People who regularly read my blogs know I make it a habit never to write bad things about other writers' books. Not trying to dictate what others should do - it's just a personal philosophy. But every now and then a writer says or does something that, well, gets on my nerves. And since this little squib I ripped out of the New York Times Book Review has been sitting on my desk since October 18 without me throwing it away, it must really get on nerves. So here goes:
Gregory Cowles writes that on Audrey Niffenegger's Web site, she "offers a charming reply to fans who wonder why she doesn't answer e-mail":
Well, I sometimes manage to write back, but I don't have a very good batting average, I'm sorry about that. I do read all my e-mail. Then I resolve to answer it after I have some more coffee. Then I end up weeks and weeks behind, and it all starts to seem overwhelming. I am in awe of Jodi Picoult, who answers all her e-mail. You should write to her.
I'm sorry but "charming" is not the word I'd use to describe that. Ms. Niffenegger received, what, something like $5,000,000 for her second book? I'm not saying she didn't earn it. She received it based on the phenomenal sales of her first book. But her book was so successful because so many people were willing to spend their hard-earned money on it. And she can't be bothered to write those people back???
I think it's rude.
Last week I received an e-mail from a woman wanting to know when the fifth book in The Sisters 8 series would be out so she could tell her daughter. (I receive more e-mail about The Sisters 8 than all the other books I've ever had published put together.) I answered the same day, only to receive a second e-mail from the same person, thanking me for my prompt reply and saying some authors never even write back. I replied, saying I hoped I never got so successful or full of myself that I forgot what a privilege it is that people other than my mother actually care enough about what I write to get in touch with me.
I do get that, compared to an insignificant writer such as myself, Ms. Niffenegger must get an enormous amount of e-mail, but still...
Answer your email!
You don't like taking the time to write it yourself, then hire some local teenager to spend a few hours a week doing it for you. Your fans will at least have the satisfaction of a reply and you'll be doing something to help the jobs market.
OK, well, I feel better. Now I can finally throw away this squib from October 18.
SO HOW ABOUT YOU? WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT AUTHORS WHO AIN'T NO HOLLABACK GIRLS?
Be well. Don't forget to write.