Tuesday, March 15, 2011

On writing to writers

I frequently track down authors of books that I enjoy reading and email them and let them know what I enjoyed. Often my emails will ask follow up questions of the author, things I wish I knew but weren't included in the book. I have been doing this for years, even before the advent of email. I did not really know how to find a writer then, so I sent a letter to the author's publisher, figuring someone at the publishing company would know how to reach the author. I did not hear back from too many writer's in the era of snail mail. (I did get a nice letter from Gloria Steinem once. Very cool.)  Email responses are a different ball game. I would guess I hear back from 90% of the people I write.

Once a Muslim writer I complimented, wrote me and asked me if I would invite him to my Unitarian Church while he was on book tour, (I did even though I was on spring break and could not go myself.),   I get put on writer's mailing lists, get my questions answered and feel like I learn something new every time.  My biggest disappointment was Malcolm Gladwell, whose writing I adore.  He wrote me back after about 6 months and then just thanked me.  He did not answer my questions or even address anything I said.  Just, "Thanks for writing."

Last month when reading an early review book called Sometimes I feel Like a Nut by Jill Kargman, I was confronted with the need to write the author.  She wrote about a character in a TV series that she did not like and I had just finished a memoir by the very actress who played that character.  The actress's memoir reminded me a lot of Jill (both funny women) and it seemed uncanny that Jill would write about the actress at about the same moment that I was reading her memoir.  So I wrote Jill (we are on a first name basis now, best buds.) and mentioned this book and this actress and suggested she might like it.

Jill wrote me back within a few hours and thanked me and was amazed that I had her book already.  (I surmise that the publisher is trying to get her more of a midwestern following and thus we early reviewers from the heartland got first dibs on her funny funny book.)

Kudos to Ms. Kargman for writing me back quickly and maybe even taking the time to pick up the book that I recommended.  I have a secret fantasy now that the actress and Jill will become BFF's based on my reading suggestions.  They will reminisce that their friendship got started by this weirdo from Indiana who send them emails.  They won't remember my name though but they will laugh every time.

Check out this funny funny book.

1 comment:

Steph said...

Esme - You are such a connector! ;-) It's a natural talent.