Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Should Authors Be Accessible to Their Fans?

Growing up, emailing your favorite author wasn't an option. You could send a letter to a PO box designated for fans, to which you'd receive a form letter and something like this:


Then came the internet. People could check out information about an author on his/her website and email an address listed there. It was usually understood by my generation that an author's email account was probably manned by a publicist, since publicists always handled their mail in the past.


A new generation of fans has emerged, however. It's a generation who sees Kim Kardashian on Twitter and assumes she'll read and respond to their tweets. 


In the early days, you're so excited about every new review or fan email, you don't just respond--you print them all out and hang them on your wall. But there's a shift that happens at some point. For some, it happens FAR faster than most of us--especially if your book is made into a movie or TV show.

Bestselling author Shannon Hale is an example of someone whose career took off. Shannon wrote this book, among many, many others:


Shannon actually wrote this blog after she'd received a couple of angry fan emails telling her if she didn't respond they'd never read any of her books again. Shannon said she would rather put her limited work time into creating new books than responding to every email. In fact, the very reason we never saw another book from Margaret Mitchell was that she spent all her time responding to fan mail because she thought that was the polite thing to do.



I think we'd rather have had more books from Margaret Mitchell than a bunch of fan mail being sold at auction, right?

I remembered once reading a comment from Stephen King stating that his fiction is all he has to give his readers. I didn't get it at the time, but I can see how a really successful author would eventually have to draw the line. We all know Stephen King believes in that...



Do you think authors should become inaccessible at some point? Would you stop reading a book by an author who ignored your emails or requests to meet?

89 comments:

  1. I think at some point, you just couldn't keep up. Be like me try to visit all two thousand plus of my followers each day - I just couldn't. I do think a little interaction is good sometimes though. Shows you're human.

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    1. I agree. It's especially difficult when you write for children. That's perhaps why authors do events and school visits--you can meet with a large group of fans at once. But even that tends to dwindle as an author's publisher starts wanting more books and he/she has to spend time at home writing instead of traveling the world.

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  2. I've never written a letter, email, etc to an author or any celebrity. I guess if a work particularly touches you in a special way, I see the reason behind a letter, but otherwise, I don't get it. Like you said, the chances of them reading it is slim. Unless you're in public office, I don't think you have to be accessible.

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    1. I knew an author who became somewhat successful. She eventually had to hire an assistant to handle everything. There are actually a lot of virtual assistants (I work with a great one who handles content for one of my clients) who will take care of all that stuff on a fee basis, so you don't have to pay a salary. I can only dream I'd ever get to that point--but it seems like that could be a good excuse if someone complained about no response. "My assistant handles all that."

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  3. Maybe it's because I'm from an "older" generation, but my pleasure comes from reading the work not from interaction with an author. It's nice, but definitely not expected or necessary.

    I follow both Amy Tan and Alison Weir on Facebook and I did get super excited the first time Tan responded specifically to a comment I made to her and I have had a few conversations with Weir. It's exciting and fun. I was actually shocked by both. Weir is very interactive with her fans, which is really neat. But a month or so ago she posted on her page that she had some deadlines to meet and would be working and not able to respond to FB posts. I didn't see anyone comment that they were upset about it. Most encouraged her because we want to read her books!

    I'm also finding that too much author interaction and candidness isn't turning out to be a good thing. Turns out Anne Rice is a pretty bitter, nasty woman. She isn't the only one, either, and that taints my desire to read anything these people write. I kind of wish authors would not talk too much, really. Many of them don't seem to have a filter.

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  4. Oh. I also sent a letter to Mark Bowden after I read Black Hawk Down (before the Internet was so huge). Surprisingly, I received a very personal note back. I've kept it for years. But I hadn't actually expected that he would ever see my letter, much less respond to it!

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    1. Interesting about Anne Rice--I saw a bio on her and I believe she lost a child? I think her husband died soon after the bio aired (he was featured in an interview throughout it). I do love the way fans seem to be cheering some authors on online. If I read a book I love, I usually tweet about it and tag the author and she'll/he'll retweet it sometimes. Most of the time when I do that, though, it's for someone who isn't huge yet. I love Harlan Coben but if I tweeted about him, I would never, ever expect any response whatsoever!

