And I don't mean spare kidneys or earwax.
I mean the things that are most often requested of me and, I'm guessing, other authors who make themselves available via social media. Maybe it's books for a charity event, swag or bookplates, or just the answer to the question burning in your heart.
The truth is that every author in that photo wants you to be happy.
But you have to help us, because our brains are all cluttered up with stories and deadlines. Here's the thing: I'm not big, I don't have an assistant, I'm not organized, and I'm not rich. So if you contact me, you often get one chance to grab my attention.
Here's how to do it:
IF YOU WANT A FREE BOOK
If you want a free book for your charity auction or some other fuzzy-hearted, karma-positive reason, put all your information in one email. A link to the organization and event so I know it's legit, the address to whom it needs to be sent, the last possible date you need it, and every other pertinent bit of info. This is one case where an intro email request might get ignored, but if you make it easy for me and require no follow up but a stamp, I might just slap it in the mail to make up for flicking off that slow driver yesterday.
It also helps to make a personal connection regarding why you are contacting me in particular. Have we met? Did you like my books? Why are you asking me and not someone else? Most of the requests I get seem like a blanket spam email hoping to reel in anyone with a soft heart, and that's not going to work on a horrible person like me.
If you just want a free book for funsies, let me stop you right there. We're strangers, and you're basically asking me to give you $7.99 plus shipping plus the time it takes me to go to the post office. Not going to happen. What a weird thing to ask, right? But it happens all the time.
IF YOU WANT SWAG AND SIGNED STUFF
Truth? AUTHORS LOVE SIGNING STUFF. And I've signed a lot of weird stuff.
But again, you have to help us. For me, the first step is to check the Events page at the top of my blog and see if we can actually meet and I can sign your stuff and give you bracelets and tell you how awesome you are. If I'm not going to be in your neck of the woods, you can email CriminyStain (at) gmail [dot] com with your home address, and when I gather up several, I'll send you whatever swag I have, plus postcards and stuff for my later releases. You might have to be patient, especially if you're outside the US, as I dread the post office like a kid cleaning their closet.
IF YOU WANT AN INTRO TO MY AGENT, EDITOR, OR AUTHOR FRIENDS
Sorry, Charlie. That's not how publishing works. My agent's name is public knowledge, but the only way you get in with her is by following her submission guides and kicking major ass. My editors don't accept unagented submissions. And no matter what my friend Sam says, I can't actually introduce you to Jewel Staite. If you want to get published, check that Resources page at the top of my blog for every link I used to get an agent and a book deal from my couch in Atlanta. There's no secret handshake; you have to do the work. But I believe in you!
IF YOU HAVE QUESTIONS
I'm always available on Twitter (@DelilahSDawson) and Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/DelilahSDawson) to answer questions. I'll answer questions posted via both of those avenues ten times faster than emails, because emails make me all bajiggity and balky. But I'm really nice and not scary and very much remember what it's like to be a book fangirl and a terrified new writer. I'm also happy to address that sort of question here on the blog, if it's something about publishing or my books that might have wide appeal.
Authors love to hear from you. Seriously. We love to hear that you like our books or hand-sold one in the bookstore. We love to see your fan art. That sort of email always makes an author's day. But please never tweet a bad review at me, because that makes me sad. You're more than welcome to hate the books or find faults with them, because heaven knows they are not perfect; I just don't want to know about it.
If you want to ask me or another author for something, for anything, MAKE IT AS EASY AS POSSIBLE FOR US TO HELP YOU IN ONE TIDY EMAIL/MESSAGE. Because we're nice! And we want you to be happy! And we want you to buy our books! And tell us all about it! And then we'll all hug and never be eaten by bludbunnies!