When we talk about rewards, I am never clear who is rewarding whom. Frankly, I'm usually pretty stunned to find I have a reader who isn't related to me by blood or marriage. When I do find that out, I have the disconcerting tendency to say "C'mon in!" And subject said reader to cat photos on Facebook. Is that a reward?
Anything I've ever tried to do - tee shirts, giveaways, silly toys at signings - have felt as much like a reward for me as for anyone who wanted to buy a book, get a book signed, or just come talk to me about books in general. I have too much fun handing those things out. And, of course, there's only so much of that one person (and one pocket book) can do. So then I do my darnedest to make my readers feel special - which they are - I started looking for ways to make them a part of the writing process. Several readers generously answered my plea for beta readers. My newsletter subscribers (you can subscribe here) voted on the new cover for the re-release of Enemy Within. And yes. The cover that won is the cover I'm going with. Never ask readers' opinions and then blow them off. They know what they want. Someone remind me of that if I ever forget it, will you? Sorry. Can't post the cover here - it's still being worked on and I don't yet own the image yet.
I've been fortunate enough to trade birthday and holiday cards with readers who've become my friends. If I travel through a reader's state/town/region, I do my darnedest to meet for coffee at the very least. But again. Buying a reader a cup of coffee and a pastry is reward for me! Who else gets to do that other than a writer? Actors have stalkers. Romance writers have amazing readers we can laugh and chat and geek out with.
And that means that to this point, I have yet to find a reward for my readers that isn't a reward for me, too. Ideas? I'd love to hear them!