Since email became more popular, most of the mail I get from 'fans' come via Internet. Which is cool because it's immediate. Another plus, is it's easy to file. I've figured out who writes me for almost every book (I LOVE YOU) and I figured out some people cut and paste their fan letters (and once they forgot to change the title of the book).
|Actual fan letter to me.|
By the way, I Googled Fan Letters and discovered that there's a how-to site for
writing a fan letter to Taylor Swift. I did not find my name mentioned in a similar manner
Used to be (yes, I've been around a long time) fan mail would be sent to the publishing house. Many editors had files with their authors' names and the mail would go into the files. I'm not sure whether the editors (or their assistants) would simply transfer the mail to a manilla folder once the file was full or if there were a few times a year when they cleaned all the files. Doesn't matter. A decade ago, a few times a year, I'd get manilla envelopes full (okay, not full full) of fan mail.
There were a few different kinds. Some simply told me what they loved about the book and promised to read all my books (Thanks Mom and Aunt Shari). Others told me my mistakes (I once typed ASAP instead of ASSET for a teacher heroine). Some were amazed that I used all the names of their relatives in my book (There are lots of Brittneys, Sarahs, and Mikes in the world).
Fan letters do touch the lives of authors. I've gotten handmade bookmarks and recipes (I've always admitted that I don't cook. Some readers think a recipe will change this character flaw. So far, the perfect recipe hasn't appeared. Hmm, methinks the only perfect recipe would be one used for the replicator on Star Trek). I've had readers share poems and ask for prayers.
Yes, I've gotten the letters from prison inmates.
My favorite, though, came not because of a story but because of a dedication.
I dedicated one of my books to my birth mother who I met a little over a decade ago.
I got a fan letter because my birth mother's name is fairly common and one reader saw the name and the sentence I wrote as part of the dedication, called her friend who had the same name, and said, "Wow, you've had a book dedicated to you!"
The second lady said, "Uh, no, there's hundreds of people with my name. Not me."
But, she went and found the book and read it, too. Then wrote me and said, "God has blessed your gift of writing. Thank you for following His path and sharing your life with us."
She was right. God has blessed me.
A long time ago, I read an article in the Romance Writers Report. It was a list of things authors should do. One item was "Write one fan letter a year to an author new to you."
I've done that. Sometimes I get a thank-you back. Sometimes I hear from an author's assistant (I want one of those!" Sometimes I hear nothing at all. Best of all, I've made a few friends.
So, readers and writers, what are your experiences with fan letters.