This is pretty off-topic, which is actually on-topic for me…

On just about every author’s website I’ve ever been to, there are contact forms or direct email addresses on a page labeled “Contact” or “Contact Me” or something similar. My website is no exception. So it always strikes me as oddly funny when I reply to a message sent, only to find a follow-up email with the words, “I was so surprised you responded.” or “I didn’t think you’d actually respond.”

These emails always amaze (and amuse) me because the first thoughts that come to mind are: Why not? What did you expect me to do?

When I was about 19 I emailed a “local celebrity” (if you want to consider a radio personality such a thing) and I’d have been devastated had I not gotten a response. Thinking back on it now, it’s probably because of her responding that I take responding to my emails so seriously. But I do wonder (and feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section, IΒ will reply), are YOU shocked when someone such as an author, news anchor, DJ, newspaper reporter or whatever along those lines (let’s leave A-list celebs out of this) responds to your emails? I know this sounds silly, but as all of you know, my writing strength is more in line with writing thoughts and emotions, so I love to “understand” people’s thinking behind things–this included.

In other news…

Per a reader’s request, I will finally discuss pen names tomorrow and hairy legs on Monday.



26 thoughts on “Shocking?”

  1. I started writing reviews to help me remember what I read, as for awhile I was reading two books a day. From that I started emailing the authors somewhere along the line to let them know I enjoyed their books as well. I was surprised to receive emails back from some of the more high profile authors and not so much that I received a response…but what it said. So often I’m told how they needed to hear that bit of encouragement. I don’t want to sound like any author is above another but a few of these have so many books out that I never thought my small note would mean anything to them. The notes of thanks I have received help encourage me to continue to this practice.

    1. Very much so needed and appreciated. No matter who the author is and how many books he/she has put out, it’s always good to know that somebody liked them. So keep it up!

  2. Okay I have a confession to make. My name is Sarah and once upon a time I was a soap opera junkie. From the tender age of 11 until sometime during my 21st year I was addicted to soap operas. Not just one or two but at one point SIX! Let me just say my VCR (remember those?) was working over time. Some show even came on at the same time so in high school I saved my money and bought my own VCR so I could tape both shows while at school. Anyway, I used to write to soap stars quite frequently and am not sure if they qualify as A list celebrities but more often than not I would just get a generic letter, a signed photo and information about joining their fan club. I think only one time did I actually, maybe get a personally written note, unless someone else wrote it for them.
    When I was 20 I wrote to two authors who co-wrote a series I fell in love with and have since read about 5 times. They always had their address in the back so I thought “why not.”. I was so shocked when I got a personal letter from each of them with lots of advice for beginning a writing career. I still have those letters. Other than that the only other authors I have written to is You, Rose and you know where that led, now you are stuck with me and one other author that I email that I have never heard back from in email but have heard from on her blog. So I guess I understand why some people would be surprised at you writing back to them, especially since you are so personable.

    Now as to those other posts, don’t keep me waiting too much longer. I know you live to write posts for me but you are taking way too long. (The last sentence was written with much sarcasm.) But in all seriousness I am looking forward to reading what you have to say about both subjects. It’s always nice when someone else researches stuff for you. LOL.

    1. Oh hold your horses, I’ve had other things to worry about this week rather than hairy legs. Besides, long, long ago I did a post on pen names. Sadly, I just don’t think anyone that follows me now was around to read it. LOL

      I don’t think Soap stars are A-list celebs, however, they do fit into the caliber that I was referring to. News anchors and radio personalities (for the most part) are local, meaning not everyone in the world has heard of them before. Same with authors, particularly those of a niche genre. Soap stars and other actors, are different. Even if just in a sitcom, they’re well known enough that likely they’re flooded with emails and letters and have someone sort through it for them.

      When I was about eight or nine, I wrote to Bob Saget–the host of America’s Funniest Home Videos at the time–explaining that I didn’t have a camcorder to catch those memories on but if he’d like to send me one, I’d be happy to send in a tape for his show. All I got back was an autographed photo and a short note telling me to send in a tape when I could. Not sure if he or his rep actually read the letter or not. Notice how memorable that was to me that I forgot all about it until you mentioned Soap stars sending you a signed pic. LOL

      1. I think I remember reading something about you choosing your name and the google search asking “did you you mean rose garden?” is that the post you are talking about? I can always go back and look that up if you don’t want to humor me or you can just copy and paste it and no one will know, well except me. LOL.

        Too funny about Bob Saget.

        I think the main reason I wrote to you was because of Wallace. Even though I loved all your books I just had to write and tell you how much it meant to me to see a character like my own children in a historical romance. There are many times while reading I think about writing to the author to ask something or praise something but then I just never do but once I met Wallace in Reluctant and saw that he was going to be the main character in Imperfect I knew I had to write you. Plus you had my kind of sense of humor so I figured you had to be nice.

