Most of the grocery stores in my area have gotten rid of their customer rewards programs. In some socialistic venture, they've decided that every Tom, Dick, and Harriet who enters the store deserves the same great prices as someone who returns week after week, struggling to find where they've moved the bar soap this week.
Ralphs (Kroger) still has their rewards program, and I have to admit to a certain childish anticipation as I wait for my **special** discount to be deducted from my total. I feel, somehow, that I've earned it. It's my prize for not driving to Vons for cheaper grapes.
And why shouldn't I reap the benefits of a loyal customer? Why should the weaker members of the herd, the ones who aren't bold enough to spill their personal information in exchange for that coveted card, receive the same perks?
I think loyal readers would like the same treatment, but what kind of rewards program could a writer come up with? If my books are sold on Amazon (and they are) I can only discount the price for everybody, and where's the fun in that?
It appears that the only reward a writer can give are extras. Right now, I am giving away a behind-the-scenes look at the real animals that inspired the characters in my pet psychic mysteries. Instead of a lengthy application, readers give me their email address as they sign up for my newsletter and updates. Not just anybody can get a copy.
If you're a reader, what else would you like to get from the writers whose books you patronize?