Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Have you ever...

Written to a writer?

I’m just curious. I get fan mail on occasion and I love it. I haven’t written very much fan mail myself – not because there aren’t writers I love and whom I believe deserve lots of praise for their wonderful books, but because I always had the vision of writers as being far too busy to read my letters.

Silly me. I’m a writer and I'll make time to read fan mail. Really, I will. [That’s not a hint, by the way.] I don’t consider fan mail an imposition at all and I don’t even have an assistant whose job it is to mail or e-mail back boilerplate replies.

Nevertheless, knowing this about myself, I still don’t send out a lot of fan mail. If I happen to read a book by someone I know, let’s say having met them at a conference or through an on-line writer’s group, I will usually drop a quick note. And early on in my writing career when I was reading books by potential publishers I did take time to e-mail authors and tell them how much I enjoyed their books. I always got lovely replies and I like to think [having now been on the other side of the addy] that I brightened their days a little bit.

So my question today is, do you write a lot of fan mail? Now in the time when writers are easily accessible – most have their e-mail addy up on their website, which is easy to find with a Google search, and many have blogs where you can leave a quick comment, do you? If you do, do you tend more toward commenting to small press authors than best-selling NY authors? Do you think they’re more accessible and more likely to respond?

If you’ve ever written to a mega-best-selling author, what kind of response did you get?

7 comments:

Kristen Painter said...

I've written to a few. Most have responded, some very enthusiastically!

Jen said...

I've only ever written to two authors -- both of which responded kindly.

I actually write to one of the authors every time I read one of her books (she publishes 3 per year) so she probably thinks I'm stalking her....

Kate Willoughby said...

I've written to authors before. Usually, it's a polite response. "I'm glad you enjoyed my books." Eloisa James stood out and replied in a much more personal way with a letter that ran a couple of paragraphs. :) That was quite a few years ago, when she only had two books or so out.

Sometimes I'll write an author WHILE I'm reading a book. I tell them what my favorite parts are, or favorite lines, and/or what predictions I've made about the ending. I love that type of thing myself because what sets a fan letter apart from others for me is details. The ones that say, "I loved your book!" are great. Don't get me wrong. But the ones that say, "I loved your book because when Adam thought she was dead, I got teary," hit home so much harder.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Kate, those are the letters I love the most! It's great to hear, "I loved your book!" but when someone actually takes the time to give you a specific reason or mention a specific scene, that means a lot.

Jen, you're not going to be a total fan girl at NJRW are you? Will I have to wear dark glasses and pretend I don't know you? :)

Kristen, I really used to think authors just did not have time for fan mail. Of course, I had no idea what a writer's life was really like. I was thinking more like 'rock star' than slave to the computer, sipping tea in your jammies at 2:00 am trying to finish a scene and get to bed before it's time to get up again.

Jen said...

Would you prefer that I embarass you as a rabid fan girl, or by making smart-ass remarks?

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Oh, smart-ass remarks, please! I love those. ;)

L.K. Campbell said...

I've never written directly, but occasionally (if I really love someone's work) I'll post about it on my blog. One time, the author saw my post in her Google alerts, and she sent me and autographed copy of her book. Neat!