Friday, February 13, 2015

Blogger to Author (4)--When is it OKAY for an author to comment...

Blogger to Author is a bit of an advice column for authors with tips and suggestions about working with bloggers, blogging in general and making the most of the platform.

After 3 years of blogging I've noticed trends and methods I think can help or harm authors and their goals and wanted to put something together to hopefully create better author/blogger relations and give some insight to authors who may not be bloggers themselves. It's all based on interactions that have happened here on herding cats & burning soup over the years. 
Alright so a maybe kind of touchy subject today. Authors and commenting on posts! Eeps! In the last couple months I've had 4 authors tell me they were told to NEVER (ever) comment on a blog. Not just a review post. But ANY post. Spotlight, guest post, interview, etc. And gotta say I completely disagree with this train of thought.
The idea behind it was that if authors visit blogs/comment on posts it hinders reader discussion and that blogs are meant only for readers and should be a safe haven to talk about anything they want.

And I do agree with SOME of that. Blogs should be a spot for everyone to talk. But I think that includes authors too.

So. When is it okay for an author to comment on a blog post. And when should it be avoided?

In my opinion.

When It's AWESOME:
  • Guest Posts--If you're guest posting on a blog. Of course you should reply to people. It's actually something I require of authors guesting on herding cats. You can really win over readers this way. Especially if they've asked a question. It's always nice to feel acknowledged and like you're not talking to dead air.
  • Interviews--Same as guest posts. It's such a good thing. I like knowing authors are paying attention. That they're involved and care about their readers--old ones and potential new readers. I'm much more inclined to pick up a new to me author that's engaging. And you never know what it'll be that's makes someone pick up your book. It might NOT be your book cover/blurb but a love of something similar and striking up a convo on a favorite chocolate or ice cream or sports team. 
  • Spotlights--Especially if it's during a tour. It doesn't have to be more than a thanks for featuring me today, etc is NOT going to hinder discussion in my opinion and as a blogger I really appreciate it that my time is acknowledged and appreciated. 
  • Posts that have nothing to do with you! Yup! It's okay to be a part of the community. Both ON blogs and on social media. Authors are readers too and to me yall's opinion is just as valid as everyone else. If there's a book you loved why not comment on the post and strike up a convo? Or non-bookish posts. I have a handful of authors that stop by here regularly and comment on posts from reviews to cooking to animal posts. And I love that. These ladies/gents stick out to me. They're the ones for me personally that if they contact me and need something I'll do what I can to help. 
When It's OKAY:
  • Positive Reviews-- I really think it's awesome when an author comes by and says hey thanks for the review! I really appreciate the time. Or so glad you enjoyed it! Or something like that. I love seeing that on other blogs as well. It's nice to know the author appreciates the time spent to read/review/promo. It can easily take 8+ hours per review post. That's a lot of time and like I said it's nice knowing that that investment of time is appreciated. If you aren't comfortable doing that via a comment. You can always email the blogger or send a thank you tweet. Or SHARE the review on your social media. That's always a fantastic thing to see and appreciated. 
When NOT to comment:
  • Negative Reviews--Some authors can handle negative reviews very nicely. I actually picked up a book by an author after seeing her reply to a friend's DNF review. She had such grace and was so understanding and still appreciative of the time that I gave her a chance (and loved her). But that is RARE. In general if a review of your book is not positive...ignore that sucker. Don't comment. Don't argue. Just let it go. I'm totally with the original advice of not commenting on posts like that. It's just awkward for everyone all the way around usually.

So. Do you have to comment on posts? No, of course not. But you also shouldn't be afraid to visit a blog and join in on discussions. Keep it classy and I see no problem with it. I know I've picked up a number of books after checking out a guest post or interview and having the author reply.

But if it makes you uncomfortable or you just aren't the blogger and ask. A quick 'hey do you mind if I reply back to people?' couldn't hurt. 

So! Yall've heard my 2 cents.
What about yall?

Authors--do you visit blogs or reply to comments?
Bloggers--Are you good with authors visiting or is it off putting to you as a blogger?
Readers--Do you like hearing from authors after commenting on a post?

Blogger to Author

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