I've e-mailed three authors whose work I really like. One sent back a rather extensive reply. She answered questions I had about the origins of her surname and was quite chatty. The second sent a brief thank you for my interest. It is the third response that took me aback.
Initially, I thought the response was weird because it didn't address anything that I said in my email. It requested posting responses to the author's blog. When I checked the blog, it hadn't been updated since July. The response also mentioned that the authors book(this is a debut author) would be available for purchase in June 2009. Dare I say we are long past that date?!
I then realized the author hadn't read the e-mail at all. It was an automatic system set up to respond with this canned message. I know authors have to promote themselves these days via social networking, web pages etc, but is there any point to having a set up like this? I believe if an author doesn't want or have time to respond to their readership, it may be better to have nothing than a system in place that makes it clear the author is not reading what is sent to them. Since this is a debut author, I imagine she isn't being deluged with responses, at least not yet.
Why waste the reader's time to contact you. I found it a real turn off and it felt disingenuous to me. What's your opinion?