? I wish I had more time to keep up with all this reading and writing and tangling and gardening and commenting and sometimes I have to drop it all and cook and pretend to clean. I wish we lived closer, I would borrow all your books after you are done. My friend who used to pass on all her great reading material has gone back to work and moved further away as well, so I don’t have that great input from her anymore. Things are beginning to fall into place around here so I hope to get more organized and make time for all these things I love. I will never be bored for sure!

    • Hmmmm …… :-).

      Yes, if you lived closer I could tuck the books in a hole in a tree like the March girls and Laurie (was that his name?) used to do.

  13. I always love your comments on my post, Sammy! And I really enjoy reading your blog, too! I wish I had more time to visit and read other blogs, because I know there are so many talented writers with interesting perspectives out there. It’s definitely one of my goals when my boy heads back to school in the fall. Yup, a few hours to myself, a cup of coffee, and some good blogs to read…sounds like heaven, lol!

    • Thanks, Jen. I’m amazed that any of you raising kids or working have time to read or write!

      I think most moms are counting the days till school begins ๐Ÿ™‚

  14. This is really a great thought-provoking post, Sammy! I, too, love to make and to receive comments.(like all bloggers, I think!) I am so glad that you have made this list. I think you’re right, there are many ways to support each other. Especially new authors, as the book world is changing to embrace self-published and small publisher books. These communities that we make here are increasingly more important for recognizing new talent! I have discovered several delightful new books through WP that I might have never found before! I love the people here in this part of cyberspace. Encouraging one another in our respective endeavors is powerful! So thanks again Sammy ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you, Kelli. Your posts are always so upbeat and positive, and I love that you jump in feet first to so many writing challenges and write such charming pieces for all of them. I always have a sense of wonder when I see your post come into my screen ๐Ÿ™‚

      There is a reason many of us develop such close relationships through this medium, and I don’t think writing is the only reason for it. It’s a niche that fits me well, and I’m delighted to share it with you.

      • Aww…thanks Sammy ๐Ÿ™‚ I feel the same way about your posts! I love seeing what you are musing about and exploring. (thanks for the new “tangling” addiction, by the way!) I think it’s a very nice “niche” to hang out in, indeed!

  15. I always reply to comments on my posts, and I try to return the visits, but sometimes it takes me a while. I’ve found so many great blogs out there that I can’t keep up with them all!

    • That is the good news/bad news about finding so many stellar blogs, Lori. I was in quite a frenzy for awhile trying to find everything and be everywhere. Now that I’ve developed a strong mutual core of blogging buddies, I know they will always be here even if we miss each other for a post or a few weeks.

      I have no expectations that readers will stay with me if they have time constraints or find different bloggers who appeal more to them.

      In many ways the blogosphere feels like a giant, gently flowing river, and we’re all floating through at our own pace.

  16. I used to read a lot. Then I got a Nook and don’t find myself reading as much (that is a bit crazy-sounding) I am an RN so the medical thriller sounds great to me.

  17. I’m with ya, there, Sammy. The new Three R’s: reading, ‘righting, and responding.

    You are an extraordinary and generous soul, Sammy. I get a little blip of “yay!” when I see your bemuzin name in my inbox, or your avatar on a post. You, my dear, are the epitome of what community means here on WP. Thank you for sharing and connecting your readers to others in the blogosphere.

    • Had to laugh – I thought about using Read, Reader,Respond” as my title but thought it sounded like I was telling people what to do! Bossy bossy pants ๐Ÿ™‚

      Thank you so much for your making-me-blush compliments. As I began receiving responses, I realized I’m really preaching to the choir with this post because all you “regulars” already do all these things very well. But it also made me realize the broader aspects of blogging – columnists in newspapers or magazines (I have several columnist heroes) used to put forth their works with the occasional letter from a reader as feedback. I naively thought that’s what my blog would be – I’d write great thoughts and the masses would … be out there silently reading.

      Then I realized how much media has changed- rarely is it one way … people expect to be heard, want to interact, and generally want to do so quickly. I had to adjust to this new paradigm and, despite some longing for the good old days, have come to appreciate the two-way-ness of successful blogging. I do believe I have found my niche ๐Ÿ™‚

  18. Sammy, thank you so much for highlighting my book. That was very nice. I appreciate all the support you have given me. And I want to thank you for the reading recommendations. I’m anxious to check out the other writers, too.

    Thanks again, Sammy. You’re a thoughtful Reader and Writer!

  19. Love the photo of the baby with big eyeballs! Thanks for mentioning my book!

  20. See this is what I love the blogging and indie author community. There’s such a….well a sense of community (for lack of better word) to it. This is why I definitely want to go indie when The Book is ready, I think there’s a real sense of connecting with readers which is just awesome, and which I don’t think can be quite achieved with normal publishing -simply by virtue of it being run by large companies. The whole reason writers write is to reach across the void and connect with another person through the writing, and what you’re doing in a way is reaching back: connecting with those writers and then connecting them to other readers. It’s wonderful! And a really lovely thing for you to do (but then I’m not surprised since you are such an awesome and lovely blogger) *gush gush gush* haha

    As far as supporting indies, I tend to do more stuff behind the scenes (I do a lot of Beta Reading in fact) but whatever any of us do, in whatever little way, it all adds up and its what makes this part of the internet just so damn cool…

    • From what I’ve read, there are a lot of hurdles to self-publishing and the traditional route. It’s all the more remarkable that so many aspiring authors persevere until they reach their goal.

