A Writer’s Secret Weapon: The Thank You Note!

I’m going to sound like your grandmother, but here goes:

When in doubt, write a thank you note.

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I’m talking to you, writers. I’m talking about spending some money on some fancy stationery, unearthing your fountain pen, and putting some appreciative thoughts down on paper. Thank you notes: they’re your secret weapons.

See also: chocolate bars for the subrights people who’ve sold your book abroad; holiday presents for the marketing and publicity and editorial people who are getting the word out about your project; small, topical presents for the people who blurb your book or go above and beyond to spread the word on your behalf; handwritten thank you’s to the independent booksellers with whom you have even a tenuous relationship, and which can be sent out with your galley when the times comes; and yes, using the acknowledgements section of your book to its utmost potential.

(See also: handwritten notes to authors you are asking to blurb your work, in which you make it clear you have actually READ their work, and point out what about that work is compelling to you before you ask them to do you the huge favor of reading, and then writing positively, about your book).

Why should you write thank you notes and the like?

Well let me ask you this: when was the last time you were the recipient of a handwritten thank you note (or another, similar, appreciative gesture)? In this digital age, I’ll bet you remember it. I’ll bet you spent some time with that note, that you smiled at it, and felt happy that whatever you had done for that person, which prompted the “thank you,” actually mattered to them. I’ll bet you’d be more likely to do the same thing for them again.

That’s why you should write some yourself. Being genuinely generous, genuinely appreciative, and showing that you’ve taken the time to SIT DOWN WITH FANCY STATIONARY AND A FOUNTAIN PEN to say thank you especially to whomever you were thanking- that you didn’t just write an email, or send them a text, or post on their Facebook wall, or or or- is a form of human connection! And if there’s anything we need more of in the publishing world, it’s human connection. It’s breaking down the behemoth of the publishing machine and remembering we’re all people.

Also, make sure you spell their name right.

Okay, off my grandma soapbox.

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