“Dear Author,”

Authors write books to readers and once in a while a reader will write to an author. Here’s an imagined letter from a reader. As you consider viewing your work through their eyes, maybe taking a moment to actually see inside their world would change the way you approach your work.

Dear author,

I am no one special, I just like to read. The first books in my life were read to me, and it got me interested in reading for myself. I read about one book a month, which I am told makes me a pretty frequent reader. (At least it makes me important for something!)

My life has had its ups and downs. I have a family, a job and a few close friends. I don’t read the Bible or go to church as much as I should, but family, job and friends take a lot of my time. I’ve had some health problems off an on and so there are times when everything is hard. But I’m fine now.

At each point in my life where I needed something, whether it was help, encouragement or just distraction to get my mind off my problems, it was usually a book or something written that filled whatever need I had.

I am not a complicated person, but I do tend to like to read one kind of book this week and another type next week. Whenever you ask me what I like to read, I usually give an answer true for that particular day. Come to think about it, maybe I am complicated! Guess I never considered myself that way.

I like being connected to you in social media, but I sort of wish you spent a little more time telling me about you and your spiritual journey and maybe a little less about what book you wrote and where I can buy it. Maybe being “friends” in social media is just another word for “customer.”  I am okay with that…I guess.

When someone asks what I like about a book, I have a hard time explaining what exactly it was about a particular book that made me like it. It is sort of like trying to explain why I liked a certain song or a particular flower. I just did.

Does that make me weird? (Don’t answer that question!)

I can’t imagine how much work it is to write a book. This letter took me a long time to write and still, I probably misspelled some words or used the wrong punctuation!

Anyway, I appreciate it if you think of me when you write something. I’d like to think I’m not the only one struggling with things in this world.

Mostly, I wanted to write today to thank you for your work. I’ve read many books over the years and sometimes I will think of a scene or some words from one of them at the strangest times. They have become part of my life.

With Kind Regards,

A reader

15 Responses to “Dear Author,”

  1. Tedd Galloway June 7, 2016 at 5:14 am #

    Thank you so very much.

  2. Joe June 7, 2016 at 6:16 am #

    Wow! This is powerful. About the reader. Wanting a slice of life. Labeling and putting in boxes is not the readers life. They want life on life, just like a relationship of any kind.

  3. Beverly Brooks June 7, 2016 at 6:30 am #

    An inspired work. Relationship is always the best focus. Thanks Dan!

  4. Davalynn Spencer June 7, 2016 at 6:57 am #

    Thank you, Dad. This post is a jewel I intend to keep.

    • Davalynn Spencer June 7, 2016 at 6:58 am #

      Sorry, didn’t mean to call you Dad. Can we say typo?

      • Dan Balow June 7, 2016 at 7:04 am #

        In honor of upcoming Father’s Day…you were just early.

  5. Joan Campbell June 7, 2016 at 7:45 am #

    I love this, thanks Dan. Especially the part about wanting to hear more about the writer’s spiritual journey and less about their books.

  6. Sheri Dean Parmelee June 7, 2016 at 8:02 am #

    Thanks for the posting, Dan. It really speaks to the need to identify with the people reading what we are writing or at least helping them identify with our characters. Everyone faces struggles of some kind and I suppose that having all-to-human characters for whom life is less than perfect is the way we can reach out to others. We can demonstrate our faith by having characters who struggle but come through whatever they are experiencing as a result of their faith, not in a -hit-you-between-the-eyes type of inclusion of God’s Word in the writing, but through genuine striving and a true foundation. Thanks for the spiritual food for thought!

  7. Renee McBride June 7, 2016 at 8:47 am #

    Dear Dan,

    Your comment about posting more about my spiritual growth on social media threw me for a loop.

    I’ve just added blogging to my platform. As a pre-pubbed writer, I’ve been struggling with content and identifying who my audience is and will be in the future. I’m having a “duh” moment right now.

    But the truth is, I’ve always been guarded about my personal life on social media. I want to be an authentic Christian, but I’m nervous about revealing so much. Your post gave me a lot to pray about. Thank you.

  8. Christine Malkemes June 7, 2016 at 12:21 pm #

    Thank you, Dan. Great reminder of why we write and readers read.

  9. Yaasha Moriah June 7, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    “I sort of wish you spent a little more time telling me about you and your spiritual journey and maybe a little less about what book you wrote and where I can buy it.”

    This part just stabbed me, and, from the comments, I see that it did for others too. As an author, it’s hard to find the balance. You don’t want your blog or social media presence to be all about you. But you also don’t want to hide behind your books. People can’t form relationships with books–and sometimes knowing a bit about the author gives a reader a deeper perspective on the truths within the story.

    And, honestly, I’ve been a writer so long I’ve almost forgotten what it is to be a reader. It’s not that I don’t read. I just can’t turn off my inner writer, so I miss out on the reader’s perspective. Remembering how to be a reader is a gift!

    I’m definitely going to print this out and mull over it.

  10. Peter DeHaan June 9, 2016 at 4:43 am #


  11. Jim Hnatiuk July 10, 2016 at 4:31 pm #

    Hi Dan
    I certainly appreciate your wisdom. Thanks.

    My issue is this.
    When you write “I sort of wish you spent a little more time telling me about you and your spiritual journey and maybe a little less about what book you wrote…”
    My book is about my spiritual journey and one most will admit few would ever dare to share.
    How can I be sensitive and share one without the other?

  12. Dan Balow July 11, 2016 at 7:04 am #

    The intention of the remark about author communication was not about book content per se. It is fine to talk about themes from your book, but having a sales theme to every post is not good.

    Authors who only market and sell via social media are not building deep roots to their audience. Developing a platform is more about serving than being served.

    • Jim February 12, 2017 at 9:15 am #

      Thanks, Dan, understood

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