June 18, 2009

Letter Correspondence and Waiting for Word

Here I am, one more month, and it's time for my post. But I have to confess...I've been under heavy deadline for my latest book, and of course, I still have my new daughter here at home. That makes having time for anything else rather difficult.

I managed to get my book finished on time and sent off to my editor. Praise God! But then my daughter is going through a growth spurt, so she's needing all of my time.

However, in today's mail, I received my latest feedback from readers of my books with my publisher. And as this is a blog primarily for westerns in the 1800's, it brought to mind letter-writing and responding during those times.

These days, we're so spoiled with the rapid responses we receive through email and the Internet. We send an email and then if we don't hear back that day or the next, we get anxious and start calling out the national guard to make sure someone is all right.

What about living in the 1800's when sending a letter would take weeks to get to your destination. Factor in the response time as well as the return-trip for that letter and you're looking at months possibly before hearing anything...might even be a year. I won't even go into letters getting lost or the mail stagecoach getting robbed and the main intercepted.

So, we write books and they're published. Readers read them, and some take the time to hand-write feedback to us. For my publisher, since the books stay in print and are still available long after their release date, that could mean getting feedback months and years after the book is out...and that's even longer than when the book was finished.

For an author, feedback is how we know we're doing a good job. It can be agonizing to wait that long to hear from readers. Then again, when I think about how long folks had to wait to hear from friends and loved ones back during the 1800's, I realize I can wait. :)

So, the next time you get anxious or impatient because someone hasn't called back or emailed within 24 hours, give it some time. Life happens to us all. Perhaps it's a good idea to slow it down a little. Might do us all a world of good.

1 comment:

Molly Noble Bull said...

This was interesting, Tiff.
I once wrote letters in longhand. But my penmanship is not that great. I'm a terrible speller, and this message is probably a witness to my poor spelling skills. So I do email. But old letters were really better because they were kept for future generations.