Author Topic: Sending an email (or letter) to an author because you liked their book  (Read 1746 times)

Jerzy Bondov

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Never done this before, but I did it today. I spent an hour writing a really short email, drafting and redrafting. I'm all nervous now checking my inbox to see if they replied, like I've asked someone out. Very stressful and I don't recommend it.

Anyone ever done this? Anyone ever had a reply?

If I was published I'd love it if I got an email out of nowhere saying a stranger cried tears of joy reading my book. Maybe they don't give a fuck though.

imitationleather

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Nice of you to go to the effort but I'm afraid you left it a bit late. Barbara Cartland died in the year 2000.

Jerzy Bondov

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Email bounced back from babs@cartlandweb.com. How tragic we never got to see her perspective of the new millennium

Twit 2

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I sent an email to a poet whose debut collection I liked, saying how much I enjoyed it. Got nothing back.

Funcrusher

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Someone on a forum I posted on back in the day sent a fan letter to Graham Greene and got a reply which is pretty cool. This was obviously when Greene was still alive.

Phoenix Lazarus

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Email bounced back from babs@cartlandweb.com. How tragic we never got to see her perspective of the new millennium

Oh, her novels today would be full of romantic hook-ups on Tinder and Grindr, and victims of Asian grooming gangs finding love with their rescuers, or even abusers.

How did you find an email address?

BlodwynPig

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I e-mailed Alexei Sayle to say I was sorry I couldn't make his reading in Glasgow as I was abroad at a conference (and would he be doing another reading in Glasgow in the future?)

"Well bloody sod you then" was his brief response.

imitationleather

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I e-mailed Alexei Sayle to say I was sorry I couldn't make his reading in Glasgow as I was abroad at a conference (and would he be doing another reading in Glasgow in the future?)

"Well bloody sod you then" was his brief response.

Were you the only person going?

Jerzy Bondov

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How did you find an email address?
On the author's website. I wouldn't have sent an email otherwise but it was just there and I thought go on then.

Mister Six

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Which author and which book, Jerzy?

I emailed a bunch of comic book authors, artists and editors last week for an essay I'm doing and almost all of them were lovely and forthcoming even though it's bloody obvious hardly anyone will read the thing. But I suppose comic book types exist in a tiny, poorly respected pocket of literature with quite close fan ties, so not the same as writers of proper fiction.

A friend of mine is pals with Mike Carey, another comic author, and introduced me to him at my first comic convention. Lovely bloke - has the same affable, avuncular air as Michael Palin. I gushed a bit about Hellblazer, which Carey was writing at the time, and told him I intended to pick up his series Lucifer soon after. Carey turned up the next day with the first forty issues of Lucifer and gave them to me. Which I thought was a lovely gesture until I realised that's what drug dealers do.

Jerzy Bondov

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Which author and which book, Jerzy?
Mind your own fucking business mate!!

I don't know why I'm being cagey, it was Rebecca Kauffman and her book The Gunners. I found it really moving; very uncynical, emotionally open and generous but without being cheesy. Made me think a lot about the gravitational pull of home and some of my messy friendships. Beautiful book that caught me at just the right moment.

A friend of mine is pals with Mike Carey, another comic author, and introduced me to him at my first comic convention. Lovely bloke - has the same affable, avuncular air as Michael Palin. I gushed a bit about Hellblazer, which Carey was writing at the time, and told him I intended to pick up his series Lucifer soon after. Carey turned up the next day with the first forty issues of Lucifer and gave them to me. Which I thought was a lovely gesture until I realised that's what drug dealers do.
Feel bad for not really liking The Girl with All the Gifts now.

When I've had stuff published it's been lovely to get feedback from readers. Has really helped with the self doubt you get after releasing something you've worked so hard on to an often apathetic public.

I've always contacted authors whose work I've enjoyed. The saddest was after I sent a message to true crime author Phillip Carlo after really being inspired by his memoir of living with a terminal wasting disease. About a week later I got a beautiful response from his wife telling me had died a few days before. Proper heart breaking.

Mister Six

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I don't know why I'm being cagey, it was Rebecca Kauffman and her book The Gunners. I found it really moving; very uncynical, emotionally open and generous but without being cheesy. Made me think a lot about the gravitational pull of home and some of my messy friendships. Beautiful book that caught me at just the right moment.

Coo, sounds grand - I'll look into it.

Quote
Feel bad for not really liking The Girl with All the Gifts now.

