Many thanks for @wildone for covering for me last month. I didn't want anyone to think I had a big head to write the article where I answer Ask An Author questions. Speaking of big heads...
Oh dear. Gay Authors community, I can confidently say none of you are ready for this month's edition of AAA. I know I've said that in a previous article, but this time, the seams might actually rip with this one. This is, without a doubt, the most difficult edition of Ask An Author 3.0 I have ever written. Everyone tighten your shoelaces, buckle your seat belts, and get your giggle-boxes ready. If you are in a public space with people passing by, prepare to have everyone look at you as if you're a lunatic.
Once again, the AAA rule book has been chucked out the window. It's not a series. It's not an admin or moderator. Nope... I had to interview two
troublemakers authors at the same time. But not just any two authors. For some strange reason, an anonymous member of our community tasked me with moderating babysitting interviewing two ladies with the power to generate comment counts on an astronomical scale. Together, with their powers of coconut and mango habanero whiskey, they're a reckoning force. If you haven't already guessed who I'm referring to, I had the pleasure of chatting with @kbois and @Mrsgnomie.
Before I get to the good stuff, a few quotes from them before the interview began:
kbois (after Aaron sent the questions): So help me if this is @weinerdog...
Mrsgnomie: Love this!
kbois: Only 3 of us on the thread. No need to suck up.
astone2292: Just a fair warning, I might use anything you say here.
Mrsgnomie: I’m gonna come out smelling like a rose 🌹
astone2292: I think it might be best for me to act as a moderator, asking one question at a time. Let's focus on the first question.
Mrsgnomie: I can’t take you seriously with your profile picture.
Here are the questions for our authors:
What do you feel are the important contributions of the comments to the stories and the readers?
Mrsgnomie: Feeling connected to the story is one of the best parts of reading a book. Here on GA, not only do you get to feel connected to the story, but you get to connect to the author and the community. It makes it a 3D experience! It fleshes out thoughts and feelings. I’ve seen readers come into the comments feeling one way but by the time they finish, they have more insight and new thoughts! As an author, being engaged with the readers heightens the experience of sharing. The comments have time and again given me inspiration and helped improve my writing.
Life without the comments is black and white. I want to live in color.
Comments are an absolute necessity when building a relationship with your readers. Not only do readers provide some amazing insights, but they often have a unique way of looking at something in a way I never considered when writing the story. I enjoy seeing things from a different perspective. It helps me to grow as a writer. The banter and teasing is icing on the cake. The GIFs... well, they speak for themselves.
Gnomie wants to live her life with color. I want to live mine with sass and snark.
Mrsgnomie: Living life in color is living life with sass and snark. Gah!
You two are playfully combative and competitive in comments. Do your readers pick up on it and expand that playfulness to you and other readers? What are the positive results of these playful comments?
Playfully combative? Ummmm. Okay?
Gnomie and I speak the same language. Being fluent in sarcasm is an advantage that allows us both to connect to our readers on a different level. To me, being able to joke around with someone like we do, it shows that we can have fun and bring about some laughs along the way. It helps keep the readers engaged and involved in the story.
Mrsgnomie: Kbois and myself are not the only two people who enjoy having a good time, especially at the other's expense. The banter between us is authentic, and that authenticity has created a culture within our stories and our author realm that's opened the door for readers to join in. I can't speak for GA, but I think the desire behind sites like these is that there is a real community connection, and an authentic community is more than 'likes' and 'story compliments'. It's realism. As real as one can get on the internet. Kbois and I have forged a pretty dang good friendship, and everyone is welcome to have a drink and a seat in our living room. Come one, come all.
kbois: Awwww.... thanks Boo! I'll bring the whiskey.
Are there any negative consequences? How do you handle/respond to comments that are too close for comfort? Here I am referring to readers who suggest possible future events and actions in the story.
Mrsgnomie: Off the top of my head, I don't think there have been any negative consequences. It doesn't matter what you do, there will always be people who don't like what you're offering. As an author, my stories aren't for everyone. Our community isn't for everyone. I don't think our banter or the culture we've cultivated has created anything negative that we wouldn't have gotten regardless.
Oh, you want to bring up those readers? The ones that guess the deets too early? How dare they?! Many messages have gone back and forth between Kbois and I when a reader gets a little too smart. I usually ignore the comments or dangle a carrot in a different direction. Kbois gets really worked up about it. She's even edited chapters to try to throw readers off. Psycho.
kbois: Psycho? Really? Learned from you.
Honestly, negative comments are few and far between. Gnomie gets worked up about those. Overanalyzes every decision she's ever made. Me? Whatever. This is one instance where we totally agree. You can't please everyone. There are other authors that I absolutely love their stories and there's more than a few that just aren't my cup of tea. Everyone's tastes are different and that's part of what makes GA such a great platform.
Does it bother me when readers hit the nail on the head? Nah. Have I edited a story because of it? Yeah, but not drastically. Am I going to blindside them with something else? No doubt about it. Do I enjoy going off about it in a chat between us? Of course. We've spent hours discussing the ins and outs of our stories and characters. For as much time as they're in our heads, it's so important to get another opinion especially if one of us is stuck on something. I lost count of how many times one of us started a chat with got a minute to bounce?
How personally important to you are the comments, recommends and review to you as a writer? Here I am not referring to increasing readers, but your personal feelings about your writing.
kbois: Brutal honesty? I'm wicked insecure about my writing. I know I'll never be the next Stephen King or Nora Roberts and I don't want to be.
When readers comment on a story, it's uplifting. It's an affirmation. It's somebody saying "hey, you did good." It makes me want to continue writing, even though doubts always hover over me. The occasional negative feedback I view as a learning opportunity. I think there has only been a couple of occasions where the comments indicated a reader didn't like the story and wasn't continuing.
I've had readers comment about flaws in my writing. I've messaged them asking for advice on how to improve. How else am I going to learn?
I went through my fair share of bullying as a kid. Fourth grade was hell. My brothers often teased me, and it had a negative impact. Self-confidence is something I struggle with even now.
Writing allows me to create new worlds. Worlds that allow me to get lost in them for a while. It's a privilege to be able to share them.
I look forward to the comments on every chapter I post. Granted, Shadow Effect became Comment Central. I never expected such an overwhelming response. Not only do readers care about the story, they genuinely care about me as a person. I spent two weeks dealing with the aftermath of hurricane Ian and everyone was concerned and understanding.
So yeah, comments, reactions, recommendations and reviews are very important in giving me a boost in confidence and the desire to continue writing.
Gnomie loves the competitiveness. 🤣🤣
I wouldn't be where I am if it wasn't for all those things. I don't consider myself a writer. I never enjoyed it growing up. Technically speaking, I'm not any good at it. I wrote my first story because it's what I wanted to read at the time but couldn't find it, so I wrote it. It's the feedback and comments that encouraged me to write a second story. It was the promotion to Signature Author that pushed me to be a better author. It's the amazing community, comments, DM's, recommendations, comments, etc that keep me wanting to write. I wish I could say that I write for the love of it, which I do love it now, but it's not some therapeutic thing I do for myself. I do it because it's well received and people seem to genuinely want more.
If no one wanted to read my stories, I wouldn't put forth the effort.
If YOU have questions about a member of our community and/or their stories, send me a PM! We're looking for articles to promote wonderful works on the site. I got one more in the piggy bank before I'm left with drastic options...
Until next month!
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