By Mike MacLean
How did they do it? They each sent an email with a few words of encouragement. That’s it. One little email and they now have a life-long fan.
I’d been writing stories online for a while, yet hadn’t received much in the way of recognition. Dave White once sent a note, but for the most part encouragement was a far off speck on the horizon. Then last year I was lucky enough to have stories posted at both Thrilling Detective, and Demolition. Although I’d never met them, Konrath, O’Callaghan, and Guyot each wrote me. Nothing major, just a few kind words. The impact was tremendous.
Hearing that professional writers had not only read but enjoyed my work meant the world to me. It made me feel like all those hours behind the keyboard might actually payoff, that someday I could possibly carve out a little place for myself in publishing.
A few short emails, that’s all it took.
Even before hearing from these guys, I’d made it a habit to contact webzine writers when I enjoyed their stories. I haven’t been doing that lately. In the immortal words of Ferris Bueller, "Life comes at you pretty fast," and I’ve been busy. But now, I’m vowing to make time for zine writers again. And I strongly suggest anyone reading this should do the same. Let me illustrate why with two points.
1. It will make you feel good giving a struggling writer some encouragement.
2. Your time reading the story and sending a short note might pay off in book sales. For example, I’ve bought Konrath’s books, I’ve bought O’Callaghan’s, and I’ll be the first in line to buy Guyot’s and White’s. Also, I’ve just mentioned each of these guys in a blog which is read by other people who might now go out and buy their books.
So when you’ve finished with this, cruise over to one of the fine sites below and browse a few stories. I guarantee you’ll find one you like. Then track down the author and tell him so. If you have time, come back and mention the story you read in the comments page so others can check it out too.
(If I missed anyone, I apologize)
And while you’re at it, drop the editors a note. These people put blood, sweat, tears, and cash into their zines, often with little appreciation, all to give new writers a voice. I for one would like to thank each and every one of them.