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Sunday, February 15, 2009

Reader Mail and Your Favorite Author

At my first RWA chapter meetings, a best selling author waved a piece of paper in the air and proudly proclaimed “I got fan mail!”

I was taken aback. But… but… but… she sells thousands of books. Surely she gets bags of reader letters? I had pictured daily mail trucks pulling up to her house and dumping envelopes all over her lawn.

Nope, doesn’t happen that way. Reader mail is rare (even in the email era). It is treasured, read, re-read, and kept in a file to be savored after receiving yet another rejection notice for the book of your heart.

Ask any author, and she will tell you the reader is all important. We don’t write for critics. We don’t write for publishers. We write for ourselves and the only reason we publish that piece of ourselves is for readers to enjoy.

For the new author, reader mail is especially crucial. Breach Of Trust, my first novel, was published in May. I didn’t get my first sales report until the end of August. I would lay awake at night, thinking ‘Did I sell a book today? Have I sold any books? Is anyone interested in my novel? Am I going to push my publisher into bankruptcy?’ Yes, I drove myself a bit crazy.

Then I got that first email (from Sharon). I couldn’t believe my eyes. I had to call a friend over to confirm it. When she did, I cried. Then I told the world “Sharon bought my book. Not only that but she LIKED it!” She was my first sale. It likely isn’t true (only my publisher knows that information) but in my heart, she is.

Breach Of Trust became one of my publisher’s top selling books of 2008. It was named runner up for LRC’s Best Contemporary Romance of 2008. It received great reviews.

But all that was gravy because Sharon, a woman I had never met in my life, liked it! (Unfortunately, Sharon is shy and prefers I not post her email or else her words would be posted on my site with stars and happy faces framing it).

I’m already receiving email about my February 1st release, Invisible. Jane writes “I really loved "Invisible." I love how Hagen and Maeve were wary of each other, but couldn't stop the attraction.” Anna shared “I finished Invisible and it was absolutely lovely. I liked it better than Breach Of Trust.” THAT is why I risk rejection, bad reviews, all the other occupational hazards! Because Jane and Anna loved it.

So if you love a book, tell the author. You will make his or her day!

Here’s the opening of Invisible (it is a bit of a weepy)

“Promise.” Birger’s normally robust voice was reduced to a whisper, barely audible over the hum of the oxygen concentrator-compressor combo.

Maeve couldn’t hear the weakness, she wouldn’t hear it. This was Birger, strong, invincible, going-to-live forever Birger.

“No need. The reading doesn’t happen 'til you’re dead and you’re not dying anytime soon, so give it a rest. ” Maeve paced the master bedroom, her heels clicking decisively against the hardwood floor, her hands gripped tightly behind her back.

Blue eyes flicked back and forth, watching her.


Englebarn, he always called her that. He was the only person who did. She didn’t even know what that blasted endearment meant because he wouldn’t tell her.

'Course she didn’t really have to know. The caring in the word was powerful enough to sway decisions. It wasn’t fair of him to use it now.

“I’m not listening.” She gave him her best glare, one that would have incinerated any other man into a heap of ash. The old fart merely smiled.

“Englebarn.” He straightened his frail body, preventing himself from sliding off the bed.

Her lips twisted. Stubborn fool. “Let me do that.” She grabbed the stark white pillow and gave the stuffing a few angry thumps before slipping it back behind Birger’s gray head.


“Don’t thank me yet. I’m not done with you.” She sat back down on the side of the bed, trying not to notice that there was plenty of space, and picked up the small plastic jar on the antique bedside table.

“Not.” Birger feigned a grimace.

“Yeah, the ointment.” Maeve smoothed the lotion onto her palms, rubbing her hands together, the friction raising the temperature. “It might stink but it works. Deal with it.” Though the doctor had doubts about its powers, she was convinced the massages made a difference.

