Friday, 9 April 2010

Writing to Reach You

This is going to be a boastful article, you have been warned!

I am a huge Bill Bryson fan. In my opinion he is the most interesting, funny and genuine writer out there He has never failed to have me laughing so hard there are tears on my cheeks (which can be embarrassing if you are reading his book in public!)
Four years ago I had the good fortune of briefly meeting Bill in London. For those of you wondering if I had been stalking him or tapping his phone line; this is not the case, but only because I hadn’t thought of it at the time. Bill was actually on a tour of the UK promoting his then latest book; The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid (one of his best in my opinion and well worth a read)

I got a signed copy of his book and went away with the view that he is one of the nicest men I have ever met and I still hold that view today. This view was only reinforced when I got a surprise in the post.
About a month ago I wrote a short letter to Bill via his publisher telling him how much I enjoyed his work. This isn’t the first time I have written a letter like this to a favourite author because I feel it’s important to give credit where it is due and acknowledge how their hard work makes a difference in peoples lives. I was not expecting an answer so imagine my surprise when a postcard from Norfolk arrived on my doormat this morning.
On closer inspection it is from Bill Bryson thanking me for my letter and wishing me well for the future. It was handwritten and signed by the man himself. He even paid for the postage! So I really do mean it when I say he is a nice man because he truly is.
I wrote a similar letter to Harper Lee (author of To Kill a Mockingbird) a few months back and received absolutely nothing in reply. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t write the letters to get a letter back.
The point of this article (apart from to brag about the postcard) is to encourage blog readers to write a letter thanking your favourite author and post it off. It doesn’t take long, cost much or cause any significant inconvenience yet I believe it can make a difference to an author just to know someone enjoyed their work enough to take time to write a letter. So go on, find a favourite book and (assuming the author is still in the land of the living) write a letter, it doesn’t have to be long, just a simple thank you. You never know, you might hear back...unless you write to Harper Lee of course in which case, good luck!

1 comment:

  1. I sent such a letter to composer Dominick Argento once and was very surprised to receive back a handwritten note.