Friday, November 27, 2009

An author and her readers: How far is too far?

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?



  1. Well like you said in this day and age, authors have to be more open to readers. Perfect example is 'Twilight' which started small but through SM's online presence was able to build up loyal fanbase which got bigger and bigger!
    Personally i can't understand why a writer wouldn't answer an email - especially a debut author!!

  2. The crazy part of this is, I don't think she saw the email. Her site was set up to give this preset response without her having to see the message at all. Like I said, why even bother?!?

    For someone trying to establish a fan base, it seemed silly to have a system like that in place. It certainly doesn't make the author relatable.


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