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Authors, how do you reply to comments by readers?


Aceinthehole

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As a reader, I feel ignored if the author has not either Reacted or Replied to Comments on their story. While I appreciate getting a Reply on every Comment I make, I can understand why an author might choose to ignore one or more Comments. I believe a minimum effort should be Reacting to Comments to show that they’ve been noticed and read.

 

I’m sure I offended one author because I recently had trouble believing early- to mid-teenagers (acting like middle aged men) with access to tens of thousands of dollars in disposable income buying expensive, exotic, esoteric audio equipment, but said author has not even Reacted to anyone’s Comments to the story!

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On 1/2/2019 at 6:27 PM, Headstall said:

As an author, I love interacting with readers, and as a reader, I love interacting with authors. Delving into a story I've written is rewarding for me, and I make sure never to shortchange any reader's interest. I relish hearing the thoughts and reactions to both the characters and the story. Yes, it can be hard work to respond sometimes, because I tend to get carried away and write a 'book' response, but it gives me great enjoyment. I consider comments my pay for countless hours trying to produce something better than readable, and the comments I give to other authors are my offerings of respect for the same effort they put in. As @Dodger says, it is the best part of posting stories and poetry online.

 

That's a really nice sentiment. It's really nice to think of comments as an exchange of respect for the work that goes into writing or reading a story. 

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On 1/2/2019 at 6:46 PM, Thorn Wilde said:

I try to always respond to comments. I love hearing what readers have to say about my stories, and I feel like by engaging them in return, they'll share their thoughts with me even more. Art should be a dialogue between artist and audience. Depending on the comment, it can be more or less in depth. Sometimes I practically write a dissertation in response to a long and well thought out comment, and other times I just thank the reader for reading my story and commenting. But I always engage.

 

(Except for during my two year hiatus, I guess. When I got back I felt embarrassed at the idea of responding to comments that were months old, so I didn't. Don't know if that was the correct choice or not...)

Creating a discussion is a great way to get readers to share more thoughts. I'm sure thats very helpful to growing the story more as well. Thanks!

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On 1/2/2019 at 8:32 PM, Parker Owens said:

I reply to comments individually. It’s really great when someone brings up an interesting angle or thought I never considered. I agree with others in that if someone took the time to comment on a chapter or poem, they ought to hear from me in the same way. Like @Mikiesboy and @Headstall, I reply to comments that are old because I missed them one way or another. I offer an apology, and then reply. 

 

Going back and responding to old comments is a good idea. I'll have to look through some of my stories and a few I haven't replied to yet.

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On 1/3/2019 at 7:35 AM, jkwsquirrel said:

I usually waited a day or two before I began responding.  I wanted the readers to have the opportunity to discuss the story without my interference.  It also gave me a chance to relax and enjoy the experience without having to respond to everything.  After a day or so, I'd reply to each of the comments.  Sometimes, comments of multiple readers could be grouped together and addressed with one reply if they touched on the same theme, or a group of comments from the same reader could be responded to with one reply.  It wasn't so much "I have to reply to every single comment" as much as it was "I want to make sure every reader knows how much I appreciate their response."

Waiting a day or two is a good idea. In addition to help readers have their discussion without interference, I'm sure it's helpful as an author to gather your own thoughts as well! 

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On 1/3/2019 at 8:34 AM, BHopper2 said:

I was horrible about this when I first started posting. Now, I answer each one individually. If the person responds to my response I'll answer that one too, until the back and forth looks like who gets the last word and stop. I try to go back and answer old comments. If I spot them. 

 

I try to answer each one positively, but there are almost always one or two that makes me want to respond, "go write your own darn story, if you don't like what I'm doing and where I'm going."

 

EDIT: Hence the reason why I have the two quotes in my signature.

 

It's nice you stand up for yourself when you need to in your comments. It's an unfortunate thing that needs to be done from time to time. But I do agree with trying to be positive as much as possible.  

 

P.S. I have money on the duo of Kucherov and Stamkos leading the NHL in points by the end of the year. So far I have a decent lead in front of my other friends in on the betting!

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On 1/3/2019 at 1:56 PM, Carlos Hazday said:

I write and people read. We're even.

 

A comment by a reader means they took an extra step; I like balance (I'm a CPA) so I feel the need to reply. While working as an accountant for a large firm, we were asked to reply to all messages within 24 hours. I try to do the same with comments. If I didn't want the interaction with readers; I would post elsewhere. My replies vary from a simple acknowledgment, to teasing, to proper explanations. It all depends on the comment, my mood, and the moon phase. :)

 

 

Creating that balance does sound important, especially when helping readers feel appreciated.

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