Sunday, June 26, 2011
The Care and Feeding of Fan Mail
Anyway, sorting took nearly a day. Then I had to update my reply letters. And seeing how I have different letters for each of the books / series, there was a lot of updating to do. Plus I had to update the page with a list of book titles and their short descriptions (because people often ask if I’ve written any other books besides the one they’re writing about).
And after printing like mad (and running out of ink TWICE) I gathered my bookmarks and posters and window clings and envelopes and pens and Sharpies and stamps and postage scale and paperclips, and I looked at the enormous pile in front of me and got to work.
I tried hiring my son to address the envelopes, but I gave up on that. My sons can’t seem to address envelopes. The balance of it comes out all wrong. There’s e-mail. Who needs envelopes? Why lower? (Because that’s where the postman looks for it.) What’s wrong with up here? (That’s the stamp zone. Besides It just looks wrong up there.) Where? Here? (No. You need to start in the middle. The MIDDLE. Or maybe a little above. No! That’s the stamp zone! Stay out of the stamp zone! Here. I’ll make a little mark.) I’m not a kid, Mom!
It’s been a battle with every birthday / Christmas thank you note session since they were four. The center of an envelope has some sort of force field around it which my sons can apparently not penetrate.
So he got “fired” and I got “hired” and it was an inky week of addressing and writing personal notes on the general letter (specific to the book being written about).
And here, for your laughing pleasure, are a few excerpts from around the country:
• “My favorite part is when Joey ate the fish.” (Boy in Missouri—he’s talking about a live goldfish in Swear to Howdy)
• “This book also made me have so many mixed emotions my heart was bound to erupt like a volcano covering my whole body in lava composed of different feelings.” (Girl [duh] in New Jersey, re: Flipped)
• “Anyway, I just had to write to you instead of calling you at 10:49 PM like Nolan did to Mr. Green.” (Boy in Washington, Shredderman)
• “Can you write a book about a gothic gorilla?” (Girl in New Mexico)
• “I have 1 dog, 3 cats’, 2 fish tanks (1 is an 80 gallon fish tank.), and 4 people (including me). Don’t you think that’s a lot of pets? I sure do. Lots of pet food. Don’t you think?" (Boy in Minnesota)
• “For my project I need information about you and your job, too. You can also send me some books and materials, too. Also, I finished a book and would like some advice on how to get it published. Send that at the same time.” (Girl from Indiana)
• “I loved the voice! Such feeling! Such voice! Such mind-picturing images! I love it all!” (Girl from Arizona, re: Flipped)
• “Obviously this book wasn’t for me. Because of the lack of livened things up and the characters being so boring. I didn’t like the book. I would greatly appreciate if you would write back.” (A boy from Arizona, re: Flipped)
And then there were the gems. The ones that kept me slogging through the assigned author letters. The ones that made me feel like what I do really does matter. Here are a couple excerpts to encourage those of you who write – because what you do does (and will) matter:
“As I was reading the last few pages, I felt as if I could do something with my life. I felt like life had a huge purpose. It was as if I was lifted from the hole I was in to start with. I love how Evangeline realizes she only needs to be who she is, and learn to forgive, to truly be happy.” (Regarding Confessions of a Serial Kisser)