Saturday, January 17, 2009

Email and the Author

In the old days if you wanted to contact an author it was a whole production. I wrote a letter to Herman Wouk once. I had read and reread Marjorie Morningstar a number of times, but the letter was actually about The Winds of War and War and Remembrance. I don’t remember what I said, but I do remember that I stayed up all night reading to finish one of them. That is a high compliment. When I’m tired, I’m tired and usually nothing will keep me from hitting the pillow.

I had to send the letter in care of the publisher. I assume he received it, but I never got a response.

Fast forward to now. What a change thanks to email. Since most writers seem to have website that allow you to send an email, it’s a snap to contact them. Or contact me, in the case of my website.

Since I only have the two crochet mysteries out and the YA mystery, I am relatively new to hearing from readers. The emails have mostly been fun. Someone sent me a picture of an amazing crochet bedspread she’d made that looked like a quilt. Someone else sent an email insisting you couldn’t crochet with string (something from Hooked on Murder).

Lots of people emailed just to say they liked one or both of the books – always nice to hear. A few of the email writers seemed to believe that my characters are real – those were a little spooky. I mentioned a crochet diet book in Hooked on Murder and someone emailed me saying she’d been looking everywhere for a copy and wanted to know where it was available – I had to tell her it existed only in my imagination.

The best email story involves someone who lives in my area. She’d been inspired by the books to take up crochet again and wanted to know if I knew any groups she could join. I sent her the details on the one I go to. Actually I haven’t been to the group since before the holidays thanks to my long bout with a flu bug and a hair cut appointment. But several days later I got an email from the same woman thanking me. She’d joined the group and seemed very happy with the people in it. It will be fun to meet her when I finally make it to a Thursday meeting.

I suppose someday I may not be able to answer each email personally, but for now I do, always thanking people for taking the time to email me. It’s easier to do than what I went through with Herman Wouk, but it still takes some effort.


Linda O. Johnston said...

Unlike you, Betty, I used to feel reluctant to try to contact someone whose work I admired. Why would they pay any attention to little old me? But now, with e-mail, I'm delighted to hear from people who have read my work and try to respond to all of them--even the fortunately few who point out something they didn't like!

Betty Hechtman said...

Linda, I respond to the negative ones by thanking them for the information even though my first impulse is to be defensive.

Camille Minichino said...

Same here on the negative ones. I often offer them the next book, to see if they like it better.

And I'm also still at the stage when I can handle the few/week that come in!