      I did not think to include things like Beta Reading, editing, etc. Those are all excellent ways to support authors. I’m glad you are able to participate in that – it does sound intriguing and very helpful.

  21. Blogging is a sure way to get closely acquainted with the author — as close as we can, anyway, it’s such a big world. And feedback, probably the best way to be let in on how the writing made a reader see one’s view, the emotional connection (hopefully there is one), or a shared laughter. Such results require we put a little more of ourselves out there, but that’s what makes blogging, in my view, worth every moment we spend on here.

    I click right out of posts that keep the reader at a certain distance, as if inviting us over, but never letting us in. What’s the point? Or out of blogs that do nothing but try to place a product. I don’t mind helping, but there’s a connection to be established. As such, those are probably the type of readers I would like in return. The same reader I try to be. ๐Ÿ™‚

    Anyway, I appreciate this thoughtful post, and the list of books here.

    • Thank you, Silvia. You raise some good points about subtle things (or not so subtle) that might turn a reader away. I’m not sure every blogger wants or cares about readers, and it’s curious to occasionally run across those, but I figure they’ve got their own reasons for what they do. Like you, I move on.

  22. Really great post, Sammy – these are all wonderful ways to interact with the blogging community. And, this is a perfect follow-up post to having received the Wonderful Team Member Readership Award! I will definitely have to look further at your book recommendations – I’m so happy that you enjoyed Persepolis so much…it’s such an intimate look at one family’s life, a look that I think we’ve been shielded from in today’s political climate. Supporting readers and interacting with other writers is one way of removing those barriers, and like I said in my award post, I hope to someday be a reader who actively supports and engages with writers across the globe (much like you!). What did you say – “Reading blogs is truly reading an anthology of humanity, and I am privileged to participate as well as bear witness.” Wow. That about sums it up for me. ๐Ÿ˜€

    • Thank you so much, Marci. You are such a joyful, kind and thoughtful presence – a Lady I Love ๐Ÿ™‚ I truly believe we can learn from bloggers around the world, and that is so energizing for me.

  23. Hi Sammy, thank you so much for supporting Imaginary Friends (and even getting the paperback, have fun coloring the characters)! You’re absolutely right – we writers need all the support we can get and I am so grateful for the lovely people I’ve met during the Blogging from A-Z Challenge. Unfortunately, besides April, I don’t really blog regularly but I do continue reading all the blogs I’ve made a connection with during the challenge. For a start, I’ll leave more comments ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thank you for visiting! I really enjoy your book; such simple but compelling messages. And just the right size to tuck in my purse. I bought colored pencils to try with the characters ๐Ÿ™‚

  24. Aside from stopping by and dropping ‘Likes’ and commenting, it’s always nice to get a shout out. I always feel a little extra special when my non-blogging friends share my blog posts on their facebooks and twitters. It’s nice to be able to have my voice heard by the those outside of the bloggersphere ๐Ÿ™‚ Great post!

    • Thank you! I’m happy to hear from you. Thanks for adding tips about readers using social media to expand a blogger’s reach. Some of us *ahem* older bloggers/readers aren’t quite up to speed on all those options ๐Ÿ™‚

  25. Hi Sammy; Judging by all the visitors above, you certainly have developed a large following in a fairly short time. ๐Ÿ™‚ Kudos to you and I’m sure your reading and replying on others’ blogs has a fair bit to do with that. Commenting and interacting make the Blogosphere go round and I do try to respond to every comment I get. It just takes a little longer sometimes, depending on what else is going on. I also support other bloggers by sharing their posts on Twitter, Facebook and Google + as well, to give them more exposure. I know you haven’t explored those options yet, but if you ever decide to, I’m a font of knowledge on the subject of social media. Have a great weekend!

    • Hi Debbie – thanks so much for your kind words and encouragement. I know many bloggers utilize multiple forms of social media, and that you’ve been very successful in doing so. I’m glad you mentioned those avenues for expanding blogging relationships and encourage my other readers to visit your blog and take you up on your offer to educate ๐Ÿ™‚

      For me, preparing my blog posts and reading and commenting on other blogsites takes up the maximum amount of time I want to spend on electronic media. I don’t want to use my remaining time learning how to utilize other outlets because I have too many other compelling ways to spend my time. I also prefer a “clean” blogsite, so showing running tweets, etc. isn’t something I’m interested in. As long as blogging is attracting a quality reader audience, which it is, I will stick with my simplistic methods. While I might be foregoing quantity of readership, I am prioritizing what is meaningful to me.

      • Looks like you’re doing very well without those other avenues, Sammy. ๐Ÿ™‚ You obviously have a full life, apart from blogging and that’s a wonderful thing.

      • Well, time will tell on the relevancy of blogging. I keep reading opposing views on the eventual demise of each kind of social media, so it will be interesting to see how each continues to evolve and thrive (or not).
        For right now, I’m saturated !

  26. I thoroughly enjoy our “conversations” via your blog and your comments on mine. You definitely inject humor into your comments!

    I agree with your comment about saturation. It would not be difficult to allow the virtual word to overtake one’s real world. But then, far better to spend your time reading blogs than watching daytime TV!

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