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As a person with a public face (author), with a small measure of authority (editor), and a reason for people to contact me (books), I've come to realize that when I get contact emails, a bit of discretion is required on my part.

Fan mail is awesome but posting it makes you seem like you're bragging and maybe that person didn't want the world to know they think you're the bees' knees. Critiquing and criticizing email needs to be treated with care because, basically, no one wins a fight on the internet. Not really. Everyone's rep gets burned in some way.

And then there are the emails that ask for advice or ask questions. These emails need to be treated with respect because, for the most part, the email writer has identified with the work you did and is emotionally invested in your answers and advice. No matter how weird or crazy or unexpected the email, the questions or the advice requested is, it is a bad idea to post such emails on the internet.

I've received another such email about the GRANTS PASS anthology. I have to admit the emails I get about this book are the most interesting by far (in both a good and bad sense) and I have to restrain myself from posting what I receive because people would not believe it otherwise. If GRANTS PASS had been a more popular anthology, I would consider putting up a FAQ (No, I don't think the world is going to come to an end. No, I don't have any special information. Yes, Grants Pass is a real town in Oregon. And so on.) but it isn't, so, I guess I will just keep answering these emails as best I can.

The sincere concern in this most recent email wondering about the economic viability of Grants Pass, and whether or not it can remain a viable place should the worst occur, made me realize that my "little anthology that wouldn't give up" really is emotionally affecting some of the people who read it and that is daunting, terrifying and thrilling all at the same time.

As such, I need to take care and respect when answering all emails—no matter how strange they seem to me at the time. Yes, the more I think about it, discretion is one of the author's best friends.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Dec. 24th, 2010 12:11 pm (UTC)
discretion is one of the author's best friends

That and a good red pen :)
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )