Two weeks ago, in a bar, I met the brother of a writer whose first book I liked very much. After several hours of complimentary drunken ramblings, I managed to extract from him the fact that his brother’s second book had recently been released. I hadn’t heard this, so the news came as a pleasant surprise.
The following weekend I went out, purchased it, and read it in two days. It’s very good, and I recommend it highly.
When I finished reading, I went online, found the author’s Myspace page, requested him as a friend and wrote him a four paragraph message. In this message, I told him how much I’d enjoyed his new book. I told him how much we had in common, how I’d met his brother, and how interesting it was to be able to identify with so many of the experiences he’d related.
About an hour later, I clicked on my “sent” box and saw that he’d read my email. Expecting an immediate reply, I kept refreshing the page. Nothing happened. Nothing continued to happen for the next three days. I was very disappointed, thinking he’d figured me for a crackpot fan.
Tonight, I came home from work and found my reply:
“Hey, thanks so much.”
That’s it. That’s all I got.
See, I get a lot of email, and I don’t respond to large chunks of it. This isn’t because I don’t care, or because I think I’m too good to respond. It’s primarily because I don’t have any time. That I don’t have any time is not a consequence of having written a book. Book stuff takes up approximately none of my time as of right now. I don’t have any time because I’m usually too busy working or taking care of some of the other “shit” I have going. This other “shit” is stuff I’d be doing whether I had a book coming out or not. I’m sure the author I emailed is operating under the same constraints.
I’m also a royal prick about my “precious” time. Ask anyone who knows me, if you ever get the chance. If I think something is wasting my time, I turn into a first class cock-ring and you’ll never hear the end of it. This, most times, is because I’m a selfish dick who needs to be in control of everything around me, especially the clock. I’ve been working on this lately. The results are mixed.
In any case, I’ve learned my lesson the hard way here. Granted, writing me a two page letter doesn’t automatically guarantee you a heartfelt response and oath of eternal friendship from me (not that either of those are worth a whole lot), but I can do better and will. From now on, every email gets a response.
*******************************************************Confidential to Carl G:
Please email me directly and explain what it is you've invited me to and why. It looks interesting, but I'd like some more information. Thank you.