      2. Plus you had my kind of sense of humor so I figured you had to be nice.

        Wow what a leap of faith you took. Anyone who’s ever met me in person might argue that as I’m often termed as “cold” or “standoffish”. And I am. I don’t hug. I don’t gush. I don’t fawn. I’m me, take me or leave me, I am who I am and though it might benefit me to drop sugar when I speak, I can’t. I just can’t do that. It’s not me. I’m a realist. So if I praise something, I mean it.

        Yep, I googled myself and searched through several pages to find what I could: nothing. Today’s post of course talks more about that.

      3. I remember that post, which is why I thought for the longest time that you used a pen name. I’ll admit after I read Intentions and Liberty for Paul, I went back and read all your post while I waited impatitnetly for To Win His Wayward Wife. And to think I only had to wait like 2 weeks back then since I discovered you a bit late in that series LOL.

      4. Oh, cry me a river, two weeks!!! Gracious. See though, had you “subscribed” back then, you would have had plenty of reading material between the two books.

      5. See you are just like me. I have been described the exact same way, when in fact it is just shyness until you get to know me. Which is why I think I met my husband on the internet and not in person. I had many a guy tell me that I seemed unapproachable and then they were actually shocked that I was such a nice person. I also only give praise and compliments when I really mean them. I have a mean sense of humor (very sarcastic) that I have had to tame since marrying my husband. I have gotten better with hugging but still prefer my personal space. Although I do love to snuggle with my boys, but that is different, right?

      6. Hugging kids and a husband is fine with me. Hugging anyone else… If I get to know them first, I’m okay with it, but I do NOT hug people when I first meet them. I just can’t.

        Oh, and I drop sarcasm.

  3. Well, I’m rather shy when it comes to contacting authors (or anyone for that matter). My feeling is they are probably really busy and don’t have time to be bothered with whatever it is I might want to write them about. Recently though, I had been thinking of contacting an author to ask her if she would be interested in doing a guest post on my blog. It wasn’t just any guest post though. What I was interested in was something specific that she’d told me about previously in an email and which maybe was a bit personal. After awhile, I was convinced by others to email her. Her website states that she responds to all emails, but I never received a reply. Had her website not stated that she replies back to all emails I might have just blown it off, but I admit I was rather disappointed I didn’t hear back from her. A simple no would have been fine. I wouldn’t have minded and even said that if she didn’t want to that was fine.

    So no, I’m not usually shocked. Maybe pleasantly surprised sometimes though. When I was a teen I wrote to a lot of celebs, and while I didn’t usually get personalized letters very often, I did get a decent response from a good number of them.

    1. Oh no, Pam! I am so sorry to hear that.

      Now I need to go check and see if a statement saying I responded to all emails is still on MY website. I know at one time, I’d written that up there… Now, I’ll have to go amend it somehow in case something similar happens with me. I say that because I have a friend who swears up and down he wrote me via the email address on my website to ask an inappropriate question just for my response. I can honestly say that I never saw the email. My guess is that the “spam assassin” program attached to my webmail killed it. Which is actually a very viable reason for why the lady you wrote to didn’t respond.

      I recently switched web hosting and have found that I prefer the “contact form” option because the dashboard/back end of the website holds a copy of all of them so on the off chance that something didn’t arrive because of some sort of spam block, I can still comb through all the messages once a month and see if I missed something.

      Either way, I am terribly sorry she didn’t respond after you worked up the courage to email her.

      1. I never thought that it might have gone into the spam folder. And I don’t remember what kind of contact form was on her site.

        It’s not really a big deal anyway! I guess my curiosity about what she told me got the better of me, and I wanted to learn more. LOL Truthfully I could have just emailed her outright and asked instead of asking if she’d be interested in doing a guest post about it.

        Thank you for the reply though!

      2. You’re welcome for the reply. I’m sorry it didn’t work out with the guest author blogger.

        As for the asking straight out, yeah, I’d recommend that strategy. I don’t know about her specifically, however, sometimes as an author I feel like people see me as a used car salesmen so I’m real careful about not taking advantage of someone or a situation, so if someone doesn’t ask me directly if I’ll come blog about something, I won’t respond to a “hint” because I don’t want them to think I’m pushing myself on them or feel obligated to allow me to post because they asked something and I answered. That’s another theory, I guess.

  4. Yes.

    I was pleasantly shocked when a couple of authors (a few self-published; a few traditionally published) emailed me. One is my hero of the romance genre (Carolyn Davidson), and I have her letter in my drawer to this day because she inspired me to take the path I did. πŸ˜€ But I wouldn’t have been surprised if she never responded because she has contracts with Harlequin to meet, and I’m aware of the time constraints that requires.

