Sunday, August 26, 2007

The Fan Letter

Hello, I have just read Dancers Delight, wow! I have also read Chrysanthemum, made me feel good. I am hooked on both. Writing is such a gift and you have it. Thank you. Regards, Jennifer **

I loved Dancer's Delight and can't wait for Travellers's story! Oh what a wonderful thought to escape to Mystic Valley. hmmmm... Jamie **

Just another person telling you how much I enjoyed your book. In fact, I enjoyed it so much I came to your website to see if you had any other books out. Sandy **

Normally, I'm not one to post fan letters. It almost seems like the worst form of narcissism. "Look at me--I'm so wonderful!" I post these excerpts to make a point, however. Fan letters don't need to be long or complicated or detailed in order to get the the author pumped. Just a simple sentence or two will do it.

Fan letters are far more important than formal reviews because they're from readers--real everyday people who paid good money to buy your books, enjoyed them, and then took time from their day to write to you and say, I like your work. Because they are strangers, their words and approval are powerful. They provide the impetus to go back to the computer and work on that difficult scene, to wrestle with that impossible character, to finish that never-ending chapter. That short little letter provides inspiration when the temptation to quit is almost over whelming.

Approval from your peers is a different thing entirely. They are looking at technical aspects of your writing. After a while, almost every book an author reads is analyzed somewhere in the back of their minds for grammar, punctuation, sentence structure, and story line. It's almost impossible for a writer to read a book any other way.

The average reader on the other hand is looking for entertainment and enjoyment. My readers are teachers, secretaries, stay-at-home moms and nurses. They're young, older, and live in cities and in the country.

I don't aim my books at a particular type of reader. I just write. So when I receive a fan letter, it's a thrilling experience for me. I'll tell you a little secret. I have a special file that I keep all my fan letters in and when things are tough for me, I open that file and re-read them. They are my validation that I'm doing something right.

I suppose that there are authors out there that receive a lot of fan letters. Maybe they receive so many that the excitement palls. I can't imagine ever reaching that point. So if you read a good book this last week--a book that touched you or made you laugh or cry--take a few minutes to send the author a short note telling her or him about it. It only takes a minute. After all, didn't your mother teach you to say, "Thank you"?



  1. Dear Ms. Cook,

    Thank you for making me laugh everyday this week. You are a peach. A plum among women and a whipped dessert of a writer (damn, getting hungry here). I think you are tops and bottoms and everywhere in between. Thanks for the chuckles.

    Paige Turner :)

  2. Dear Miz Turner,
    Thank YOU for making me laugh. My husband came out of his room to ask what I was laughing about. Heh-heh. You are a smart as a whip, girl. Thank you!

  3. So you should be proud of your fan letters. Your books are excellent

  4. Just goes to show you I'm consistant...Friday, I posted I was 'intrigued' about Chrysanthemum, and I just posted the same 'intrigue' about the prequel...yes, Anny...hubby's going to yell about the tab to EC next month:)

  5. Tell him it's secret women's business