The Relationship Between the Author and the Reader

As I’ve mentioned repeatedly, I listen to Sarah Werner’s podcasts Write Now!  and its companion,  Coffee Break regularly and am a big fan. On the most current episode of Coffee Break (available here), she interviewed author Ryan Dalton. In their discussion, Mr. Dalton mentioned that he was disappointed when a writer he followed tweeted about a crappy day at his non-writing day job. He felt that it broke the “brand” of the author and was inconsistent with the image that writer typically portrayed.

What Should the Relation Be Between an Author and Reader?

While I get Mr. Dalton’s point, I don’t share that opinion. I follow a couple of authors on Twitter and on their blogs. I love it when I get to peek behind the curtain and see the big time authors have the same struggles as me: finding time to write, struggling to get words out…the whole topsy-turvy world of writing. As a reader, I think we often put our favorite authors on mental pedestals. I like getting to see the glimpses that they wish to share with their readers.

Building a Community

As I mentioned a couple of posts ago, I read Amanda Palmer’s book The Art of Asking or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help.  The other night, I noticed my copy of Felicia Day’s You’re Never Weird on the Internet (Almost): A Memoir and the parallels between the two books really struck me. Both books describe how Ms. Palmer and Ms. Day built communities where they shared their projects. They both interact with their fans and encourage interaction with their fans. I think the only way you can have that kind of community is to share yourself with your community. As I mentioned in my last blog post, I think if I can build a community, that would be my definition of success as a writer.

In The Spirit of Sharing

I just got back from a weeklong vacation in the Adirondacks with my wife’s family. It was the perfect balance between relaxation and activity – something I don’t always achieve. The Great America Road Trip of 2016 was certainly all activity as the goal was to visit the colleges and other attractions in the three weeks we had….Alright, who am I kidding, it was a three-week excuse to do Star Trek activities. We did some of the typical tourist attractions, rode a boat up the lakes. And most importantly to you (I hope), I finished the first revision of The Reluctant Agent, my next book. It still has more work to go, but I have it in a form that has mostly complete sentences and real words (while I’m a writer, I’m a terrible typist). I’ve been back to work and I’m not going to complain about that simply because complaining about work is universal. While work certainly helps define who I am, I don’t let it define me completely. I’m an engineer, but I’m also a musician, a writer, a father, a son, and many other things. There’s a great line in the musical Working (adapted from the novel by Studs Turkel) where one of the characters says:

“Jobs aren’t big enough for people. When you ask most people who they are, they define themselves by their job. I’m a doctor. I’m a radio announcer. I’m a carpenter. If someone asks me, I say, I’m Amanda McKenny. At certain points in time, I do things for a living.”

In the spirit of community, please join my email list. You can do it at the handy dandy signup are on the right. I certainly won’t inundate you with email because right now, I have approximately four people in the list. To the four people who did sign up, thank you! And please feel free to leave comments – I try to approve them as soon as I can, but if you leave a comment during the East Coast workday hours, there’s a good chance I won’t get to it until the evening. But I’d love discussion and feedback, so feel free to leave comments.

Until next time,

Happy Journeys!

Mike

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