These days, with 96.4% of our incoming email consisting of spam (warning: that link opens a pop-up ad), I often dread opening my email. I do have one less email address these days since I sold the newspaper, but I still have my personal email, bookstore email, and a special address I created for a message board called the Straight Dope, where I’m a staff member. That’s a lot of spam.
One day last week, however, I opened my personal inbox to find a message from a soldier by the name of Leo Pederson. That email read as follows:
Rarely do you find a children’s book that is both educational and entertaining to both children and adults. Even more rare than that is a book that also creates a mutual interest beyond just the reading of the book together. Thank-you for the hours of bonding time you helped create. As a soldier I have spent years away from my daughter and your books give us many adventures when we are together. I hope you continue doing what you do.
Wow. That leaves me almost speechless (generally speaking, I’m only speechless when I’m unconscious). I don’t know you, Leo, but the time you took tracking me down and sending me that message was worth a lot more to me than just a royalty for a book sold. That is precisely what motivated me to start writing in the first place. I’m glad I could make a difference, and I’m going to get started on my next children’s book now!
NB: In a case of fascinating timing, I just read an interview with Joni B. Cole, author of the book Toxic Feedback: Helping Writers Survive and Thrive. I must read that book now!
UPDATE: I contacted Joni, got a copy of Toxic Feedback, and reviewed it here.