This week I got two emails (yippee!) from working moms, brief notes to thank me for the strategies I offered in I LOVE MONDAYS. I can't begin to describe my delight when strangers take time to track me down and let me know that in some way, big or tiny, my book made a difference fin their lives; it is writer heaven.
If you've never done it, I highly encourage you to send a note to an author you appreciate. For some reason, my friends think I'm nutty when I say this. For instance, a pal of mine told me recently that she loved a book from a new author she'd discovered. "Oh, you should tell her," I responded. This was followed by, "What? I can't do that!" My friend assumed that the author wouldn't want to be bothered from "little old her." Authors are not rock stars, people, and most of us hear from disgruntled crazies (or no one at all) far more than friendly and appreciative folks saying hello.
Do we care that you write? We care like crazy. The reality is that we are holed up in our office or kitchen or living room for months slaving over structure and flow and ideas that may inspire or excite you. And we are worried, if not terrified, that you won't like what we've written or connect with our thoughts. But we keep going anyway because it is our calling, or we have a publishing contract that is legally binding, or we are certifiably insane. We keep tinkering and getting writer's block and freaking out and then revising until the words get blurry on our screen, making us feel slightly sick. And we try to answer our editor's questions and own self-doubts without throwing our hands in the air and our lap-top out the window. And then finally, we email off our completed manuscript to the publisher, and wait with baited breath until it goes out into the world. And all we want to know is what YOU think.
I email at least three to four authors a year whose books move me in some way. I don't know them; there is no authors' club or secret handshake. I just track down their email (usually right on their professional website because, again, they WANT to be found). I don't feel pressure to pen a brilliant essay to impress them; I just want them to know their ideas matter to me. Almost always I get back a lovely response from the authors thanking me enthusiastically for letting them know. And these are typically bestselling authors who you might suspect (wrongly) couldn't be bothered.
So if and when you finish your next read and can't wait to tell someone how fabulous it was, why not pick the person who wrote it? Make it your good deed of the week. Know that the author will be beaming (possibly dancing wildly) as he/she reads it. You may even give authors the motivation they need to start that next book. And in the meantime, readers, thank YOU on behalf of all of us, because without you, well, we're just spewing out a whole lot of words to no one in particular.
I am a journalist, filmmaker, author, wife, and mom to an 8-year-old daughter. My most recent project is I Love Mondays: And other confessions from devoted working moms. Other projects explore raising only children, happily ever after, raising strong girls, and hot topics for Jewish women.
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