After moving to a new city last summer and not getting a full-time teaching position, I found myself with a lot of extra time. I participated in NaNoWriMo for the first time, took up Zumba, and created a blog. I also decided to do something that I had thought about for a long time, but never had the time to sit down and do: I sent out a bunch of letters to some of my favorite authors. I wanted to let them know how much I enjoyed their books and appreciated their work. I shared part of a letter I wrote in an earlier post about Caroline B. Cooney. I found the addresses on various places around the web. I typed up cute letters and put them in the mail…and then I never heard from any of the authors. Not a mass-produced postcard response or anything.
I’ll have to admit, I was a bit disappointed. I’m not trying to book an author for an event or anything, but I’d like some kind of confirmation that my letter made it to its intended audience. I remember writing to celebrities in elementary school when we learned about letter writing, and we all got something back from the people we wrote to (I wrote to Patricia Richardson, aka Jill Taylor from the 90s classic TV show Home Improvement. I must not have been able to find Jonathan Taylor Thomas’s address!).
The only author I did manage to reach was Katherine Neville, author of The Eight. I sent her an e-mail (which means that perhaps my letter writing was a bit too old-fashioned) and she sent a response back lickety-split. I told her how much I enjoyed her novels and that until her next book came out, I was busy reading Steve Berry’s books. She wrote back:
In an age of social media and staying connected to your customers, I figured more authors would be willing to respond to a reader’s letter. Is this just wishful thinking on my part? I’d love to have a response from an author I’ve admired.
Has anyone else tried to contact an author before? Were you successful? Any tips on how can I find more up-to-date addresses? Or should I give up on the letter approach and contact authors through e-mail or their blogs?