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Fan Mail Reply Etiquette


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I am starting to get fan emails now for 0's and 1's Book 1 from other websites, which is both gratifying and also surprising. I know GA has reader reviews and I've kept up with you guys very well, but how do people handle fan emails from other sites?

 

I've answered a few at the start, but I am starting to get more, what is the best way to keep readers happy and content as an Author?

 

Any rules that I should follow?

 

I don't think we've ever discussed the etiquette of fan emails on GA before, mainly because we converse on the site more often than with personal emails as other websites might produce. I just feel like if your reader writes to you as a favored author, you should reply in the same form they had sent it to you.

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I'm not actually sure about what to do, I've heard both sides of the argument, so I think it should be a personal preference thing. I did see an article on GA somewhere that talked about what can happen if you respond to reviewers, people can intentionally take things out of context and make your life miserable as an author. Having said that, I think its important to stay in contact with your fans, especially the ones who do take the time to contact you.

 

If it were me, I'd respond to everything, but I know that can't always happen if you have a lot of emails to catch up on.

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I reply to all emails. Keeping it short and sweet for the most part. I had one negative one from a guy who didn't like my teenager hanging out with adult males so much and having the type of conversations they had. He insisted he wouldn't allow that if it was his son. I assume he stopped reading.

 

One big difference between GA and the emails is I've yet to receive one from a woman. Kinda surprised me when I realized it considering my experience at GA. That's been about the only difference. I ask readers here to review, so I feel I owe them a reply. Same with other sites since I give them my email address and ask for feedback.

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Those emails have come without the supportive and encouraging environment of GA so they are a real feather in your cap. :)

Reply to them all if you possibly can. Maybe have a form letter which you can adapt quickly and appropriately.

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I would say respond to as many as you have time for, with the exception of any hateful or threatening ones. Those should not be responded to and be stored in a file should anything escalate. Remember to always CYA! (Except of course in intimate situations!)

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If it is at all possible, I would suggest replying to all emails, even if it's just a quick thank you. I've emailed a couple of authors recently and never got replies, and as a consequence I'm unlikely to email them again.

 

If the volume is too high to response to all of them, and if you haven't finished posting the story at the other sites, add a comment to your next post to thank all the readers and to apologise for not being able to respond to all of them. That at least tells them that you've read their email and they're not being ignored. Not responding in any way makes the reader feel like they're being ignored, which doesn't make them a happy reader.

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I hope a delayed response is better than no response at all.

Definitely! I've had authors that have taken a week or two to get back to me. I don't care -- the fact that they've replied is what I consider important.

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Having been writing away from GA far more than having been 'brought up' here, I have always encouraged email feedback. It's very easy for writers to quit if their work seems to go up an a poof of no one noticed.

 

I know people will give all sorts of reasons for you to write, and that may be fine for them; but I like to talk about them and what people liked or didn't. When stories fail to garner any interest, especially from the work that goes into making them, it can be very discouraging, even with as many years as I've been at this.

 

So, yeah, I'd encourage you to reply to those emails - they don't last forever.

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Having never posted on GA, I probably don't have as much insight, but I know on the past when I posted stories online, I definitely appreciated email feedback, and if anyone bothered to write to me I'd try to respond in kind, though it sounds like you have a lot more responses than I ever received. Being more of a reader now, if I really like a story (outside of GA where it's easy to review) I'll generally send an email. It does peeve me a little personally if I never get a response back if the author asks for feedback. The way I look at it is, if an author is just posting for fun and don't care about what readers think they probably don't care about feedback. But if an author specifically asks for feedback, I'll sometimes give very long response emails and then hear nothing back. I usually won't bother with any further response. Even a quick "Thanks for reading," is better than nothing. Just my two cents.

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I have tried (not always successfully) to reply to the readers who review anything I post. If they've gone to the trouble to say something (and I've received 99.44% positive reviews), then like Carlos, I feel I owe them that much. Because I have never posted anywhere but in the friendly confines of GA, I can't say that I've received emails from any other source. I guess I like it here too much to bother with anyplace else.

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I'm an easily distracted person, and I tend to forget about emails if I don't respond quickly. I've probably ended up alienating a lot of people this way, and so I recommend if this is a problem you also suffer from, respond immediately.

 

The thing about emails is that a person has to go out of their way to write one. They've taken the time to write you because your story was important enough to them for them to want to let you know. I personally think we owe it to them to respond, and with at least equal investment to what they've shown to us. The relationship between writer and reader is one to nurture, if possible, if you want to keep people invested in your work.

 

Of course, you can take all this with a grain of salt. I completely suck at all the advice I just offered, so maybe I'm just full of myself? :P 

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One of the things I like about GA is Reply to Reviews and the PM system. It means you can react to reviews directly and also interact with personal messages without using emails directly.

In one of the other two places I have posted my stories, they also have a Send a feedback system, but you cannot see who sent the message unless they write their user name. There is an option to leave an email address, but I don't want to reply by email, since I'm careful about who I share it with. Partly after a not-so-nice incident.

I want to reply to every message I get, particularly since they are few and far between, so it really annoys me when I cannot do so without compromising my need for privacy. As a reader I also enjoy getting a reply back.

Edited by Timothy M.
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There is an option to leave an email address, but I don't want to reply by email, since I'm careful about who I share it with. Partly after a not-so-nice incident.

I want to reply to every message I get, particularly since they are few and far between, so it really annoys me when I cannot do so without compromising my need for privacy. As a reader I also enjoy getting a reply back.

 

You can do what I do. I have two email address: my personal one (that I check constantly) and a public one that's just for reader feedback that I try to check at least once a day. Between gmail, yahoo, and outlook, it's easy to create email addresses and you can then choose which one you want to be publicly known. That keeps your private life separate from your public life as an Internet author.

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You can do what I do. I have two email address: my personal one (that I check constantly) and a public one that's just for reader feedback that I try to check at least once a day. Between gmail, yahoo, and outlook, it's easy to create email addresses and you can then choose which one you want to be publicly known. That keeps your private life separate from your public life as an Internet author.

 

I already have that, but I still don't like to give my 'public' email out to all and sundry. Yeah, I'm weird, I know that.  :*)

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I already have that, but I still don't like to give my 'public' email out to all and sundry. Yeah, I'm weird, I know that.  :*)

 

I don't think you are at all weird about this. Of course, I don't get much in the way of fan mail, but I'm content with the GA Personal Message system, rather than the other services. That's my opinion, of course.

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