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    2. I was never an Anne Rice fan, anyway. I couldn't get into her books, but I thought she could write well enough. None of the authors I've seen behaving terribly are authors I read, thankfully. But it's been eye-opening to me to find out that some of them are just not nice people and others seem unbalanced. It makes them more human, I guess, but I don't know if that's a good thing. Being mysterious behind the work is better in a lot of ways.

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    3. I knew an author was fixed up on a date with another author. He said he doesn't date writers because they're "weird." He WAS one...and he was weird, so it was a little funny! I prefer to think we're "eccentric." Being a writer gives us permission to do fun things, like wear long, gypsy-like skirts and get eyebrow piercings. (Neither of which I do, by the way!)

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  5. A little bit can go a long way, but how do you pick and choose? At some point you just have to cut all ties with responding if you want to get some work done. Plus some people never shut the heck up, you respond to them once and they think you should respond to them every single day.

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    1. Yes, where does it end?! That's why the "like" button is so valuable on Facebook. I have an upcoming post about that--but there's nothing else like it. You like a post and that abruptly ends the conversation without being rude.

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  6. fans can be really crazy. It often happens even in my movie news business that because fans swamp celebrity twitters with so many pointless tweets and messages, those celebs are unable to notice the tweets from bloggers, website owners and others who can actually help them in their career.
    Authors should limit their presence, because even if you have time to hang out with readers often they can misuse it and even abuse it.

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    1. Oh believe me, I know that last part. With my first book, I'd hold booksignings and only strangers would show up. Online acquaintances would be "too busy," then would ask me to meet them separately to sign books or give advice about writing. I did it because I'm always grateful for the support, but I run a freelance writing business that takes about 60 hours a week. When I have fiction work to do, I have to figure out where to cut back on my money-making non-fiction writing work...there just are so many hours in the day.

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  7. I wouldn't expect them to be totally assessable ... they do have to write... I keep up with hundreds of blogs but I couldn't imagine trying to write and keep up with everyone. I think it's good from time to time...:-)

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    1. I've received only a few pieces of what would be called "fan mail." Two were from parents, telling me their daughters loved my book. They followed me on social media (the parents, not the kids). On Instagram, someone commented on one of my pictures to say she loved my book. I definitely responded to that!!! It's tough when your readers are young--especially if they want to write, too. I would always want to respond and hopefully make a big difference in whether they continued writing!

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  8. Honestly, I am not sure. I think if an author was reclusive, no email, no signings, no twitter, no blog then....actually no, if they were a good writer, I would still read their books.

    I wouldn't want them to be rude about it and I do think some responses and appearances are something that should be done but I don't think they need to reply back to every single thing that is written to them. I can't even imagine how much time that would take out of their day.

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    1. I think it's different when you're successful and regularly receiving tweets, emails, etc. I see the way people respond to every post Meg Cabot makes online. "Follow me, please!" "I love you, Meg. Please retweet!" Etc... Is it weird to think that at her level being accessible would actually lead to trouble?

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  9. Yeah, I agree that every one is busy with their work, but it's only cz of the readers the writers keep writing.I'm not saying to just keep replying to all the mails, but a random day in every month, it would surely bring smiles on the reader's face.This is my opinion...!!!

    Btw...gr8 post...!!

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    1. I see a lot of really successful authors give back in the form of hosting online Q&As where they answer fan's questions or doing contests and giveaways. I can't imagine how many emails and tweets and social media replies famous authors get...on top of that, there's the pressure to meet publisher requests for so many books a year, maintain your momentum, and make a living. If their books are being made into movies, there are demands on that end, too. They definitely give back (well, some of them...) but it's in a way that reaches the most fans possible in a short period of time, like booksignings, events, blogs, and online chats.

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  10. i couldn't imagine dealing with fame in any way - via social media, print, press, paparazzi, etc. i like my privacy too much.

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    1. Yeah, I like Bill Murray's quote: "If you want to be rich and famous, try being rich first and see if that isn't enough!"

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  11. Life is all about setting boundaries and one's we need to respect. All the instant connection with the Internet is certainly a drain. Kudos for them in setting their boundaries.

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    1. I think the internet has set an expectation that wasn't there before. Part of it, too, is that in the early days of making a name for ourselves, authors are VERY accessible. Most people are great--you help them out, send them a free book or do a free Skype visit. But with a small percentage of people, you give even one favor and they just keep coming back over and over and over...

