Do Analytics and Fan Interaction Help or Hinder Authors?

In Discussion by Edward Nawotka

pie chart

By Edward Nawotka

Today’s lead story discusses what the book contract of the future might entail. A big part of that future is the new resource of online analytics that will enable authors to engage more fully and in real time with their readers, typically through blogging or social media.

As Liz Bury, author of the article, explained to me in an email:

If, for example, the data shows that users are very active on a website at night, then the author could post a comment at the right time. Or if they tend to dwell longer on blogs to do with the author’s personal life, and shorter on blogs about his/her publisher, then that might affect the length of the blog. It’s using customer data to enable the author to be smarter about how they engage with their readers.

And that’s just the start of it . . . one could poll one’s readership to find out what direction a particular mystery series might take, or whether or not they desired a sequel to a given novel. The readers, could, as is stated later in the piece, have a stake in the “world” of the writer.

Certainly this is a boon to the writer in terms of marketing, but how about the actual process of writing? Is a writer who caters too much to the desires of his audience make them too self-conscious? Is a writer working in solitude and creative isolation producing something with more integrity, or at the very least, more spontaneity? Is are both of these ideas merely outdated, or merely romantic, notions of the writers life?

Let us know what you think in the comments below or via Twitter using #ppdiscuss.

About the Author

Edward Nawotka

A widely published critic and essayist, Edward Nawotka serves as a speaker, educator and consultant for institutions and businesses involved in the global publishing and content industries. He was also editor-in-chief of Publishing Perspectives since the launch of the publication in 2009 until January 2016.