I had to sit down when I saw it. I was overcome. There it was, my very first piece of fan mail.
Someone had actually gotten out a card, used an actual pen, and hand-written me this beautiful note. All without being badgered by me on Blogger or Facebook or Twitter to buy my book, to read my book, and to please please PLEASE write a review about it so that my Amazon rank might nudge up a smidgen (although, let’s face it, Amazon rank is right up there among the world’s great unsolved mysteries together with Bigfoot, crop circles, and Google’s algorithm).
It was enough to almost make me cry. And suddenly I knew that this is what all authors strive for.
Yes, sales numbers are nice, essential even when you’re a poor starving writer (or, as in my case, it is your family who is starving while you devote every spare hour of the day to write instead of going grocery shopping or cooking a meal), and critical acclaim might be nice (I wouldn’t know anything about that), and fame as in being invited on the Colbert Report might be nice too. But nicest of all has got to be when you gather fans. And by that I mean not your mother or your best friend or even the guy from back in high school who’s always had a crush on you and has been stalking you and bought three copies of your book. And not your tennis team or your book club either. No, I’m talking about a genuine, bona-fide fan, someone you’ve never met before in your life, someone who just happened to come across your book and is now telling you that they couldn’t put it down and felt like they were on your journey together with you every step of the way because it was so engaging. And who feels compelled to tell you this out of their own volition, just because they feel so strongly about it.
That’s the kind of fan I’m talking about.
I’m sure if you’re an author, especially a bestelling one, you are now mildly amused. One piece of fan mail, pffft! No doubt the second piece of fan mail is already slightly less exciting, the third might barely register, and eventually you’re wondering where to put it all. Just like the first page view I got when publishing my first blog post in 2010 was exhilarating. There are people who are reading my blog! They viewed a page! Nowadays, as the one million page view mark is in the not so distant future for me, that childish excitement makes me smile.
If only I got to a million books sold, that would surely make me smile too.
But for now I’m celebrating my first real fan. And all the other ones who didn’t actually get around to sending me a postcard – I know you’re out there.
Thank you, thank you, thank you!