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  12. I remember years ago I worked for a doctor who after he saw the first Rocky movie, he wrote a letter to Sylvester Stallone, praising him for the movie, saying he was available if Sylvester wanted to get in contact with him, etc. Of course he got nothing back in the mail. Not sure if that played in his mind or he let it go. I don't think I would write a letter to an author or an actor, etc. It would not hurt my feelings if I did and they didn't respond. We have a relationship through the book they write that I read or the movie I see that they act in, but that's as far as the relation goes. Anything else that one expects I think is pushing it.

    betty

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    1. I worked with a woman who now says she hates Eddie Murphy because when she and her friend were in L.A., they saw him in a diner and asked to get a picture taken with him. The person with him said no and I guess was rude about it? But Eddie Murphy himself said nothing. In cases like that, I can see Shannon Hale's point--you do it for one person, you have to do it for everyone. If Eddie Murphy had allowed a picture to be taken with one fan, soon everyone in the whole diner would have been lining up? I do know when I was a teenager working at the movie theater, we were told if a celebrity came in, we weren't to make a big deal out of it. We had Johnny Cash, John Schneider, the entire cast of Hee-Haw... It's Nashville so celebrities are around. The few times since that I've seen celebrities, they tend to look like they just want to be invisible. I think they learn the hard way that when one person recognizes you, you completely lose your ability to blend and everyone is staring!

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  13. You've posed an interesting question and I'm not sure I know the answer - or even my OWN opinion on it.

    I'd like to believe that interaction is just the icing on the cake. When I was younger, I collected autographs from musicians I like. Truthfully, though I loved them, it was more about the challenge of getting the autograph. Afterwards, I was happy to say thank you, admire your work, love this or that, and walk away. But I witnessed many really crazed people who were so intrusive and downright rude to the artist that I kind of lost my desire to do so.

    So, I guess that my answer is that in a perfect world, a fan like myself would appreciate it and love the chance to meet their favorite artist. But the world isn't perfect and I think you have to definitely limit interactions or place strong boundaries on it. And always have an exit plan.

    (Another downside - that only applies to fans - is that a lot of great artists are total butts in person. Sometimes, it's best to hold on to the fantasy.)

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    1. Another great Bill Murray comment was that when you become famous/successful, you have about a year to be a jerk before it sticks. If you can find a way in that year to ground yourself, you're golden! I think egos just get the best of people. However, it's also that some people are private...it seems the most talented artists are in no way fame-seekers. The art comes first. So when you see a reality show star (for instance) who's famous, they often will thrive on the attention, whereas a really talented musician, artist, or writer doesn't. They are creators and love their art...and they love their fans, too. They just feel very uncomfortable when someone walks up to them and starts gushing, "I'm your BIGGEST FAN!!!" I think most of us would probably feel uncomfortable if someone came up to us gushing about how great we were...even if it's a compliment. It's just a little embarrassing and it creates a scene!

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    2. One more comment about famous people--back in the day, people collected autographs. Now they just snap photos and post them online to prove they saw the person. Imagine someone near you snapping photos of you eating your lunch. You can see them doing it--but you try not to acknowledge it. It would just be weird!

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  14. I was the biggest fan mail girl. I would sit and write letters to all my fav stars and of course the ones who wrote personalized letters or autographs back instantly became favs of mine. Soap stars are pretty good about it, and I even got a full letter back from Mister Rogers once! (HUGE EPIC MOMENT lol and it's still framed!) I saw Melissa Joan Hart on TV the other day and I always smile when I see her because she was super sweet in her reply. That being said I don't not like people who didn't reply, b/c I'm sure they were busy. I think at some point a line has to be drawn between celebrity and fan. Otherwise where would it ever end? But I don't think anyone should ever become totally inaccessible, otherwise no one would ever feel they could relate on any level, at all.

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    1. I think big celebrities have a screening process--they might not even see their fan mail. I know some of them pay a firm to handle their social media accounts. I think Ashton Kutcher went that route after he kept getting in trouble. Fan mail often went through a publicist or assistant back in the old days and sometimes they'd just fire back an autographed picture (not even personally autographed--a lot of them used a stamp!) and a form letter. The celeb would never even see it. Do celebs allow private messaging through Twitter or do they have that turned off somehow? If they do allow PMs, they probably don't read all of those...I can't imagine it would be wise to respond.

