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Speculative fiction writer and editor. You can find links to her published work and current projects on the left side of the page.
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Friday, July 17, 2009

Do Authors Care About Their Readers?

When a book really rocks my world, or sinks my boat, I often feel the urge to contact the author and tell them so. I've even collected many addresses and emails in preparation of doing so. Most of the time, I don't go through with it.

Why wouldn't I write to someone who has, for better or worse, touched my mind and imagination? Simply the fear of sounding stupid and common.

I'm sure Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Neil Gaiman, and Stephenie Meyers already hear hundreds of 'I love your book!' Surely Christopher Moore knows he's funny and Dan Brown realizes his writing causes readers to stop and think. J.K. Rowling can captivate the minds of all ages and Angie Sage feels the demands to continue writing. What makes me so special?

There is nothing I can say to a published author that they don't know or haven't heard before. So I shouldn't interrupt their writing time, right?

Wrong! What if every reader decided to stop writing to their favorite author? How would that feel? Having a ton of fan letters and a full inbox may be overwhelming, but at least they know their fans are with them and support their writing.

Granted you may only get a printed form letter, with some promotional swag, that an assistant mails out to all fans. Sometimes, though, you'll also get a small personal note jotted at the bottom (as I did from Holly Black) which can make your day.

You'll never know what your favorite author may do, unless you try. Who will you contact today?

Several of the above mentioned authors can be found on Twitter too.


  1. I have to say, it's great to hear from readers by e-mail, and I try to answer every note, but snail mail can be really frustrating. I just got a batch of letters forwarded from my publisher that were sent back in January and February (I'm writing this in July.) Most of them were from school children who were given writng a letter to an author as an assignment. Thing is, school's out, and even if I send a response, it will be too late. Plus, I look like a rhino-sized jerk for taking so long. Anyway, I'm afraid snail mail to authors may be a frustrating exercise for everyone.

  2. I agree. I have sent two e-mails in the past, one to Jeffery Deaver and one to Laura Lippman. Rather than give them the standard "I loved your book," I told them what I liked about their style and voice. Both were excited to hear from me. I think humble writers never take their readership for granted. They look forward to seeing how their work has touched someone's life.

    Good post.

  3. I've talked to a few of my favorites on Twitter. It's a good quick way to say "You're going on book tour? Come to Florida plz!" (And getting a response fills me with fangirl excitement. :))

    Good point though... we all love knowing when someone likes what we write. I can't remember the last time I wrote an e-mail though... I'll have to do that soon!

  4. I once sent David Brin an e.mail asking a fairly technical writing questions about the decision process behind one of his books had been structured. He responded pretty quickly with a nice note and a very informative answer to my question. That was a really great interaction.

    John Scalzi was also very informative and helpful in response to a writing question. He's pretty up front about not wishing to suffer fools gladly, but also someone who cares about his readership.

  5. Congratulations on your winning story, Blind Justice.

    Even published authors need to maintain a "platform" these days, so I think they must appreciate the emails and letters from fans. I've gotten replies from authors in response to my emails, and all but one was personalized so that I knew they read my comments--which ensures that I always look for their new books.

    I was surprised to see my blog listed on your Blogs I Enjoy list; thank you. I will add you to mine, too. :)


  6. Thank you Carol, Tony, Jen, Stephen, and Christopher. I love to write to authors, and do on a regular basis, but only send out about half of the letters I write. When I contact them, I want it to be something worth while.
    Of course I could just add them all to my Christmas mailing list? lol... wonder what they'd think of that? :)