the barn in fall

the barn in fall

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Fans and Phishes

Fan mail has to be one of the nicest perks that go with being an author.  What could be better than having some stranger tell you the creation you labored over for months and months was absolutely terrific?  It made her laugh, made her fall in love with the hero, made her stay up until three A.M. because she couldn't put it down.  If you want to suck up to an author, say all that.  We lap it up, hold it next to our hearts, and repeat it to our best friends until they can't stand to be around us.  It's why we write. That and the paychecks, but really, that.

Then there's the emails that are effusive with praise, but just a little off.  Maybe they use that old cliche about a sister in the hospital who got through all those surgeries and treatments by reading your books.  She reads them over and over.  All of them!  You're her favorite author.  Flattering!  And the guy is so nice he's hoping you'll send him an autographed book so he can give it to his sister, because that would make her sooo happy.  Just send it to his address and he'll give it to her.


Authors give out plenty of promotional books.  But not to that guy.  And here's a tip, just for that guy:  authors talk to each other.  We have professional organizations and chat loops that make us all one big family.  And guess what we learned?  Your email from Canada is identical to the one other authors got from Russia and Indonesia, with names changed.  And we all got them, even the new author who has signed that first contract but whose book has not yet hit the shelves.  Imagine how surprised she was to learn she is your sister's favorite author, and that she's read all her books!

I got another of those letters a couple days ago.  This is it, and yes, the salutation was darker and in a different font than the rest of the letter:

Hi Starr,

I'm Jay and I heard about u from my girlfriend Azi. She LOVES your books! I keep seeing her with your books every day! I even think she has your books memorized!
The reason that I'm writing is that her birthday is coming soon and I was hoping maybe u could send her some goodies or even a book or two?? Since I'm gonna move to South Africa soon, I wanted to make this her best birthday ever and I was hoping you could help me with that... Please do tell me if you could send in some stuff for her. You could send the stuff to me at
No 48, Jalan Setia Damai,
u13/14a, 40170,
Setia Alam,Selangor,
Please and thank you!
p.s - She's going crazy looking for a copy of Lie To Me ... Can you maybe send it to her?? *Looks at you with puppy dog eyes*

Aww, Jay, you really got me with those puppy dog eyes!  Sure, I'll be sending you a big box of books and lots of other goodies.  Wait for it!

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