      Incidentally, that's how Rebecca Schaeffer attracted the attention of her murderer. He specifically mentioned a personal letter she sent him and how she'd used hearts for dotting the i's and personalized it in other ways. It fed his delusion. Not that it might not have happened otherwise--but some celebs took note of that incident and now keep a deliberate distance for safety reasons.

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  15. I don't write to any so I don't expect anything from them. I have my favorites and it would have to be something pretty serious for me to give up reading their books.

    You being an author I can see your approach as very different than mine. I would feel slighted.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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    1. I never feel slighted. I've recommended books I loved on Twitter and tagged the author and gotten no reply. I can't even tell you which authors didn't reply. I don't do it because I expect a response--I do it to support authors who deserve it. People in general these days are just so busy, I think it's important for people to never assume that the communication was read but not acknowledged. Sometimes you just don't have time to open all your emails--sometimes you read it but you procrastinate responding until it gets to the point it's too late. I think we've ALL been there!

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  16. Honestly? It would be a wonderful problem to have and they should count their blessings.

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    1. SO true--I think Shannon Hale actually just feels guilty about not being able to respond to every email. She mentioned that in the blog, specifically. If she was cold about it, she definitely wouldn't have felt the need to write about it but she has to feel a lot of guilt that she's getting these great emails and can't personally respond. (Which is why we never saw another Margaret Mitchell book! Polite authors feel the need to spend hours responding.)

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  17. I would much, much, much rather that writers focused on their work rather than responding to the demands of their fans. In a question of priorities it is a no contest for me - but I am a greedy reader not a writer.

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    1. Definitely true. I think social media allows authors to communicate with readers as a group--they don't have to respond individually to every reader and readers feel as though they're part of the group.

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  18. I'd have to go for a "limited access" approach, the definition of "limited" depending on how much fame -- and free time -- the author had.

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  19. Wow! I didn't know that about Mitchell. How tragic. I think limited accessibility is crucial. Fans feeling they can "be a part" of the author's life is a little scary. I love Austenland, by the way. I wish there really were such a place!

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    1. I wonder if part of Margaret Mitchell's fan mail thing was just sheer procrastination and fear! It was easier to spend all day answering fan mail than taking a risk on writing more books, maybe? She was hit by a car fairly young and died, from what I remember.

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  20. I was never into interaction before the internet. But now...yeah it's easy to stalk...admire or interact!

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    1. I think part of the reason Twitter is so popular now is that you can keep tabs on your favorite celebrities.

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  21. I think it would be cool if some of my favorite authors would write a hand-written note to the nth customer who wrote to their official fan-mail, etc.

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    1. That sounds good! I did a pen pal thing with a young aspiring writer who attended one of my booksignings. It was SO sweet. She'd write these handwritten letters and mail them and I'd write back. She stopped writing eventually (busy elementary schoolers), but I'd do something that in a heartbeat...anything for the kids!

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  22. I think it wise to respond to some or say a general thank you to all because then one feels the author is actually reading some of the fan mail whether they are tweets, e-mails or actual mail. I would never stop reading someone just because they didn't respond. I would lose on a terrific book. There are great authors out there that you would never want to know because they are jerks or very self-destructive but their talent is exceptional. In film, Joan Crawford answered all her fan letters but she was, how should I say it...nuts! She had major OCD issues and was not a very nice person. Paul Newman never gave autographs but 100% of his profits from his salad dressing etc.. go to his Hole in the Wall gang which is a camp for children dealing with major illnesses likes cancer. Jimmy Stewart went the middle ground, he may not have responded to every fan letter but he did what he could and always met his fans and gave autographs.

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    1. Taylor Swift is the example of a celebrity who gives back. She doesn't respond to fan mail, but she does surprise fans by showing up at their houses (I assume that's planned with the parents in advance!). She even stopped when she was running at the park one day to pose in a girl's professional photographs.

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  23. I don't think they have to do anything beyond the Barnes and Noble book signing

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    1. Or independents, if an author's town has one.

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  24. I'm pretty hands on with my readers right now, but I don't have many. At some point there will be a line. I hope to find out some day. I would try to answer a few a day and hope to have an assistant at that point to help out.

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    1. I know a great virtual assistant! She works for one of my clients. I often feel like that band in That Thing You Do, where one of the characters said, "Look. It's our fan." That's me. "Look, it's my fan!"

