Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Joy of Fan Mail


As Lynda said in yesterday’s post, fan mail is one of the few things that can make you feel like a real writer. It’s odd that so many authors tend to feel like posers most of the time, but it seems to be a universal problem. Until you sell a book, see a review, get fan mail or cash your first royalty check, it’s easy to think of it all as a pipe dream, or a hobby that your family wishes you’d give up on so they could have their dinner on the table in a timely manner. Like vampires crave blood, writers crave validation and there’s no better way to get it than through fan mail.

Before I sat down to write this post, I took a quick look through my own fan mail folder, and I was surprised to note that most of the fan mail I’ve received was about my early vampire novels, Bonfire of the Vampires and Fresh Blood. These were written at the tail end of the vampire craze, just about the time NY publishers had handed down the decree that they were no longer interested in characters with pointy teeth.

Oddly enough, according to my fan mail, readers couldn’t get enough. In order to get around the NY moratorium on fangs and give readers what they wanted, I switched to werewolves, and those stories did well too. Ultimately, I wrote a full length ‘un-vampire story’ which is still making the rounds in NY while editors try to decide if the hero’s ‘lack’ of fangs will work for them. Funny how things turn around.

I love to hear from readers for this reason. It’s not only wonderful to get that validation, to know that someone out there who paid to read my work got their money’s worth, but it’s also great to know what stories really appeal to readers enough that they’ll take a moment to let me know. Those are the stories I want to keep writing, not necessarily because they earn the most money but because they touch readers and bring them into my world.

I’d like to thank all the readers who’ve written to me over the years, and even those who wrote to me back when I was writing fan fiction. Not only did you help give me the confidence to continue my stories, you helped me decide what to write.


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2 comments:

Savanna Kougar said...

Interesting about the vampire fan mail.
My own take on NY publishers, in general, is that they will catch some trends, but don't ever really know everything readers want and will buy.

Skylar Masey said...

Bernadette~

I love that graphic with the tub of mail.