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On a Book Bender

To My Silent Readers

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Dearest Silent Reader,

Yes, I’m talking to YOU. See, I think that, as bloggers, we tend to get so wrapped up in posting and commenting that we forget some very important people: the silent reader. As bloggers, we often measure the reach of our posts by the number of comments.

But I think that’s wrong.

I think it’s wrong because YOU, my silent reader, are reading. You are paying attention. Even if you don’t comment, you pay attention. And you know what? That matters.

YOU matter.

It can be easy to pretend that the number of people reading our posts equals the number of comments we receive. But it’s simply not true. Some people choose not to comment. And that’s okay. Comment count is not a sign of readership; it is a sign of greater interaction. Greater interaction because, simply by reading, you are already interacting.

I appreciate all levels of interaction.

Bloggers need silent readers. While we’re busy pretending few people are reading our posts, our silent readers are looking to our reviews for recommendations or our discussion posts for topics relevant to avid readers or the blogosphere at large. I need my silent readers because, like the people who do comment on my posts, you are my audience; you are my readers.

And I just want to say thank you.

Thank you for reading. Thank you for paying attention.

Whenever I receive a compliment from someone who is a silent reader or someone I did not even know was following me, I am humbled. I am honored. I am reminded that every word counts.

As bloggers, we have a greater reach than we realize. Every interaction counts. From our posts to our comments to our activity on social media. People are watching. (Not creepily, though. Most of the time, anyway.) People pay attention.

And when someone has chosen to give me their attention, I want to be sure that whatever I put forth for them is worth their time and attention.

So, thank you, silent reader. I think you rock.


About the author: Amanda, noun: 1. Creator of On a Book Bender and Bout of Books. 2. Editor at The Path of Least Revision. 3. Lover of language and books. 4. Drinker of wine, coffee, and vodka. 5. Idea wrangler and wielder of words.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Michelle @ The True Book Addict November 23, 2012, 1:14 am

    This is awesome! Thank you. :)

  • Giselle November 23, 2012, 10:06 am

    Brilliant post Amanda! You are spot on!

  • Celine November 23, 2012, 10:07 am

    So sweet, Amanda. I’m a silent reader as well most of the time. It’s the silent readers that are like 80% of the people that read blogs, if not more

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 23, 2012, 10:15 am

      Yes, Celine! EXACTLY. I think people who comment are only a small fraction of our actual readership. Which means MOST people who read are silent readers. And they are just as important. :)

  • Renae @ Respiring Thoughts November 23, 2012, 12:16 pm

    What a wonderful post, Amanda! I’m definitely a chronic silent reader (though lately I’ve been trying to change things).

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 23, 2012, 12:59 pm

      Thank you, Renae! For me, I think I tend to be a silent reader on some blogs and a commenter on others. It’s impossible to comment on all the blogs I follow, but I do try to comment on some. The greater interaction is awesome for forming relationships with other bloggers. :)

  • Kelly @ Reading the Paranormal November 23, 2012, 6:58 pm

    I’m not silent with you, but I am silent with a lot of other blogs. I think you hit the nail on the head *throws in a few other cliched sayings while I’m at it* and all that jazz. The silent ones are just as important as the ones who comment often.
    *throws more random things at you just because I can*

  • Christy @ Love of Books November 23, 2012, 8:44 pm

    Sometimes I just like to watch (in a creepy way). :)

  • erinf1 November 25, 2012, 8:15 am

    Thank you for this! I subscribe by email so most of the time I’m reading through my email and might not necessarily come to the blog. I read every post and sometimes I feel bad that I’m not “contributing’ to the traffic numbers. But I hate commenting when I have nothing more to add to the conversation or if it’s something trite and trivial. And I do follow enough blogs to feel a bit of the “numbers” guilt/pressure. Thanks for letting me be able to just be a reader :)

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 25, 2012, 11:37 am

      Absolutely! I think everyone has their own way of following blogs and being a reader is JUST AS IMPORTANT. I’m not big on traffic numbers, so I’m content to know that people are reading, in whatever way best suits them. :)

  • Ashley Prince November 25, 2012, 8:31 am

    Brilliant post! I think many of us blogger need to remember the silent readers. I know I do.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 25, 2012, 11:39 am

      I agree. I think it’s easy to forget silent readers (unfortunately) because, you know, they’re silent. But I want to make a conscious effort to remember them. (Which is a big part of why I wanted to write this post.)

  • Paul R. Hewlett November 25, 2012, 9:22 am

    Great post! It is very important to recognize silent readers. There many of them out there. I know that I don’t always comment and I read a lot of blogs. I just sometimes feel that I don’t have anything important to add which in no way reflects the content of the blog. Thanks for posting, I look forward to reading more from you.

    Paul R. Hewlett

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 25, 2012, 11:43 am

      I would even guess that silent readers outnumber the non-silent readers. I know I’m a silent reader on some blogs, and I think that’s important to apply to our own blog as well. (i.e., if I can be a silent reader on other blogs, there are probably silent readers on my blog, too.)

      Thanks, Paul!

  • Karen November 25, 2012, 10:27 am

    So many people are too self conscious to comment but then a month (or even longer) after I post a review someone will tweet me how much they loved a book I recommended or how they are obsessed with a new band whose video I posted.

    I didn’t even know they read my blog.

    I don’t have time to comment on every single blog but I still enjoy reading all the posts that bloggers take the time to write.

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 25, 2012, 11:46 am

      Yes! I’ve had those moments, too. And I think those moments are some of the best moments ever–to know that you are actually making some kind of difference. Or having an effect on people. :)

  • Kristilyn (Reading in Winter) November 25, 2012, 12:45 pm

    Love it! It’s important to recognize the silent readers — just because they’re not commenting, doesn’t mean they’re not reading.

    Great post!

  • Stephanie November 25, 2012, 3:44 pm

    As always Amanda you have put together an insightful and thoughtful post. Thank you. I agree that as bloggers we do get caught up in the amount of comments a certain post gets and that is the beginning of a slippery slope.

    Our silent readers are just as important as the ones who do comment!

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 26, 2012, 9:49 am

      Yes. Though I really do think that when we look for concrete proof of readership, comments are the most tangible thing we have. It’s just… I don’t think you can ever put readership into tangible form.

  • Sarah (saz101) November 28, 2012, 6:40 pm

    Amanda I LOVE this post.
    I was a silent reader of a few blogs for YEARS, before I started blogging myself.

    I don’t know why, but I had this idea that I was somehow intruding on an existing community, or I didn’t know what to say, or what if I said something stupid and this amazing blogger I admired SO MUCH, like, totally HATED ME O__O

    This is WONDERFUL.
    Becuase there ARE people who are lurking, scared to comment, or just enjoy a post, but don’t want to say something for the sake of it. And this is WONDERFUL, because they are SO welcome ♥

    • Amanda @ On a Book Bender November 29, 2012, 9:57 am

      I think making the step from reader to commenter is really hard AND time consuming. But… yes. I wanted something that celebrated ALL my readers, not just the ones who comment. Because I love my READERS. ALL OF THEM. :)

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