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  25. I think some interaction is good, but it definitely doesn't make sense to be completely accessible to every fan. I think if an author started out as a blogger, then they should keep up that blog to some extent. At least posting once in awhile. If they have a Twitter account, they should tweet sometimes and occasionally retweet their fans. But to expect them to respond to every reader every time? Or even to most of them? Or even to a lot of them? That just doesn't even seem possible.

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    1. I think that's what I notice with big authors like Meg Cabot--she posts blogs and tweets to interact with her fans in a group. Stephen King recently started tweeting. I'm not sure if he blogs...I have seen him write articles for publications, voicing his opinions on things.

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  26. I love when authors respond to emails and interact with readers online, but at the same time it's not a sticking point with me. Do some go above and beyond? Sure. Does it make me appreciate their work even more when I can tell how genuine and kind they are? Of course. That said, the heart of the book is in the story itself, and for me, that's what matters most in terms of picking something up to read.

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    1. I would say the vast majority of authors just don't get that many emails--so we can respond to all of them. If you wait until someone's book hits the bestseller list and Hollywood puts out a movie version of it starring Ben Affleck, you likely won't get a response because that's just a high-profile position to be in. I do know big-name authors get quite a bit of action on Twitter, so I'm just guessing email is the same?

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  27. At this point in my career, I enjoy any fan based emails I get. Though, I don't see how the big guns, could possibly respond to all their fan mail. But it would be nice, even if you had a publicist if something of a personal note could be included, don't you think?

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    1. Perhaps...although Rebecca Schaeffer's murderer said her personal note is what set him off... http://www.franksreelreviews.com/shorttakes/shaeffer/shaeffer.htm After that, a lot of famous females put a wall up. I can't speak for authors. Didn't a deranged fan recently break into Stephen King's house?

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  28. I have tried contacting JK Rowling (three times) and I haven't heard back from her- it certainly hasn't stopped me from buying and loving her books. :) I think if authors want to respond to their readers that is great (even a form letter feels pretty good because you know someone got your letter). I can see how for authors who "hit it big" that time would be limited and most of their time should go to writing (over fan mail). It is nice when I hear of authors connecting with their fans in some way- but if they don't do it I don't hold anything against them.

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    1. I can't even IMAGINE the fan mail J.K. Rowling gets...although I'd say in a few years, you might have a better chance. She'll still be writing, but she'll have lost that "international phenomenon" label. She honestly could just pay people to fake a personal response to her fans... See this article about Rebecca Schaeffer setting off a male stalker by sending him a personal response. I'm guessing J.K. Rowling actually has the stalker concern, more than any author ever born, just because she's the wealthiest author ever and has a lot of very enthusiastic fans: http://www.franksreelreviews.com/shorttakes/shaeffer/shaeffer.htm

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  29. I would be thrilled to hear from my favorite authors, but I have to respect someone's right to privacy. i think Stephen King is right, the work speaks for itself. Personal contact is nice, but you shouldn't browbeat authors into responding to your tweets.

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    1. I think Stephen King's point is his work is for his fans. He does put a personal letter at the beginning of every book to show his appreciation. But he's so prolific, I don't think he does much more than write! I noticed he does few public appearances....the guy can't exactly do a booksigning. The line would go on for days!

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  30. I don't attempt contacting authors, however I've learned a bit from reading the comments here. I definitely comment too much - too often. oops(smile) I can change!!

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    1. Don't change! I think blog commenting is different. That shows your support. I think for most authors, every fan mail is a welcome one. It's only when you reach the level that Shannon Hale or other authors reach that it becomes an issue--because there are just SO many! Seems once a movie or TV show is made out of your book and that becomes popular, the fan base increases exponentially? I don't have anything resembling Shannon Hale's problem, that's for sure!

