Monday, 3 March 2014

March is Thank The Author month

It's time to thank your favourite authors - in writing - for their wonderful books. This month, every time you read a book you enjoy, write to the author and thank them. Tell them what you specifically liked about it. Post it care of their publisher or agent. It'll reach them.

Writers get less fan mail than most readers imagine. We spend our days largely alone, crafting our work and putting in all sorts of details and care – but it’s rare to hear from readers that someone got all that. A thank-you letter has more value than you can imagine. Even when the author is high-profile, acclaimed, and reviewed, they might be getting fewer such letters than you'd expect. Last year, when I wrote to my all-time favourite author, she sent me a very generous reply and said that she was carrying my letter around with her, like a talisman.

The art here is to write a pure thank-you letter. Not a thank-you-and-I'd-love-your-attention letter, or a thank-you-and-would-you-like-to-read-my-stuff letter - a letter that's all about them. A pure gift, asking for nothing. Try to express as clearly as you can exactly what you enjoy so much about their work: that attention and appreciation is rare and valuable.

Have a look at your bedside table and in your bag: what books have you just read that you enjoyed? Why did you enjoy them? Pull out a pad of paper and write a physical letter to the author, thanking them. Send it care of their agent or publisher, rather than trying to mine their personal details. (That’s a courtesy they’ll also appreciate.)

If you want to join the March mission, you can use the cover pictures here for Facebook or Twitter. There's also a large-scale version of the picture above you can put on your desktop, to remind you. And if you really want to do that lovely author a favour, add a comment to this post and to Facebook or Twitter (#thanktheauthor) to say which author you're thanking, what for, and which book you'd recommend we start with.

Facebook cover image (click to enlarge)

 Twitter cover image (click to enlarge)

 Desktop image (click to enlarge)

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