Jenna Black's Blog Experiment

Wherein romance author Jenna Black plunges into the terrifying new territory of blogging . . .


Friday, September 15, 2006

Writing to Authors

I have a good excuse for not posting to my blog in so long. No, really, I do. First, I've been teaching this online class that I've blogged about before. Then I had not one, but two "quick" synopses I had to write for books I'd thought I didn't need synopses for. On top of that, I've had a cold that's made me miserable.

Okay, now that the whining is over, on to other subjects.

Up until maybe about two or three years ago, I would never have dreamed of writing to an author to tell her that I enjoyed her work. You see, until I actually met and got to know some published authors, I had this distorted view in my mind of what they were like. I pictured them always innundated with fanmail, desperately trying to keep up with it (kind of like editors with the slush pile), wishing it would all just go away. The last thing I wanted to do was be yet another annoying fan who demanded my favorite author take time from her day to read and maybe even respond to my letter.

I'm not really sure where this distorted point of view came from, but I realize now how wrong it was. When I first worked up my nerve to email an author I didn't know personally and tell her how much I enjoyed her book, I was shocked to find her writing back almost immediately and thanking me for making her day. (Off the top of my head, I can't remember who this was.) I got a similar response the next time I wrote a short, gracious email to another author. And I realized--what a shock!--that authors actually like to be told how great their books are! They like knowing that someone has read and enjoyed them.

Ever since then, whenever I finish a book that I really love, I check to see if the author has a "contact me" section on her website. If she does, then I write her a brief note to let her know how much I enjoyed her book. Not everyone writes back, but then I don't expect them to. My goal is not to start up some kind of two-way communication with the author--though that can be nice when it happens--but to let some of the people who bring joy to my life by writing great books know they're appreciated.

So if you've just finished a book that you truly loved, consider writing the author a letter. He or she might enjoy receiving that letter more than you think.


At 2:31 PM, Blogger Mary Beth said...

Like you had a distorted view of authors being overcome with fan mail. I try to write to an author whose work I've never read before and let them know that I loved the book. I have gotten responses from everyone that I have written.

And I want to Thank You for being one of the authors who responses to emails from annoying fans like me. :)

At 3:10 PM, Blogger Jenna Black said...

I assure you, Mary Beth, I do not find you in the least annoying. :) Anyone who enjoys my books is my best friend!

At 7:00 PM, Blogger Sonja said...

I felt the same way, Jenna, before I joined HCRW. And, admittedly, for a while afterward. I gave all the Big Famous Authors a pretty wide berth because I figured they were too busy for me. Lucky for me, all of them were gracious and wonderful and made it a point to let ME know how things really work. ;-)

P.S. Don't forget us little people when you hit it big in November. Heehee. You'll be getting fanmail from me.

At 1:27 PM, Blogger Dayle A. Dermatis said...

As a newly published author myself, I can only say YES! Writing is so much like living in a vaccuum. I write because I love it, sure, but there's nothing to compare to the thrill that you actually communicated with someone out there. :-)


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