I love hearing from readers. Every author does. But write an environmental book and 90% of the letters will be from crackpots—people obsessed with one specific cause that for them looms larger than the big issues I’m trying to help readers focus on.
There was the person whose worry was the chemicals used in mushroom farming, and the one who told me sharply that home schooling was the only green form of education. The list goes on.
Here’s are five tips to refer to if you find yourself thinking of writing any author (including me):
1. Give her a little praise first thing. Tell her one thing (or even two or three) that you liked about the book.
2. Read the text on the cover and maybe even the introduction, so you know what she meant to do when she wrote the book (don’t criticize us for not doing something else—but you’re welcome to suggest a hot subject for a new book).
3. Think about how relevant your particular concern is to a broad community of readers. Go ahead and write even if it’s narrow, because most authors are passionately interested in their subjects, but show your awareness that it is a narrow issue.
4. Lighten up. How about showing that you have a sense of humor?
5. If there’s something specific–and easy–she can do and might actually want to do, explain just what it is–succinctly. Then she’ll be able to pass on the tip to others.
And thanks for writing!