“How to Write to Your Favorite Authors”
by Lee Wardlaw

Dear Ms. Wardlaw: 
I’m doing a report about you and your books for school.
Please write and tell me everything there is to know about you.   And hurry!  Thanks. 
                          Sincerely, Your #1 Fan

I receive loads of letters and emails like this every year from readers just like you.  And, although two of my favorite subjects to yak about are ‘Me’ and ‘My Books’, I usually need a specific question or three to get me going.

I also need to see that you’re using a bit of mental elbow grease. I mean, this is your homework assignment, not mine.  So it’s important for you to think about what, specifically, you’d like to know about me - - and why.

So.  ATTENTION FANS:  I love hearing from you.  I love writing to you.  I cross-my-heart-and-hope-to-cry promise to write back to you.  Here are a few tips that will help you get a lickety-split response from me (and possibly other authors):

  1. Use the correct email or postal address.To send me an email, visit my website at http://www.leewardlaw.com.  Scroll down to the bottom of Home Page and click on the Mailbox icon; then fill out the email form.  If you want to write to me at my home, please email me first and ask for my street address.

  2. Spell my name correctly.  Not that I mind getting mail addressed to “Ms. Weirdlow” or “Ms. Warthog.” (Or even Mister Weirdlow/Warthog.)  But taking the time to check the proper spelling of my name (it’s right there, on the front of my books!) shows me you’re serious about your assignment and are genuinely interested in hearing back from me.

  3. If you’re emailing me, please remember to include your complete email address so that I know where to send my response.  If you’re sending me a snail mail letter, include an SASE (self-addressed, stamped envelope), preferably written in pen.  You may use your home or school address. If you use your school address, include your teacher’s name and his/her room number so the office secretary knows where to deliver my response.

  4. Oh, and while you’re at it, please remember to include your full name, too!  (I feel strange writing:  ‘Dear Mystery Emailer’ or ‘To the Reader this May Concern.’)

  5. If you have a deadline for your author project, please don’t wait until eight minutes before the project is due to contact me.  I might be busy scooping the cat’s litter box or taking a nap during those eight minutes.  Or I might be out-of-town, doing school visits, and won’t be able to get back to you for a week or so.  If possible, please give me at least a two weeks lead-time. (A month is even better.)

  6. If you don’t hear back from me within a couple of days, please visit my website at http://www.leewardlaw.com.  Click on the Fly icon that says: “101 Ways to Bug . . . “ When you reach the Bug page, you’ll find my answers to “101 Questions to Ask an Author.”  You just might find the answer you’re looking for on that page!

  7. Before composing your letter or email, think for a few minutes about what questions you’d like to ask.  (Instead of grabbing the super easy ones, like:  Where do you get your ideas? or Do you like writing?) If there was a particular character, scene or situation in one of my books you really identified with, that you loved, hated, or were thoroughly bored by, you might want to ask me about that.  Or if you hope to be an author some day, think about what questions you could ask that might help you reach that goal.  While you’re thinking, jot your questions down so you don’t forget them.

  8. When in doubt, GUSH.  We authors love to hear how much you loved reading our books!  Seriously, I’m honored you chose one of my books to read.  I’m honored you’re taking the time to write to me.  And I want to know exactly what you thought or how felt about my story - - both the good stuff and the bad.  (But if you just happen to include the phrases “fabulous!” “hilarious!” or “best book I’ve ever read!!!!”, well, I certainly won’t complain.


Thanks for writing!

Ms. Lee Wardlaw