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How to Write a Letter to an Author
Writing to Your Favorite Author
The written word holds a lot of power--it can fill us with joy, make us weep, make us angry, spur us to action, and so much more. Some authors' work resonates with individual readers more than others, and can have a momentous impact on someone's life.
When a reader has that experience with a book, he or she likely will feel a personal connection with the author and want to reach to the author personally.
There's little more rewarding to an author than sincere fans who have truly enjoyed the author's body of work--so don't be shy about writing a letter!
Read on for tips on how to write a letter to an author.
Getting in Touch with an Author
The first thing you'll need to do before you write to an author (before finding a favorite author and loving his or her work, of course) is find out how to contact that author. Some authors can be easily emailed through a webpage or list an address for mail, while others can only be reached through an agent. For others, it may be next to impossible to find an address or any contact information, and in such a case you will have to send your letter "care of" to the author's publishing house and hope the house passes along the mail.
Crafting Your Letter
When you're writing a letter to your favorite author or an author who has touched your life in some way, follow the basics that you would in any other letter. Your letter should contain:
- A salutation (Dear, Hello, etc.)
- An introduction
- A body
- A conclusion
- Your signature
The saluation is easy; just pick one that sounds good to you. "Dear _____" is a classic, but "Hello ____" is also modern and appropriate.
In the introduction, write a bit about yourself and how you first came into contact with the author's work.
In the body, go deeper into how the author's work has touched you, interested you, or become intertwined in your life. Don't be too sycophantic, as that can sound false, but do praise the author's work and be sincere! There's nothing more gratifying than hearing that your creative effort has truly changed someone's lifeview.
In the conclusion, thank the author for writing their novels and say you look forward to their future works.
Add your signature, and you're done!
(Be sure to include a self-addressed, stamped envelope for the author to reply to your letter.)
Have you ever written a letter to an author?
Expecting a Response from an Author
Once you've sent your letter, you may haunt the mailbox, waiting for a reply. You'll need to have patience and realistic expectations.
There are some authors that do answer every letter, and in those cases, if the author is very popular, you may be waiting a few months for a reply. If you write to an author with a smaller following, you may receive a response within a few weeks.
However, some authors do not answer reader letters, for whatever reason--perhaps they receive an overwhelming quantity, have too many to handle, or don't care to connect with their readers. In these cases, you will either receive a form response from the author's publicist or publishing house, or you will receive no response at all.
Whether or not you receive a response, chances are the author read and appreciated your letter.