Thursday, December 1, 2011

Thank Your Valuable Author Friends Today

About two years ago, Davin wrote this post about thanking people. I have been lazy about thanking writers whose work I admire, but I began turning the tide of my laziness this morning. I wrote a short email to an author whose debut novel I really enjoyed, just to thank her for writing the book and to say I hope she writes more and that her career goes well for her. Possibly it's a geeky, weird thing to do, but possibly not. I have no idea.

Anyway, you (yes, you) should take ten minutes and write an email (or a real letter on paper, which would be far less lazy than an email) to a living writer whose books have meant something to you. Just to say thanks. Saying thanks is cool.


  1. This is brilliant, and something more readers should do! And myself!

  2. Way back in 1980, I wrote a thank-you letter to Christopher Isherwood. HE WROTE ME BACK. You cannot imagine how much I treasure that letter.

    -Alex MacKenzie

  3. Michelle: Yes! Do it today!

    Alex: Wow, Isherwood. How sweet of him to write you back. I love Berlin Stories.

    I'm going to look through the lists of books I've read the last couple of years and see who else I should be thanking.

  4. Scott, why are you reading our posts from two years ago?

    But, yes, thank people! I used to spend more time doing that. I even wrote those "paper letters". I haven't done it in a while, so I will!

  5. Davin, first I wrote the thank-you to the writer and then I remembered that you had written the post. But, you know, sometimes I look through old posts to remind myself what smarties we three are.

  6. Thanks Scott, Michelle, Davin, and all the regular commentors here. My craft is stronger thanks to the thought and inspiration gleaned from this blog.

    I emailed Harlan Coben once and got a bounce back saying his mailbox was full, but then got a reply from him the next day.

    I emailed David Baldacci once and got a reply from someone who works for him saying he read my question (and that person relayed his answer to me).

  7. Rick, you are very welcome. Thanks for sticking with us all these years.

    I just sent a "thank you" email to another writer I like. Now I think I'll think about lunch. Possibly lunch with a metadata librarian.

  8. When I was in the 5th grade, I wrote Madeline L'Engle a letter to let her know how much I liked A Wrinkle In Time. I received a form letter reply. It disappointed me very much at the time.

    When I was a teenager, I wrote Larry McMurtry a letter to let him know that I loved his book Lonesome Dove. He wrote me back, a quick note, handwritten. In the letter, he recommended that I read a biography of James Joyce's wife, Nora. I don't know why. Boy, was I over the moon when I got that letter.

    Now all of my favorite writers are dead so I can't write them.

  9. Cynthia: Most of my favorite writers are dead, too. But I hope to make new favorites.

    Anyway, my new rules for What To Do When I Read A Book I Like By A Living Writer:

    1. Recommend it to another reader (or buy that reader a copy).

    2. Thank the author.

    I haven't decided it this includes writers of nonfiction. I don't know why I'm keeping them separate, either.

  10. I always mean to do this, and it notoriously ends up on the end of my TO DO list. Thanks for the reminder.

  11. I wrote a short fan-letter email to Steven Erikson (Author of The Malazan Book of the Fallen series. If you're a fantasy lover and haven't heard of it, you are missing out!) and told him that he was an incredible writer and that this series was the best in modern fantasy that I've ever read.

    He wrote back.

    I now have a professional crush.

  12. This is a great idea. My very first blog post on my current blog has the email I sent to Hillary Jordan after finishing MUDBOUND. She wrote back to say it made her and her editor cry. Which, I suppose, was fair since her book made me sob. :)

  13. What a great idea, Scott! I've just finished reading a couple of stories that I loved. One is by Paul Bowles. The other one is by Edna O'brien. I will have to find out if they are still alive...

  14. I would love to write a letter to Albert Camus, but it's too late for that. I recently read his short story "The artist at work". I'm enthralled by his irony, his wit, his humor, the truths that he shares are alive today. Fascinating.

  15. I have a long list of writers I'd love to thank but who're too dead for that. But as I say, I'm also looking for new writers to thank.


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