How often have you read a book, enjoyed it, and then set out on a mission to urge it on all the readers you meet? It happens to all of us; a book sets our imagination on fire, it fills us with joy and wonder. The world is a different place because we have just read the most amazing book in the world. All we want to do is to go right back to it and read it again and again.
We look at the poor souls who have not been lucky enough to have enjoyed this magic and feel sorry for them. And so, we urge the book on everyone we meet, assuring them that it will be a life altering experience, that the beauty of the language will sweep them away and the lovely storytelling draw them in. And every time we convince someone to read the book, we are filled with a sense of jubilation. It is as if you have allowed one more person into a secret garden and can now look forward to discussing the beauties of the garden with them.
In all this joyous celebration of a book, where is the author?
Even the most appreciative of readers will be at a loss if asked this question. True, the author is the person who wrote the book. But that was a long time ago, somewhere in the past. Since then the book has travelled the world, it has passed from hand to hand, making a home and nestling in hearts and minds everywhere. It has spoken in different voices to its readers, and has therefore come to mean something different to each of them. It has, in short, become a reader’s book.
This is wonderful, of course, and exactly what any author would dream of for her book. But, wouldn’t it be nice to invite the author to the party you are throwing in honour of her book? In short, wouldn’t it be nice to write to the author and tell her what you thought of her book?
For the vast majority of people who read and enjoy books, the thought of writing to authors is startling and fresh and new. And sometime even a little frightening. Does one really write to authors? And will the author like to be written to? Finally, how does one go about writing to an author?
Yes, of course any author will be thrilled to hear from readers. Finding ways to contact her is no challenge; most authors have websites and are on various social media.
But what does one write to an author? That is the easiest question to answer- you write what you have been telling the world about her book! You tell her how much you loved it and what you loved about it. Authors are humble people and will accept any suggestions or criticism you offer on the book.
I remember feeling down because a book of mine had been reviewed harshly. I didn’t mind the reviewer not liking the book, because, after all, everyone is entitled to their views. What I did mind was that it seemed as if the reviewer had not really paid attention to the story and had found faults merely for the sake of finding them. And that was when a reader wrote to tell me how much she had enjoyed the very same book. She had picked it up for her child, she said, but been tempted to read it. It had transported her to the days of her childhood and so, she had decided to write and tell me.
Even if your letter doesn’t reach the author at such a dramatically perfect moment, it is sure to bring a smile to her face. Isn’t that a very small return for all the hours of joy she’s given you?