Q&A: The Stalker Reader

Question: Help!  Someone please make a post for me and for other writers who might be dealing with this situation because I am too close to the problem to be objective about it.

If you’ve been receiving emails every day for about two weeks from the same person who isn’t necessarily being rude but is obviously wanting to keep you answering them with questions like “What kind of house do you live in?” or “What is it like in the U.S.?” or “What are the color of your cat’s eyes?”  I mean, these emails have nothing to do with your books, but you suspect the person is lonely and probably wants to reach out and communicate with someone but you don’t have that kind of time to email this person every single day, then what do you do?

I don’t want to be rude.  But do I have a choice?  Is there a form letter I can send out? 

Answer: I wanted to have your question answered as soon as I could and later I’ll make a post on Author Etiquette. Most people on here might not know what Ruth means by form letter. This isn’t some cold letter that you copy and send out. In the last year that we have been conversing, we have made a dozen or more form letters. What they are, are letters written to answer emails that would otherwise make you send a heated email cussing the rude reader off for whatever reader reason. Our letters aren’t a publisher’s rejection letters.

First, they are written when you’re not upset. Second, they can be modified to answer specific points in the readers email, which you should do if it doesn’t invade your privacy. And third, it provides a credible, professional image.  

I’ll use Ruth’s questions for an example.

Dear (Reader’s name);

Thank you for your emails, however, I am uncomfortable with your line of questioning (or as Dave suggested, due to work / family commitments / time restraints, etc. I am only able to speak  you on the writing/reader basis.) If you have a reading or writing related question please let me know (at your email or you can place a blog address here). I also have an author blog at (address), feel free to visit and comment.

Sincerely,

(Your name)

Of course modify this for your writing style. I’m more formal in my letter writing then, Ruth. And I open this Q&A for anyone else that might have a better solution. Anyone?

Q&A: Looking for a Website

I thought I’d throw this one out to you all. Recently we had a question fro Nina who asked for our help. She wants to know:

“I do have a question about your personal websites. Mine is currently through Yahoo Small Business Webhosting, but I’m not particularly thrilled with it. What I’m wondering is who you all have yours through, and if there is one webhosting site that you would recommend over another – one that is more user-friendly for writers. 

Thanks!

Nina”

Can you writers out there give Nina a hand?

The Pen Name

I was wondering what everyone thought about using pen names or their own names when publishing. Do you think it’s easier to use a pen name or your own name?

Q&A: Self-Publishing

Dear Self-Publishers,

I was wondering how you all went about getting yourselves published? Did you go directly to self-publishing or did you try the more traditional way of Publishing? Or was it a little bit of both? Who did you find did the best job for you? Who was the most affordable? Who would you warn people away from?

Kind regards