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How to increase feedback

October 7, 2009
Posted at 11:10 am
Updated: October 7, 2009 - 3:57 pm

Well, I finally figured out how to get feedback responses above two percent of total readership.

Post the wrong chapters in an ongoing story update.

My goodness, how the volume of mail goes up.


Now, for those of you who missed out (and that can't be very many - you'll see why I think that in a minute) let me tell you what happened.

On Wednesday morning I posted what I THOUGHT were two chapters of Version Bravo of Orchard Flower. Turned out it wasn't what I thought it was. It was two chapters from "The Bad Bet" which was complete some months ago.

But I didn't know that then, when I pushed the button and clocked in and went to work. My work load that day was medium heavy, which meant I didn't get a chance to check mail until eleven. That's AM, just so there's no confusion here.

There were over 200 messages in my box at eleven ... about three hours after the chapters posted. By the time I used up my lunch hour fixing the problem and trying to respond to as many as I could, there were fifty more messages.

That's really interesting, at least to me, because while all authors crave feedback, most don't crave this kind.

Don't get me wrong. Nobody was mean about it. Most people took the error with a good attitude and were really trying to help by contacting me about it.

What's interesting, though, is that my record for feedback on a single day for a single posting is ... was ... eighty-two. I once got 82 messages about something I posted. That's 82 in a single day, not over the life of the story.

So my record got broken by more than 200%!

For the wrong reason.

Now I'm not going to whine and moan about how nobody appreciates me and all that crap. I know people like my stories. The fact that only one or two percent of them tell me that is just life. I know that. And I'm a big boy who also knows that I sent Laz the wrong files and messed up a lot of people's morning read. So I'm not complaining about being notified about what a bone-headed thing I did.

But there are a lot of young authors out there who are crushed when the only feedback they get is negative.

Maybe they deserve it, and maybe not.

But I want those of you who are reading this to think about one thing. If this is the first time you ever contacted me ... and it was to yell foul ... you're thinking backwards. You enjoy what you read at SOL, or at least that's the whole point of reading it. And if you don't enjoy what a particular author presents, then don't read it any more.

But if you DO enjoy something, then THAT is the thing to write to an author about.

So pick an author who has brought you some pleasure and drop him or her a line. Don't write to me. Not about this blog entry, anyway, because that's not what this is all about. This is just about suggesting that you can expend some of your energy to make somebody feel good when they do a GOOD job.

It's true that the squeaky wheel gets the grease.

But pay attention to those other wheels too, because they're ALL involved in getting you to your destination.

Thanks for the heads up.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

And thanks for reading.