Posted by Lorraine Bartlett

Is it only me or don’t all authors aspire to have a fan club of rabid readers? (Come on, guys, admit it, you know you want it/them.)

Well, that hasn’t yet happened to me. Will it ever happen? Good question. Too bad I’m not clairvoyant. So in the meantime, I’ll just have to (say it along with me) write a good book! Yup, that’s apparently the way to snag a cadre of life-long readers.

But wait! How can you snag readers if your book doesn’t have great distribution? The truth is, it won’t. My first book didn’t have great distribution, but it does happen to be in over 200 libraries (some with multiple copies!) and if you ask, I’d be happy to tell you EXACTLY where! (As Dave Barry would say: “I’m not making this up!”)

Ahem…but I digress.

I haven’t yet received a GREAT fan letter. What I have received are a few very nice e-mails where people have said “enjoyed your book” or “loved those characters.” But I’m still waiting for the meaty letter where someone gushes and tells me “I just loved it when you used an “an” instead of an “or” in the big scene on page 112.”

I’m also waiting for the day when some big celebrity drops my name to USA Today. Like maybe Rosie O’Donnell, Rachel Ray or (heaven help me) Gail King. (Oprah doesn’t read genre fiction, you know.) “Yes, I’ve just read the fabulous new book from (pick one of my names) and it kept me up until dawn!”

These days, I’m finding a whole new fan base on MySpace. Why, just the other day I was invited to befriend Miss Jane Marple--yes, the REAL one straight out of the Agatha Christie novels. (Her hometown was even listed as St. Mary Mead, so you know this is the real deal.)

And for further name-dropping, I’ve corresponded with Jacquelyn Mitchard (of “The Deep End Of The Ocean” fame), Philip Seymour Hoffman (he said “Thanks for the add!”), and even Ellen DeGeneres (she didn’t thank me for the add, but I’m sure she would have if she hadn’t been hosting the Academy Awards at the time). George Takei (Mr. Sulu of Classic Star Trek fame to the babes among you) is also my friend, not to mention a spud and a cupcake. (Mr. Spud is looking to meet butter, sour cream and cheddar cheese! Couldn’t help him there.)

So you see, there is big-name potential out there. Now to figure out how to milk it.

Sure, nothing will take the place of a real, handwritten letter (with peacock blue fountain ink, on lovely floral stationery, in a linen envelope, lovingly licked, with a pretty postage stamp), which arrives via snail mail, but hey, I’ll take what I can get.

Kissing_fish In the meantime, my mailbox (cyber and otherwise) is always open for fan mail--even from flounders!

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