By Tosca Lee
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.
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?