Monday, November 14, 2011

Writing to Authors

Ever wish you could chat with a favorite author? Maybe you have a few questions to ask or you’d just like to let them know how much they’ve inspired your own work? So why not write them and see?

I’ve blogged about this topic before, but I continue to love to write to favorite authors of mine and share my enthusiasm with them as well as learn some useful tips along the way. I recently wrote to a favorite civil war author of mine, Nick Taylor (who won the Michael Shaara Prize for Civil War fiction two years ago with his novel The Disagreement), and he has started reading my manuscript with the generous offer to write a blurb for my book. Needless to say, I’m thrill beyond words to have one of my favorite published authors actually reading my own story!

So who are some of your favorite authors you’d like to meet? Maybe you’re already pen pals with someone who regularly publishes in your genre? Joyce used to write to Ibsen, so why shouldn’t you write to some novelists who have truly inspired you? 


  1. I'd like to meet Jude Devereaux. I've read all her books, I own all her books, and I just love her writing. JK Rowling would be pretty awesome, too.

  2. I've exchanged emails with David Williams. Would be cool to have Timothy Zhan or Preston & Child read my books.

  3. Hello Mark:
    This is so exciting for you. How wonderful and helpful to have such informed feedback, worth its weight in gold.

  4. I love that the blogosphere gives us the opportunity to get to know so many writers, especially indie writers. :D

  5. Mark!! That is amazing!! My little brother once wrote a letter to Lois Lowry and he got to meet her! I've never actually done this, but I should give it a try :)

  6. Wow, what a rush for you that he agreed to do that for you.

    I had an author friend (met through her blog) who read my first WIP and gave me some great feedback. I made some plot changes based upon some of her suggestions.

  7. What a cool connection to have made. I've never really thought of writing to any of my favorite novelists. I don't know why not. I suppose I imagine a wall there between "famous" writers and ordinary aspirants. But perhaps you've inspired me to knock down a few bricks. :)

  8. I've never written to any of the novelists who have inspired me. Maybe I should give it a try.

  9. The most amazing things have happened when I have reached out to the authors I love (including an offer to read a manuscript as well!) I plan to continue doing it :)

  10. I've interviewed several big name authors for an online SFF newsletter. Some are absolute sweethearts--others require staff. :-)

    I've learned a little something from each of them, and I do appreciate that they took time to speak with me.

    PS Nice to meet you, Mark!

  11. That's awesome! :)

    I've thought about writing to an author or two . . . but I never did.

  12. You know, that's a good idea! I've never written a fan letter, but I did write to several authors in middle school and arranged an author day at my school. Point being, they were very friendly and receptive, and several showed up and did workshops and talks for us. I guess I'm just wary of coming across as a psycho fan girl and putting them off.

    How do you start the contact? A typical fan sort of letter with questions you're interested in the answers to?

    I have had some great conversations with an author I met on Facebook via one of my writer's groups, and it was wonderful to get to meet her at the conference last year. So what the heck am I afraid of??

  13. I've never thought of doing this, I have no idea why not :-)

  14. I've found authors incredibly gracious and open to communication. It's why I started interviewing them on my blog:)
    And I did sit next to Judy Blume at the SCBWI conference which was supremely amazing.

  15. You are lucky to have your favourite author writing a blurb for you. I have never thought of this. It seems to be a good idea.

  16. That very good that you're in contact with your favorite author and he's reading your MS. I wish you well. :)

  17. Wow, that's fantastic! It's not easy finding an author willing to write a blurb.

  18. E.R. – J.K. Rowling would definitely be something special:)

    Alex – Timothy Zhan for sure, it’s amazing all the books he’s written.

    Jane/Lance – Indeed. Thanks!

    Sonia – Yup:) Thanks for stopping by!

    J.A. – Just knocking on any door I can. Thanks for the encouragement!

    Donna - A rush indeed. But I’ve got to say, I enjoyed your thorough and honest comments on my first 50 pages as well:)

    L.G. – Every author I’ve written (famous or otherwise) has been really, really nice. They know how hard it is to keep going, so they know how much every little bit of encouragement counts.

    Carol – Go for it:) What have you got to lose?

    Melissa – Awesome! Good for you. Glad it’s worked out so well:)

    Maria – Wow, that’s a pretty groovy experience. How did you arrange all that in the first place? Nice to meet you too:)

    Eagle – ever know if you don’t try…might as well;)

    Shannon – Getting the email can be difficult sometimes, but if you peruse enough websites you might get lucky. Also, try emailing their publicist if you find their email instead…often if you’re polite (and lucky) they’ll forward your letter on.

    Sarah – Why not indeed:)

    Christa – That’s rad that you got to interview such groovy writers. They’re surprisingly down-to-earth:)

    Rachna – Lucky indeed…also plenty of persistence;)

    Laila – Thanks so much!

    Lynda – Nope, it definitely isn’t, but I’m very, very glad to have found a “CR” in Mr. Taylor:)

  19. Mark - what a great post! I had done that myself just last week by writing Matthew Pearl after reading his "The Last Dickens"...he kindly agreed to answe some questions for my blog:

    Recently I have also corresponded with my other two favorites: Louis Bayard and Joseph Gangemi

    They have all been kund and generous