Friday, April 17, 2009

Authors with Heart

I took an anonymous survey a few weeks ago about what readers want from authors. Blogs and interviews and such are all fun things, but what I really want was some indication from authors that we're in this together, that they appreciate readers as much as we appreciate them.

Not a few days later, I received the following email from Louise Hawes:

I would like to send a giant writerly hug to you for your review of my book, Black Pearls, a Faerie Strand, on "In Search of Giants." What a treat to read a review by someone who "gets it."

She wrote a bunch of other stuff about how much she loves me and is going to put my name on her next book and...oh, okay. Not really. But her email was very nice, and entirely personal. It set a new standard for me.

I don't expect Tammy Pierce or Robin McKinley to read the reviews I write of their books (well, and such reviews would simply read "wow wow wow wow" so there's not much they would read). And I don't review all books as thoroughly as others. Still, to know that an author found the review (I have quit emailing reviews to them), and then took time to comment, made me appreciate Louise (I feel so smug using her first name) and authors like her even more.

Julia Hoban, whose debut novel Willow was released two weeks ago (wow, has it been that long?), and for whom the uber-wonderful Lauren created a release blog, emailed me personally twice in response to comments I made on the release blog:

You are the first blogger I've seen who lists Moby Dick among her
favorites. . .I'm so pleased! Thank you so much for leaving that very thoughtful comment on thatincredible site that they made for me!
There have been other books I've plugged that don't get any kind of recognition from their authors, even authors for whom the works are debuts. I understand - truly, I do - that not all authors can spend the time to find reviews and fans online and make a personal overture. Heck, I don't even have time to respond to all of my commenters (I tend to reciprocate by visiting commenters' blogs, though.) And it's not that I don't like authors who don't visit my blog (*cough cough* Geraldine Brooks) or email about my reviews.

I just think that, whether it should be or not, authors are their own best publicists. And, usually, are really cool people, and it's always fun to get email from really cool people.

I sat down at the desk this morning to work on the Feeds Page for Dewey's Readathon, and found a comment on one of my reviews that began, "I apologize, sort of. . ." My first thought was, wow, how impudent of one of my readers to claim credit for this author's work. Then I read it - it was from the author herself, Kathleen Duey!

Don't get me wrong. I'm not a celebrity hound. If Angelina Jolie showed up at my blog, I might not think twice. In a field where I feel comfortable - literature, writing, reading - there's a profound satisfaction in the recognition from professionals within the field. These are not just authors, but authors with heart.

And to those authors, I say: thank you.


  1. I've had that happen once or twice. It's always a wonderful surprise.

  2. I have had Linnea Sinclair and Ilona Andrews stop by the blog, and just their commenting had me giddy with glee. Getting a nice email re the review must have been really a thrill.

  3. I agree! I love it when authors leave a comment or send me an e-mail. Julia Hoban is indeed one of the nicest authors I've been in contact with.

  4. It's definitely cool. It hasn't happened that often to me, but even authors leaving a short comment on my blog makes my heart jump. It's like getting a touch of celebrity, although I know they don't think of it that way!

  5. I agree with everything you've said. Whenever an author reads a review I've written of their book, it makes me want to write more constructive reviews, rather than 'I loved it' or 'meh'

  6. That's really nice of her to leave a comment like that. Very cool.

    I don't get many comments, so I'm ecstatic with any comments I get. I got one from author Cory Doctorow (of Boing Boing fame) a while back after I wrote about him on my blog. That really made my day.



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