E-Feedback for Writers?

It was a few weeks ago when I blogged about the benefit of feedback that playwrights receive in a workshop setting.  Can authors receive similar feedback for an unfinished work?  It turns out that e-reader devices already collect information that may be useful to authors in this regard.

In a broadcast by NPR’s “All Things Considered,” titled “E-Readers Track How We Read, But is the Data Useful to Authors,” on January 28, 2013,  (http://www.npr.org/blogs/alltechconsidered/2013/01/28/170296373/e-readers-track-how-we-read-but-is-the-data-useful-to-authors), Lynn Neary reports that e-readers are already collecting information as to how we read e-books.  The devices know our reading speed, whether we skip certain chapters, or whether we peek at an ending in advance.  Currently, that information is not available to authors, but could it help us?  Would a writer change his/her direction based on feedback?

Neary collects both ‘yes’ and ‘no’ answers from a small sample set of authors.  Some writers would embrace the feedback to enable them to fix structural flaws, while others may prefer to pursue their artistic freedom unencumbered by reader feedback.  Either way, the availability of the data may have value to an author, either for a draft or a finished piece.  Sure, we would not have wanted Herman Melville to have changed “Moby Dick,” but my little storybook can use all the help it can get.  Let’s hope that authors can take advantage of this type of data someday soon!

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