Please join the Chicks in welcoming author Tonya Kappes, who writes a variety of series, including The Kenni Lowry Mystery Series, the Magical Cures Mystery Series, the Southern Ghostly Mystery Series, and The Campers and Criminals Cozy Mystery Series, just to name a few. Her most recent release is Forests, Fishing, and Forgery.
The internet. Specifically, social media. Oh…how it’s changed how me and my readers interact. Though it has been a really good thing, it’s also given me pause, but not in the way you’re thinking.
The internet has really changed my life as an author. Instead of printing off my manuscript and sending it through the mail in a big fat yellow envelope, I can just zip it right on through by email to my editor.
Yep. That’s what I’m talking about. What happened to SNAIL MAIL???
Before the social media and even email craze, we had to actually handwrite letters, notes, and manuscript. We had to actually go to the post office and get stamps or weigh a package to mail.
Of course I thought it was GREAT to just be able to zip a reader back an email after they’d reached out to me by email. Though, each week, I’d scurry off to the post office and check my PO Box to retrieve all the fun reader mail I’d get. (I’m speaking years ago.) It was so much fun to head there and see what was waiting for me, with a thank you note at the ready to mail right back to them.
I’ve always valued my efforts and time I’d taken to get to know my readers. When someone mailed me a letter, I took the time to mail them back. It was one of the highlights of my week. Yes. I love getting emails from readers but there’s something to the hand-written notes with their signatures that made it so much more personal. That was and still is the connection I craved from my readers.
I didn’t go to college or get my master’s degree to become a writer. Nope. I was a child therapist. I didn’t even start reading actual books for pleasure until my thirties. Long story for another time…but that’s when I discovered how much reading took me out of my real-life situation.
After many years and finally an established professional murderer…umm…in fiction of course, I wanted my readers to know how much I appreciated them. After all, they took the time to hand write me letters and I wanted to be sure they too loved getting mail, with a stamp, delivered by the post office. Not just a notification. YOU’VE GOT MAIL…
(You’re welcome for putting that sweet movie in your head. *wink*)
Anyways, I started to collect reader’s actual, physical mailings address. When I go on a trip (work or vacation), the first thing I do is go grab a handful of postcards. Immediately, while on the trip, I hand write a note to about 20 readers and tell them how much I appreciate them. I even keep a little black address book…now a few…that have their names and addresses.
Year after year, I receive cards from readers on my birthday. It truly is special because I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY! I’ll type that again for effect ~ I LOVE MY BIRTHDAY! And for a reader to even remember that since I don’t paste it all over social media, means a lot to me.
I wanted them to feel the same love on their birthdays like they’ve given me. That’s when I started doing the Mailbox Love where they fill out a form on my website to sign up for snail mail. Each week I get my little black address book out and add the new sign ups.
Each month, I sit down and hand write a happy birthday card to everyone who gave me their birthday months. Currently, I’m up to about 1500 a month birthdays and I love it! I love when I get the messages about how my card might be on the only card they get or the fact that I put a smile on their face when the post office delivered it. I love connecting with my readers more than just them reading my book!
It’s more than them buying a book written by me, it’s about knowing how much I truly cherish them as a reader because they made my dreams come true. Without them, I’d never have been able to quit my full-time job as a child therapist (which I loved) and do a job that’s my passion.
Currently, my Mailbox Love list is well over 10,000 strong and I hope when they get my note, it tells them how much I care.
Readers, what are your thoughts about snail mail? And please say hello to Tonya in the comments below.
For years, USA Today bestselling author Tonya Kappes has been publishing numerous mystery and romance titles with unprecedented success.
She is famous not only for her hilarious plot lines and quirky characters, but her tremendous marketing efforts that have earned her thousands of followers and a devoted street team of fans.
To learn more, please visit tonyakappes.com.