Like many writers working today, I have a website with a form readers can use to contact me with their comments. In the five years since my first book came out, I’ve been lucky in that 99% of the feedback I receive is positive—especially when I hear about writers who regularly get mail that’s not just critical but downright threatening or hateful. I did have the disconcerting experience of receiving, as my very first piece of fan mail, a note from a woman who neatly dissected my book and told me what I should have done differently in a variety of areas. (My response to this was, mentally if not literally, “Why not write your own book, then?”) But for the most part I’ve found that readers don’t usually take the time or effort to communicate unless they like what you’re doing.
Lately, though, for no reason I can discern, my mail has gotten a little strange. For example, I recently heard from a reader who praised the advice about writing on my website and then went on to ask if I could explain how to get a Chicken Soup-type book written and published, how much she could expect to receive as an advance, how many weeks it would take from the time her manuscript was accepted by a publisher for it to appear in bookstores, and how soon she’d be able to quit her day job. [Read more…]