Friday, December 2, 2011

Dear Favorite Author...

I've come across two posts this week that made me think.  I hate it when they do that. If there had only been one I might have blown it off but two posts coming so quickly after thanksgiving made me pay attention. 

The first one is here where they challenge us to write a letter of thanks or appreciation to an author.  Let them know how their book affected you.  In a good way of course.

The other post is here.  At the end he asks if we've ever had a book that changed our lives and did we write the author. 

If we can step back for a moment I'll tell you of an experience I had in college.  A couple students and the professor were sitting in our classroom hanging out and chatting.  I remember asking the professor a question though I no longer remember what it was.  He looked at me for a moment as if I was some harmless but repulsive bug, turned to another student and started a different conversation.  Situations like this happened all the time.  I don't know if my question was lame, or maybe he just didn't know who I was or why I would talk to him (yes, he was my professor)  I do tend to be invisible.  Thing like this have made me wary of approaching people.  And there's also my fear of coming off as a teenage groupie or kiss up. 

These things have stopped me from telling people how much I appreciate their work.  The few times I have it was a casual "hey, I enjoyed your book"  That meant so much more than what I said.  These two blog posts made me reevaluate.  If- scratch that, when I become published I will want people to tell me they enjoyed my book.  In fact I think I'll bask in the praise and buy a new hat since my head will be so big.  I won't assume everyone is a stalker or kissing up to me.  I can imagine that hearing how their book changed someone's life will be an amazing experience for an author who worked and loved that book long before it was published.

Have you ever written or received a letter such as this?  How did you feel about it?

16 comments:

  1. OK - I have a name to call your professor, but I won't put it down. Can't believe that tho. That's nuts!

    I think it's important to share with people when we like something they've put a lot of work into. I have a hard time doing it sometimes, but I am working on doing better. :)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It is important. I think you do a pretty good job from what I've seen online. My dear patient husband has done a lot to push me into the world and I'm getting better but still need work. I was hoping this post would push me a little.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I'm with you. A lot goes into writing a story. If it impacts people enough that they would take the time to say something to me, I'd be so grateful. Even if they didn't like it - which I am prepared will likely happen at least a few time.

    I've had so many "wow, that book was incredible" moments and never even posted a review of the book. I think I'll try to be a bit more appreciative.

    Great post!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Grrrr. Stupid professor. I've had experiences like that. And the result to my confidence was similar.

    Recently I've reached out to a couple authors and they so graciously replied. One even said that the email made her day. They're just like us and who doesn't want to be appreciated?

    ReplyDelete
  5. If I can I usually try and contact an author whose work I've just read and liked. Mostly it's just a quick email, with no expectation of anything coming back. But I tell you what, when I do get a reply I'm far more inclined to read/buy something else by that author. Not that I wouldn't anyway if I really liked the author's work, but that personal touch, and it only takes a moment, makes all the difference to me as a reader.

    That's why I always respond to comments on my blog or comments on my guest blogs out there on the interwebz. The whole reader/writer dynamic is an equitable relationship, I think, and needs to be treated as such, with respect.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Steven, Good thoughts. I haven't posted many reviews either. It makes me feel like I'm in Junior High writing a book report again. I should do them though, I want to help authors out after all and if I loved a book I should let people know about it.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Widdershins, I think respect is the key. Whether we like a book or not we at least know enough about writing to respect the effort and time the author put into it. Very true on the equitable relationship.

    ReplyDelete
  8. That's awful about the professor. I've had that from peers, and growing up you kind of expect it sometimes, but it's awful when someone who's supposed to be helping you treats you in such a degrading way.

    I hadn't thought about that, either. I guess I always thought that authors were so much above myself. But of course as I've been going to more book signings, I've learned that they're just people too and I'm sure they'd love to hear from us! I met one author whose book I read back when I was 11 or so, and she was so thrilled to see me as a college student, who still remembered the book she wrote years ago and is out of print now.

    ReplyDelete
  9. I think that professor was just a rude guy.
    I guess I don't have any qualms about writing to authors - I've written to Julian Barnes (who wrote back), JK Rowling (who sent me a form reply), Jean Little (who didn't write back :-( ), and I'm sure there have been others.
    On the other hand, I was really really nervous to post on the forum for the first time. And let out a squee!! the first time Diana wrote back.

    ReplyDelete
  10. I've written a few, and I hope to someday get a few! I think that no matter how huge an author gets, they love to hear that. It is, after all, why they write for a public audience in the first place-- so that people will enjoy their books.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hey Jenna, Thanks for commenting! I bet that was a fun experience and I'm sure the author was thrilled. I would have been.

    ReplyDelete
  12. Deniz, that's cool you've connected with so many through letters. I think I've mentioned before I lurked for almost a year before I got the courage to post anything on compuserve.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Peggy, so true. And if I hope to get some I should stop worrying and write some!

    ReplyDelete
  14. As an author, I'd love to get one, but I've never written one myself. Something to think about. Nice to meet you!

    ReplyDelete
  15. Nice to meet you too Kelley, thanks for dropping by and commenting. That's the crux of it. I'd like to get them too, but have never wanted to write one. I think that's the literary equivalent to having our cake and eating it too.

    ReplyDelete