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  31. Extra Kudo's to you for responding to all of your fans throughout the years! I think I started following you in 2005 - or maybe 2006. Wow- that's a long time!
    I seriously agree with you on this blog. I remember the days of getting a fan club response, and not so much a response from my favorite musicians. Today- twitter really puts people in a position where they think their favorite celebrity will follow them back or respond - and it's sad sometimes. To think we live in a celebrity obsessed world. I admit, I'm guilty of tweeting race car drivers, but I don't expect anything in return. I think NASCAR drivers do a lot for their fans- A LOT it's amazing how much they do. They can't be there for everyone- and that boundary should be respected. I especially hate those private forums where fans diss the celebrity girlfriends or wives- how can you hate them for dating? I bailed from social media AND blogging, AND journalism because I want to finish my book- and live a home life- spend time at the gym. And, maybe, just maybe date men again. But sitting in front of my computer 24/7 tweeting everything I do and responding to everyone- sorry- no can do. =)

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    1. Yeah, people don't get the MySpace thing. I even say having that huge following means nothing in the real world--but there were people from there as recently as two years ago who would go a little over-the-top with trying to chat with me. I still have to keep online chat off on Facebook because there's one female who wanted to chat every time she saw me on there...just to tell me about her life. It was just a small world, but it was a taste of what it's like to have a following and I experienced some things that made me see exactly what truly successful authors go through.

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  32. I never expect authors to respond, but when they do, it absolutely makes my day. It also makes me think better of them, but I wouldn't stop reading their books if they didn't...with one exception. When I meet writers who are just starting out who act like they want to be friends and promise to follow me on social media, etc...if they don't even bother to follow back on Twitter, I'll stop supporting them, because that seems incredibly phoney to me.

    I think it would be nice if big-name authors reached out to one fan per month, whether it's responding to an email or retweeting a comment. It doesn't need to take a long time, and it means the world to the person who gets the response. When Stephen King had a personal Facebook account, he answered two messages of mine. I printed them, and they're among my most treasured items. But it was enough for me to know I was able to tell him how much his work has meant to me.

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    1. OMG that's awesome!!! I had a friend who is a reporter who tried to interview Stephen King and couldn't get through--and he interviews everyone. He couldn't get past the gatekeepers. I have a feeling now that he's on Twitter he won't be as open--they made a big deal about him starting an account over there, so people know where he is and how to contact him.

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  33. I think if I were small-time(and how I'd like to even be that! =) ) I'd respond every time. But yeah, if you were to suddenly make it big like Hale, or several of the megastar YA authors out there, it'd be a constant time suck to engage w/every follower, tweet, fb post, etc.. Which readers(good readers) should understand!

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    1. And people just don't understand how bad it gets. Actually--you can kind of see it on Twitter with successful authors and celebrities. The author responds and the fan replies with a very overeager question that immediately makes him/her sound desperate for another response. Then the fan also retweets the reply and makes a huge deal about getting a response from someone famous. Whoever the celebrity or author is, the whole thing immediately just becomes awkward. Successful people just like to be treated like everyone else.

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  34. It's a complicated question... I don't really know. I love that their all so accessible and it's possible to talk to them but I wonder if in a whole it's good to have limits too.

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    1. I wonder if it takes away from the mystique a little, too, to be able to see what our favorite authors had for dinner last night? I don't know...for me, it's fun to see glimpses of their lives. But I'm a writer, too. For readers, is it better to have a little more mystery about the writer, so the work stands alone? Deep question, I guess!

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  35. I think it's outrageous for people to demand attention like that. Authors have lives and can't be pen pals and mentors to people. People shouldn't refuse to read just because of that.

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    1. Yes, as Shannon pointed out, she has four kids, including twins. I think anyone who spends a day alone with four kids probably would see why she doesn't have time! She only squeezes in writing a few hours a day during the week (I assume while the kids are at school). The few hours of peace she gets every day should be spent on her next book, not responding to fan mail! Maybe she should get her kids to respond to it all. That would keep them occupied while she wrote.

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  36. I just read a huge post on this from an author last week. I can't believe readers even threaten like that. Insane. There was one interesting comment (I found) - in the past, before the openness of the internet, authors weren't accessible.
    Bonuses of the internet?

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    1. I know...I think we have to realize that while the internet connects all of us, we still all have a right to live our lives outside of the computer. Who was the author (if you remember)? I'd love to read that blog post.

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  37. Liking the new look to your site.

    Great post, very thought provoking. Whilst I certainly wouldn't demand anything like this of an author I must admit it does rankle with me when authors who have previously been quite communicative pre your review cease to acknowledge you post review.

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    1. Oh that's definitely bad! I feel we're all here to support each other for the long haul. I have met so many published authors who ask me how I get so many comments every day. I say, "I read a lot of blogs and return the favor." They run from that answer. They don't want to actually have to do work to get those blog views. They just want to post a blog and have masses of people show up to comment. It doesn't work that way.

