by | Oct 22, 2022 | Tosca Lee | 5 comments

By Tosca Lee

A Single Light, large print edition 
The helicopter is fan favorite
A Single Light,
large print edition

I got the greatest email from a reader the other day. It was from a gentleman who said he had graduated to the large-print section of the library and had picked out my novel, A Single Light, for the sole reason that it had a helicopter on it. (Note, the regular version does not have a helicopter, but the large print book rights are put out by a different publisher who does their own covers, which may differ from the original.)

This delighted me to no end for several reasons. One, that there was a helicopter on my book—I don’t think I’ve ever had one of those. Two, that this was a draw for a new-to-me reader. And three, that this reader wrote to me.

I love fan mail and answer all of it myself (even if the answers are not always prompt). But also because I really, really appreciate the fact that something meant enough to that reader to take the time to write to me.

A Single Light, Simon & Schuster cover. Fan
A Single Light,
Simon & Schuster cover

The other reason I love reader mail is this: I, too, have written authors to say what their books have meant to me. And you know what? I think my fingers trembled a little when I hit send. It’s actually kind of nerve-wracking! I’ve also gone to author book signings and fangirled like a teenager at a Justin Bieber concert. Were they big name authors like Stephen King? Not always. You may not have even heard of them. One was a biblical scholar—a rock star in my ancient research world—and my hands shook the entire time. I called a friend afterward and regaled her for a good hour with a play-by-play of the experience, half of my brain wondering how idiotic I’d acted, sure I hadn’t said anything intelligent during the entire two minutes of our exchange. 

I lose my cool over a lot of authors. Big names, longtime legends, and, yes, biblical scholars. Is it because I’m an author myself and appreciate the research, the drafts, the multiple edits the author went through to deliver this ultra-smooth piece of literature? Or because I’ve seen them interviewed in magazines, or even on morning TV?

No. It’s because I’m a fan of their work, pure and simple. And there is nothing quite as awesome as meeting or reaching out to someone who wrote something that impacted or moved you. 

I still love doing this. Does it make me nervous? You bet. But I also understand that it’s a chance to brighten an author’s day—much as the man who liked the helicopter on my book cover brightened mine.

Do you write letters to authors you enjoy? 

Don’t Miss a Thing!



  1. Karna Small Bodman

    To answer your question – yes, I have written “fan letters (emails)” to authors when I’ve really enjoyed their books. And whenever I’ve received a “Bravo” from a reader of one of mine – it truly did “make my day.” I hope others will let their favorite authors know how much their stories and hard work means to them. Thanks for a great post and great reminder, Tosca

  2. Lisa Black

    I feel the same way about both receiving and sending them. I’ve written many fan letters to authors, and treasure all their responses (Martha Grimes and Dean Koontz were my real coups)!

  3. Linda a.

    Yes, I have written many times to my favorite authors. One has a contest every time he has a new book out. I write him and tell him I am looking forward to reading his latest book, and we usually send a short email back and forth about the weather, etc. Another author I wrote because she had a contest and my name was chosen to be in her book,,,,I played a very small role in the book but it was fun nonetheless. We ended up writing emails back and forth about things other than her latest book. It is fun to write authors and let them know you appreciate their work. and even more fun when they take the time to write back and personalize their emails.

  4. Patti Phillips

    Truthfully, I never wrote fan mail until I was at the receiving end of an especially moving one. Years later, I still have that letter and smile each time I see it. Now, if a book moves me, or I have enjoyed a character’s development through a series, I tell the author. I’ve had a lot of wonderful moments while reading other people’s work, and deeply appreciate the time and care it takes to write those scenes. Thanks, Tosca, for the insightful column.

  5. Jenny Milchman

    Aw, what a nice moment you got from the person drawn by a helicopter, Tosca. And what nice moments you’ve clearly given!