I receive a monthly newsletter from the website Order of Books that is currated by Graeme McGaw. The newsletters, and the website itself for that matter, are filled with a great deal of information about authors, their books, and reading in general. (I strongly recommend that interested readers begin following the website and sign up for this monthly newsletter.)
But this suggestion of Graeme’s in his April newsletter particularly stood out for me. He says:
One thing I also wanted to suggest during this period of time – take a minute to write to your favourite authors and thank them. Thank them for the books they have written, the adventures they have taken you on, and the worlds they have allowed you to escape into.
That’s something we should all be doing in general. I know when I enjoy a book, I take a minute to write to an author and just thank them. Thanks for pouring months and months of your life into this story. Authors have it rough. Not only is it a lot of work, but they’re also putting themselves out there. Think of all those negative reviews an author receives on a book. That sort of thing can be crushing to an author. I know I personally have always wanted to write a book, but don’t think I could deal with the negative reviews.
I also find I have a 100% response ratio from authors too which is really cool. They’ve always taken the time to reply and let me know they appreciate the e-mails etc. and I love that. So yeah, take the time to write to your authors. It will make their day.
This is an idea I’ve always considered advocating because, as an author myself, I know how much a few lines of recognition and thanks can mean when received from an unknown reader who has been touched in some way by something I’ve written. Yes, it’s terrific to hear from friends and family or people I’ve met during my career in books, but it’s quite different when a stranger makes the time and effort to reach out and compliment me. I’m not talking posted reviews here or public messages on social media or even comments on blog posts, but actual private messages, whether they be sent by email or snail mail, something that is meant for the author’s eyes only. That is very special indeed!
In a way, I’ve kind of been complimenting many authors I admire myself in public for these past 5 months through my current Authors-Readers International series on this blog. But even I am now considering writing to a few other authors whose work has really meant a lot to me, just to let them know they have a reader who appreciates what they do.
So during this time of self-isolation, when I know that so many readers are consoling themselves with, and whiling away their time reading a lot of books – as am I! – why not consider sending the authors of those books a message to let them know how much you are enjoying what they write?
It can even be a message as short as the title of this post: Dear Author … thank you for writing! Whatever you write, I can assure you that any author who receives such a message will be thoroughly grateful for your having taken that time to contact them.
Perhaps this is an idea you can share with any younger readers around your house! It’s never too early for readers to learn to appreciate the work favourite authors put into the books they love to read!
And if you can’t find a particular author’s direct contact information online, you can either write to them via their publisher, or check with me. I might have ideas on how to find them.
If you want to do more than just write a letter to help out an author whose work you appreciate, this earlier blog post of mine, How You Can Invest in Authors and Books, gives you 9 other ways you may show your appreciation!