There was only the sound of the machines and her friend’s ragged breathing as Maeve rubbed her lubricated fingers over his chest. Blast it, he was getting thin, disappearing right in front of her.

“You have to eat more,” she grumbled. “Tomorrow I’ll make you some fish cakes, the family recipe, just the way you taught me with warm potato salad and remoulade sauce. You know you’ll like that.”


Maeve’s eyes narrowed. “Not another word, Birger Rayner. I don’t want to hear about it.”

Her obstinate friend wasn’t giving up. “Must accept.”

She fought the urge to pinch him, hard. “I don’t have to accept anything; especially not you talking nonsense 'til my ears bleed.”

Kimber Chin writes contemporary romances set in the sexy world of business. Every week on http://businessromance.com/ , she shares a freebie short story, and every month, she gives away her favorite romance eBook. Of course, she welcomes comments and emails. (Grinning)



Kimber Chin's Don't Be Invisible Contest

The first person she made disappear was herself.
A Man Living In The Past…
Antique collector Hagen Rayner has fourteen business days to find the deed to his Great-Uncle’s house or he risks losing the estate to his devious cousin. Should be easy enough for the self-made billionaire to accomplish, except for one small detail, his only source of help is to be from a woman who doesn’t exist.
A Woman Without One…
Maeve Delaney knows how to make people disappear. The rules are simple. Cut all ties to the past, don’t talk about yourself and never ever let a man get close. That includes any would-be partners with potty mouths, broad shoulders, and gentle hands.
Invisible is a treasure hunt through the world of hidden identities. A world where loyalty and love can be found in the most unexpected places.

If you needed to assume a new identity, what name would you use? Tell us (by leaving a comment on this post) and you could win a copy of Invisible from Kimber Chin.


Tami said...

Hmmmm.....what name would I use?

Probably Shely!

There is a reasoning behind the odd spelling. My mother left letters out of both my first and middle name (on purpose) and I would have to leave a letter out of that one too. :) Or maybe I would use Dyna Lin! You really have me thinking on this one.

Thanks for blogging with us today!

David said...

Fan mail.Please enter me in the contest.:)

Kimber Chin said...

LOL David.
I think you're trying to enter the contest on my own site. Don't worry. I'll include you in that draw.

Hi Tami!
My family is just the opposite.
They add extra e's.
So my middle name is Anne with an e.

If you see a character with an extra e
in my novels,
it is usually a nod to a loved one.

Susan P. said...

I've always used the name Margaret for my alias. In high school, on the beach when we needed to tell people our names we would always make up names.

topkat said...

Fan Mail, I would call myself something plain like Janet Smith topkat@sbcglobal.net

Tami said...

What is it about families? They mess your name up and you have to live with it for the rest of your life. My first name is Tamra. I spell it out for everyone T-A-M-R-A! They then go and write it out and put down Tamara! Can't you hear? Thanks Mom!

**Waves back!**

ann marie said...

I would use sasha white.

lastnerve said...

KIMBER!!!!!!! Don't enter me in the contest as I already have most of your books but I just had to say Thank you! Thank you for letting us know our voice matters. I know the sales speak volumes to you but to know that our opinion matters so much to the author, means so much to us. HMMMMM, now I must pick an author to email! Thanks for blogging!

Kimber Chin said...


Sales speak volumes
mainly because
rightly or wrongly,
we use them
to measure how books resonate with readers.

The better way, however,
is for readers to tell us directly.
I wrote the follow up to Invisible
(Flawless - Tavos' story),
because a test reader told me
she wanted to read his story.

I'm writing Gregory's story this summer
because Becky, one of my readers,
asked me to
(and I finally found a woman for him).

Sometimes, unfortunately, the stories simply don't come.
It took me a while to find Gregory's.
I think he was having too much fun playing the field (grinning)

Kimber Chin said...

David, Susan P, and Ann Marie,
could you please email me
Kimber (AT) kimberchin (dot) com?

I betcha know why!
(Doing the Happy Dance)