    As an author, I have a policy of never answering condescending emails. If someone is rude, I am under no obligation to write back. I’m not going to waste time with that type of negativity. I will answer questions (sometimes with a blog link if the answer requires a lengthy explanation which I addressed in a blog post). Sometimes a one sentence question leads to a full page or more to answer it (and I’ve had enough of the same questions that it makes more sense to answer it in a blog post and link to it later for those who don’t read the blog). Most of the time, the answers are a simple thank you because I appreciate the support but have no other way to express how happy I am than with a simple sentence.

    Also as an author, I am so busy that it takes days to answer emails. My inbox is overwhelming, and with four kids buzzing around and a husband at home, I do good to get through a few emails a day in the middle of all my other obligations (write, edit, do covers, format books, update my website/blogs, jump through Amazon’s hoops when they pop up, and others that don’t seem like they take some time but do….oh yeah, and at some point I need to sleep). I know a couple of emails have slipped by me in the past. It wasn’t intentional. It’s just that when you’ve got so much on your plate, you can’t catch everything. I’m just human. Other authors have to deal with the same thing. So yes, I am shocked when they answer emails.

    1. I couldn’t have said it better myself.

      As an author, I have a lot going on, so if I miss an email, it’s not intentional. My mail server (at least the one attached to my website) allows me to flag emails with different color flags and I’ll flag the emails as I see them with different colors: this person needs to be added to a mailing list, this is a reader email requires a response, this is from a business or another author, etc. Then when it’s time to attend to my inbox, I sort them by color and tackle similar emails at once so I’m not adding this person to the email list then confirming my order for a cover ad then adding another email address to the newsletter list then answering a reader’s question etc. This helps, but it’s not foolproof.

      My more common questions have gained a spot on my website and blog under FAQ and usually I don’t see those pop up in my inbox again.

      Sadly, I still respond to the rude emails. Not the way I’m first tempted to to, of course, LOL, but I do write them to thank them for reading whatever book it was they read, and leave it at that.

      My main reason for posting this was that I was surprised at how many people are surprised that I wrote them back. I’m not Nora Roberts. Besides, as Judy mentioned it always feels good as an author to be told someone likes our work and if they took the time to write me to make sure I knew they liked my book(s), they certainly deserve a response.

      1. Just had to cheer for another person who loved Sweet Valley High! That was the series that got me hooked on reading. I have so many great memories from reading those books. πŸ˜€

    2. I think I messed up with knowing where to reply to comments since the one for Karen showed up under a section where SVH was not mentioned.

      Anyway, your color system is a brilliant idea.

      You’re not Nora Roberts, but you outsell a lot of romance authors (both indie and traditionally published) and the USA Bestseller’s List isn’t shabby. πŸ˜‰

      I think part of the shock comes in emailing someone who’s work you love so much that you’re honored when they respond. It’s how I felt when I met Mark Coker. I was humbled and honored to have him shake my hand. It’s not hero worship, but it’s a feeling of having the privilege to get to communicate with them. (if that makes sense)

      1. I LOVE my colored flag system. It really helps, but of course every now and then something slips by.

        I met Mark, too, and felt like a total dweeb. LOL

  5. When I was in elementary school I absolutly loved the Sweet Vally series, and I wrote the author and got a nice welcome to the fan club package with some cheap gifts in it. Of course I later found out that those series were written by many different authors under the same pen name. It wasn’t untl this last year that I tried again and the first author I wrote was Ruth Ann Nordin telling her how much I appracited Eye of the Beholder. Of course when she actually wrote me back I put her blog on my follow list which lead me to a new author, you Rose. And I of course email you and got a kick out of all the reponses I would get from you. Especially your shock as I change my mind on a certain character who shell remain nameless from his first apparance to his book.

    1. Yes, I was quite shocked. Considering how you felt about him in an earlier book, I nearly swooned when you ended up liking him. I have a sneaking suspicion that you read my note/questions before reading the book where he first appeared and your opinion was tainted…but that’s just an unfounded suspicion. *grins*

      Either way, I’m glad you enjoy my responses. They’re pretty candid. LOL

      1. Rose I will have you know that i was a good child and did not open the questions first. I may have stayed up until 3 am reading the book in question, but I did not peak at the questions until afterwards. And then I thought about them as I fell asleep.

  6. I’ve only ever written to two “celebrities”, not expecting a response — Pritzger Award-Winning architect Thom Mayne, and you. In both cases, I received a responses in less than an hour. Needless to say, I felt very honored and special, and definitely pleasantly surprised. Thrilled even.

    Oh, wait, Patsy Clairmont once responded to a comment I put on her facebook wall via my inbox…does that count?

    Did I even answer your question?

    1. Oh my, I am NOT a celebrity, but I thank you for elevating me to that status!

      Really, I got back to you in less than an hour the first time? I remember I was at Sonic treating my boys to an ice cream when my phone dinged, signaling an email had come in and I when I read it, I nearly choked on a piece of butterfinger in my blast. Certainly a memorable moment.

      Answered the question perfectly.

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