Not familiar with it (the book or the film - Carey wrote both), but I've got a mate who usually loves all his works and he didn't think much to it either so you're not alone.

timebug

  • Serges Dad
I emailed one author, having read a recent book of theirs, and got a very nice reply the same day. It seemed to be an actual email written by the author, as they answered a query I had posed, and was fairly 'chatty' in style,and not some computer generated generic email!
Then I was on a website run by a person who had writen books, performed as a singer,and later as a comedian; I mailed to say I had enjoyed the site, having found something that appealed to me on it, and that I had formerly enjoyed the entertainment material. That reply (same day again) was quite long and funny, and I got the feeling that the author had actually thought about the reply, before composing and sending it to me.
It's nice when a real person bothers to reply, rather than a 'standard form' letter!

I read a book a while back and liked it so much I wanted to meet the author, so I sent him a quick postcard saying I loved his work and found him really inspirational, and I had found his address and was on my way over and would be hanging around there by the garden hedge, I'd be there every day so he could just come out and say hi whenever he wanted.

He never did come out but I've sent him a few more letters since. I have to be a bit careful because of the restraining order now so instead of writing them myself I cut the letters out from magazines and things. He still hasn't replied, the ungrateful arsehole.

icehaven

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I'm facebook friends with Ken Kalfus after sending a request after reading The Commissariat of Enlightenment, and we exchanged a few nice messages and he'd occasionally comment on things I posted. This was in the early days of fb though before anyone had thought too much about how it worked or how they were going to use it. I doubt I'd send a friend request to an author now and I doubt they'd either accept it if I did, or that they even manage their own page.

Do death threats and kidnap ransom notes count?

I've never e-mailed an author, but I have e-mailed a member of a Canadian band I absolutely loved (and still do, of course!) to say how utterly obsessed I was with their music. A couple of days later, he wrote back a really long e-mail thanking me and telling me all about how they got together, songwriting and recording processes etc. A few weeks later he wrote another really long e-mail, and then another and I was like "Yeah, all right, mate, back off, will you!" and I reported him to the police.

Jerzy Bondov

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    • righto so ive got five minutes off work and uh yeah im gonna have a cheeky volvic
Got a really nice little reply. Cheered me right up. I'm going to keep doing this, it's good.

icehaven

  • I will be in the bar, with my head on the bar
I've never e-mailed an author, but I have e-mailed a member of a Canadian band I absolutely loved (and still do, of course!) to say how utterly obsessed I was with their music. A couple of days later, he wrote back a really long e-mail thanking me and telling me all about how they got together, songwriting and recording processes etc. A few weeks later he wrote another really long e-mail, and then another and I was like "Yeah, all right, mate, back off, will you!" and I reported him to the police.

Many years back I emailed a photographer to tell him I liked his photo in the booklet for Mogwai's Young Team just because I could, because his email address was with his credit in the sleeve notes. He replied to thank me, which was nice.

Cloud

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Pretty sure I have done, I can't remember which book (I think it was a technical one) but they replied saying that messages like that make it all worthwhile to them, so I think it does tend to be appreciated

Rizla

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We had to do this at my primary school; I, like almost everyone else, wrote to Roald Dahl and got no reply, whereas my brother wrote to the great Andrew Davies about his excellent kid's novel Conrad's War and got a really nice reply full of insight about his writing process.

Got a handwritten reply from Jackie Wilson when I was 11 or 12 - I'd entered a short story competition that she was judging, went over the word limit and deadline but in a rare moment of confidence decided to send it in anyway, so that was quite nice.

Didn't fucking win though did I

mothman

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I emailed the publisher of an author who I like (despite his only writing about three books in 30 years). Never got a response from the publisher though.

FerriswheelBueller

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I had a humorous back and forth with Richard Herring for a time. This was back when he had fewer shite podcasts to churn out so had time to respond. He’s an author, but I don’t think this counts.

I sent an email to the author of the Kamasutra, Vātsyāyana explaining some errors, but he didn't have an email address.

Rolf Lundgren

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I wrote a letter to an author once for the same reasons. His book struck a chord with me during a particular moment in my life so felt compelled to send a letter to his publishers about it. I didn't hear anything back and completely forgot about it until about two years after I found the word document on my laptop and cringed at what I had written. It was far too long and full of self-importance and I haven't done it again since.

Would do again though.

I used to be terrible for this in my teens. All sorts of cringy earnestness to no reply.

Not wholly grown out of it mind... I tried to palm off a copy of my horror stories to Matthew Holness at the Possum screening I went to. I've never seen someone look so pitying and low-key disgusted as he handed the book back to me with a 'no'.

Shaky

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We had to do this at my primary school; I, like almost everyone else, wrote to Roald Dahl and got no reply, whereas my brother wrote to the great Andrew Davies about his excellent kid's novel Conrad's War and got a really nice reply full of insight about his writing process.

Roald Dahl is dead so it probably wasn't anything to do with what you wrote.