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  38. Hi Stephanie! I would never dream of emailing an author. Isn't that funny? I did read Stephen King's book on writing, and was so struck by his 'down home' tone. Maybe he did include his contact info, but still, I didn't use it.

    I figure they are just so busy, what would I say to them that would make any difference at all? So would I stop reading an author because I can't reach out to them? That's crazy talk! Of course I would!
    Ceil

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    1. If you read a book by a new author, even within his/her first year or two if multiple books are being published, believe me, we'll respond! Most of us will be so excited to get an email! The Stephen Kings of the world get a lot of messages but new authors with a first or second book--we rarely hear from fans and LOVE it when we do!

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  39. Yeah, it would depend on how busy the author was. Some people thrive on public contact like that and should keep doing it. It would enervate others, and they shouldn't. Then there's the time factor. Perhaps not completely inaccessible, but there should be gatekeepers.

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    1. I once attended an event where the author admitted she hates writing but loves having written. I guess some people feel that way...I get the impression some people thrive on going around promoting their work. MOST of us would just rather be home writing--we promote to get the word out about our books so we can hide in our houses and write more!

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  40. Wow, such a thought-provoking post. It's such a good discussion. I have a healthy respect for writer's. Being in their shoes (to a degree), working a full-time job, and trying to squeeze in writing, it would be impossible to add in any more tasks. I once emailed an author through her website just to let her know how much I admired her work and her writing. To my surprise, she emailed me back months later apologizing for the delay. I honestly didn't expect a response, nor did I wish to engage her further knowing just how limited time she has. I still would have bought her next books even if she hadn't responded.

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    1. That's so nice of her to get back with you a month later--I honestly have had times when I've decided, "It's too late to reply to that email" even after a couple of days. They weren't fan emails--just regular emails!

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  41. I've never emailed an author or asked one to meet me. If I want to see an author, I go to a reading or a workshop when possible. I met Pat Conroy, who is the nicest celebrity I've ever met--not that I've met many. I saw an interview in person with Joyce Carol Oates and figured out that she's so prolific because she's the skinniest person I've ever seen. Obviously, she writes instead of eating.

    Love,
    Janie

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    1. Events are definitely the best way to meet an author--and they always appreciate people showing up, no matter how popular they are, I'm sure!

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  42. I've never emailed any author requesting to meet. Lol! It sounds creepy, too. I'd much rather they write their novels instead of writing back to all their readers. Even if it comes to new authors, if I do write to them complimenting them on their new book, I wouldn't expect a reply UNLESS I've also asked a specific question or requested for an author interview on my blog. A 'thank-you' reply would be nice, but it wouldn't really affect me picking up their next book if their writing is really fantastic.

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  43. Really interesting post. I actually recently had a disappointing experience where I wanted to send an author a note to tell him just how much one of his books had meant to be. The aim for me wasn't to get a reply or to interact with the author, I just wanted to tell him I had really enjoyed his work. After all, the whole point of writing stories is to connect with readers through them.
    I couldn't find any way of contacting him anywhere, so I contacted his agent and asked them if they would forward a note to him or how his readers normally connected with him. I got a rather rude reply back telling me to email the publisher. There was no obvious way to contact the publisher on their website so at that point I gave up. I found the whole thing really disappointing.

    I don't think writers should be responding to every message they get - writing more books should be priority number one, as you say, but I do think that in this day and age it's a shame to put up so many walls and obstacles for readers to get in touch with them.

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  44. I would never expect an author to respond to me. Guess I always assumed they had better things to do! It just AMAZES me that you respond to almost all of your comments. I don't know how you have the time but my hat is off to you! Happy Friday.

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  45. The only authors I know on any kind of personal basis are the half dozen or so who I met/became friends with while blogging. Only one has moved on to bigger and better things and thus, I only have minimal contact with her on her FB page. The others I maintain contact with either through my blog or on Facebook.

    Father Nature's Corner

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  46. I can't believe this is even an issue (although, I'm sure Misery may have been based on an actual crazed fan). I don't care if my favorite author never even knows that I exist. In fact, it's all about the book for me and I typically don't even read an author's bio. Some people just need a hug. IJS.

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