Amazon launched an "Ask the Author" feature today (Sept. 1) that lets Kindle users pose questions to authors while reading. The system runs through Twitter, hence the @author moniker.
Reader questions are sent as tweets to the author's Twitter account. When answered, email alerts are sent to readers with a link to their Twitter accounts to read the response. Questions and answers are also posted on Amazon's new Author Pages.
A small stable of 16 authors are currently participating in the program, but they represent millions in book sales. Need advice on trimming your work week? Ask Timothy Ferriss, author of "The 4-Hour Workweek." Want to know what makes Donovan Creed tick? Ask John Locke, the first author on Amazon to sell 1 million ebooks.
No Kindle? No worries. Anyone can access author questions and answers on Amazon's Author Pages on any Internet-connected device.
Already, readers are asking and authors are answering. For instance, Scott Nicholson has answered eight reader questions:
"How important is the town where you live to the settings of your novels?" asked James Robert Smith.
"Most of my work is set here, Bob, and I borrow and steal from local legends and events. Being a reporter here for 14 years was a great experience for my fiction!" Scott said.
How to ask a question
You must have a Twitter account tied to your Amazon.com account to participate.
- Highlight the passage you'd like to ask a question about using the Kindle's 5-way controller.
- Enter your question about the passage you highlighted, beginning with the phrase "@author." Keep it short. Questions are limited to 100 characters.
- Select "save & share" from the options at the bottom of the note window when finished. Questions will be sent to authors' Twitter accounts and email alerts will be sent to readers when authors post responses.
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