It seems we have a curious topic at Wicked Writers this week.
It deals with thank-you notes and have we ever sent t hem out.
Going by C.J.’s blog yesterday, it seems that she is referring to sending out thank-you notes to authors after reading their books.
Hey, that might float some people’s boats, but not mine. Honestly, my version of a thank-you note in that case is:
“Hey, I just paid $$$ for your book! THANK YOU!”
By the way, that’s what every book sales receipt implicitly implies.
Think about it if you’re on the other end of this note. You write a book. It gets published and someone buys it at Barnes & Nobles (or Borders if they happen to live close to the one remaining store). You get royalties from the book sales.
That’s all you should expect.
You’re probably not going to get a thank-you note. If you do, you have the makings of a fan club.
You have the makings of a stalker.
It depends. If the note begins “…just wanted to thank you for a superb story,” you’re probably safe.
If it begins, instead with “I’m your biggest fan,” then, you’re probably in a lot of trouble.
Maybe I’m being cynical, though anyone who knows me knows that would hardly ever be the case. Getting a nice thank-you note from a sincere reader might just be icing on the cake for an author, especially a first-time author.
Seriously, though, it has never occurred to me to write any author a thank-you note for a book I’ve read. As I mentioned earlier, if I paid for it, that’s enough. If I read it in the library, it’s public domain material and the public is notoriously fickle, “fickle” meaning “not all there.”
As Frank Drebin (Leslie Nielsen) once said “Is it just me, Ed or is the whole world crazy?” to which Ed (George Kennedy) replied, “No, it’s just a small percentage of the population.”
Another thing to consider is that most authors don’t get the fan mail directly. With all the kooks and nuts and groupies out there, it’s dangerous to ever list your home or mailing address. Instead, the fan mail usually goes to the publisher, who then has a lackey go through it, looking for threats (and perfume and panties and bras and room keys and Google maps to homes…).
Besides, a lot of authors use pen names anyway, so you’d never be sure of finding the real address anyway. Depending on your genre, that might not be a bad idea, since we can’t all live in small-town Maine where a stranger who runs down a famous author and never apologizes dies under mysterious circumstances a year to the day, hour and minute.
Which bodes ill for me since I use my full name (what with all the Gregory M. Smiths in the Atlanta area alone).
Memo: When I become famous, get unlisted phone number and listing in phone book.
P.S.: Provided they even make phone books anymore.
On a lighter note, I do think it is polite and necessary to send thank-you notes for critiques. If someone takes the time to make a critique, however negative (or however positive if you’re reading something from any Wicked Writer with a full first name), you should thank them for taking their valuable time to read your work.
No matter how shocked they might have been by the intensely erotic XXX sex scenes or how bewildered they might have been by the fact that the denizens of the supernatural are now sex symbols, thank them anyway.
Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.