The Letter Writing Campaign Thing -- Some Early Observations

As of today, I've gotten 22 letters from folks. This floors me -- I didn't expect that many! And I especially didn't expect that many this soon -- it's only been a little over 2 weeks since I asked if you guys missed writing letters as much as I did. And I expected, oh, five. Maybe ten. But when I got that many in just one week, I knew I was on to something.

Judging by the content of all the letters -- every single one, in fact -- the concept of a handwritten letter is something everyone who has written, misses. And that's the first observation. The very real, human aspect of putting a hand on a pen and using it to write a message to a person? That's something that a lot of people really value. And it's something that's been lost in this modern age.

In fact, I'm instant messaging right now with someone who wrote me a letter, Heather. And she told me that in just one week, she found herself writing three handwritten letters/notes, and described it as "disorienting" because she's gotten so used to email, IM and texting.

Disorienting. That's just a strange term to hear when talking about the simple act of writing a letter. But I can completely relate. It just seems so antiquated. Almost a romantic thing (not like man-woman-courtship romance, but more like sunset romantic... Typewritten book romantic. The notion of something experienced as sentimental). And that leads me to my next observation: the vast majority of the letters come from female writers.

I've always had what I consider a surprising female reader demographic. Before I sold the first book, I thought I catered mostly to young teenage boys. And I garnered that fact by watching who commented on the stories and the kind of things that were in the forums on the old Mentally Incontinent site. But when the sales figures were tabulated, I was shocked to find that I was selling to over 40% females.

When the second book came out, I was especially shocked to find that the vast majority of new readers who wrote in within a month of the book coming out were females -- nearly 90%. So I don't know if this is endemic of my reader base consisting of a higher level of females than I'd expect, or the fact that letter writing would appeal to ladies in general. Or maybe the fellas haven't really gotten around to it yet -- we guys are notorious procrastinators.

But I will say that this whole thing has been fascinating, to say the least. In fact, I've decided if I get enough letters, and you guys are cool with it, there's probably a book that could be made out of this.

I'm absolutely serious. Naturally, I'd have to ask that everyone who writes a letter be okay with that letter being published. And if you are, if it's cool to include your name or not. But regardless, the project (which, I guess, it's now a project? Who knows) has legs. The letters themselves, how they're written, what they're written on, the things people have sent, the feelings that have been shared, and most of all the reasons why letter writing has appealed to so many... All very fascinating stuff don't you agree?

If you do, won't you please spread the word (and more importantly, send a letter yourself)? And if you're stuck on what to write, don't be. Just write me a letter. That's the real goal here -- to share something with you that goes past the digital immediacy of our current society and into something heartfelt. Something real and tangible.

So, again, here's my address:

PO Box 792
Lovejoy, GA 30250

I look very forward to hearing from you!