Tuesday, September 16, 2008

A Word on Fan Mail

You know what I think of fan mail? (Drum roll...) I think it's great. Absolutely beautiful stuff. I thought I should take a moment to say so, since I took a moment out to talk about negativity a little while back...

I'm very happy to say that I've had the pleasure of receiving a steady flow of emails from folks over the last year or so. I'm not talking heaps of letters, but every few days somebody is kind enough to drop me a note saying a few nice things. Most often it's about Acacia, but Pride of Carthage gets a mention regularly, and even the early novels seem to still find readers every now and then. Part of why the correspondence is so nice is that it's a reminder of that - something I wouldn't really notice otherwise.

The last one to come in was this...

Hi David, I just finished Acacia tonight, I really enjoyed it thank you! I think this has to be the most amazing fantasy book I have read so far. I can't wait for the next installment and to find out where you take the story next. I couldn't put it down and had to take a day off work today so that I could finish it. Thanks for writing such a wonderful story!

DS - Blue Mountains Australia

Had to take a day off work to finish? Awesome. There's nothing like hearing that you've helped hamper productivity to make an author's day. To do so on foreign soil is even better! And, no, hearing such things doesn't go to my head. I've got a computer in front of me, deadlines, much, much work to do. There are plenty enough things to keep me grounded.

What it does do, however, is remind me why I write. That's much appreciated.

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Blogger The Real Deal said...

I've gotta say, this era of modern communication is awesome. Growing up, when I read a book, or saw a movie, or enjoyed any other product, it was (to a child, at least) an arduous task to write a letter and figure out how to get it to the correct person.

Over the last few years, there has been an increase in the accessibility and availability of said people....making it easier and, in my view, more enjoyable to drop an encouraging word when so inclined.

All that to say, thank you, David, for being accessible and responsive to us, your fans. I've even had the extreme pleasure of dialoguing about the process of writing with you on the forums!

Guess this is a win-win situation! You please and edify us with your work, and we get to let you know how much we like it!

Good times...=)

3:38 PM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

David, it seems to me that this could be the beginning of the end for the War On Terror (tm). Here's what we do.

Translate Acacia into as many Middle Eastern languages as possible, and then distribute them to the different factions.

Wait a few days. We'll know its working when they stop showing up for the war.

While they're engrossed in the novel, we send in SEAL teams and other sneaky types to steal all of their weapons, leaving big lemon meringue pies in their place.

When they all finish the book, they might want to start the war up again, but they won't have any guns, just pies.

So they will take to the streets and either eat the pies - yummy - or throw them at each other, a la the Marx Brothers.

After a couple of hours of this, they will all be so covered in lemon meringue that they won't be able to tell who is a Shiite or a Separatist, and they can all have a good laugh over how silly this whole "terrorism" thing is, because who can't laugh when everyone is covered in pie? And then everyone goes home, having learned a valuable lesson in acceptance.

Admittedly, the plan has a few flaws, but I'm sure a meeting of the Joint Chiefs can shore those up post haste.

Durham For The Win!

7:38 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Real Deal,

Yep, that modern communication thing really helps. Back in my pre-website days I only got hard copy letters via my publisher. There weren't many of them, of course, but the ones that did come often got to me... oh, about a year and a half after they'd been mailed. The folks in the Random House mail room always managed to be about that far behind on my current address.

That was then, though. Now it's all electronic. I haven't gotten one of those packets from my publisher in about four years. So, if you wrote me via Doubleday recently I haven't received it and probably never will. Drop me an email instead.


Interesting plan, but I'm not sure I want the Joint Chiefs knowing anything about me.


4:11 PM  
Blogger Shawn C. Speakman said...

It can be a double-edged sword as a writer grows in sales and fans. I really admire those writers who put out a great book, grow a fan base, and yet still make the time -- and make no mistake, they MAKE the time -- to still answer email communication.

We are fortunate to have David be so accessible. I met a writer a few days ago for the first time, someone I have admired, and they were the antithesis to everything I think a humble writer should be. I was so angry I left his event, will not buy another book of his, or will not support him via my signed book business any longer. I guarantee this writer doesn't answer fan mail at all.

There are real deals, like David, who are warm, smart and care for their fans; I'd much rather spend my time associating with them and writing them than to some pompous ass who believes the sun rises and sets on the edge of his writing pen.

So congrats, David! You've already shown yourself to be high class. And that, my friend, will garner you more respect and a firmer readership than any of your novels will. Cheers!

4:02 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say that I recently picked up Acacia and am about half way through...it's an excellent novel so far and I am particularly impressed by the quality of the prose. You have such a smooth and graceful style...I am already looking forward to reading your other works.



10:25 PM  
Blogger Tia Nevitt said...

Thanks for the helpful map! I've never actually taken a day off from work to read--what a great idea!

I have a question for authors over at Fantasy Debut and I'd love to hear your opinion.

6:00 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Thanks, Shawn. I appreciate the kind words. And man am I curious about who that author was... Anybody I know?


Clearly, you're a refined and dignified reader, with a true eye for quality. ;)

No, seriously. Thank you. A lot, actually, because for every reader my prose style wins they'll be another reader that thinks I'm too wordy. Can't please everyone. But I'm very happy to please someone.


I'll pay a visit.

7:11 PM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

I'm going with Neal Stephenson.

And if it wasn't, it was probably still Neal Stephenson.

8:37 PM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Ohh... Hmm, I hope not. That man can write.

I've only seen him in person once, at BEA. He did pass by with a definite "don't step in front of me, shout my name, touch my suit or even think about messing with my flow because I'm on my way to something important and I really doubt that anybody near at hand is that important thing" sort of vibe to him.

That said, it was sweet suit. And I didn't say a word to him, so I have absolutely nothing to go on, except the look...

9:08 PM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

He can write, all right, and write and write and write ...

The word "loquacious" comes to mind, if it can be applied to print as well as speech.

I just remember going to a signing where he basically said "I don't have an email address or web page because I'm actually doing something important with my time, writing these books you all need to read. So talk to my assistant and leave me alone."

Did you know he wrote the entire Baroque Cycle with a quill pen and parchment? Parchment! Not even paper!

1:27 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...

Quill and parchment?...

I don't even have a response to that.

5:48 PM  
Blogger Corby Kennard said...

Yeah, he wanted to know what it was like to write in the period he was writing, so that's what he did.

Those books are each over 700 pages long.

2:26 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just finished Acacia a few days ago -- it was wonderful. Loved how the four Akarans paths were wildly divergent and I couldn't guess what they'd be doing next. I found the most interesting characters to be Mena, Corinn, and Leeka Alain. And the Santoth were a pleasant surprise as well. And the whole bit with the "mist" is fascinating. Looking forward to the next.

10:48 AM  
Blogger David Anthony Durham said...


Thanks for kind words, and for the nice mention on your website! Much appreciated.


11:08 AM  

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