I get letters. Lots of letters. On average, across my 30-odd pen names (and this, my real name), I get about 2,500 E-Mails a day, and that doesn't include feeds from various mailing lists. That's just E-Mails sent to me. Oh, and that doesn't include spam stuff.
My Personal Assistant deals with the vast majority of it. Things like "can I get my book autographed?" and that sort of thing. Shauna also handles most of the questions about characters. Yeah, some people think the characters are real.
When all is said and done, I still have maybe 200 a day that Shauna passes on to me.
I get a lot of things sent to me by writers asking for my opinion or help. I like that. I always start off telling the person that I am NOT an editor, though. The editors at the various publishers know their market, and so an editor at one publisher might have one spin while an editor at a different publisher will take a different tack. I try to help, pointing out some of the more common problems seen in works by new writers. You know the stuff...head-hopping, tense issues, poor spelling, bad grammar, and all of the rest. It's fun and I feel like I'm helping someone.
Then there are the poems...
I get a good deal of poems from people. As hard as it may be to believe, I think there are more wannabe poets than there are wannabe authors out there. The problem is that I don't know jack about poetry. I don't even know the mechanics of it. I sure don't know what makes for a good poem. My favorite poem starts off, "There once was a girl from Nantucket..."
Most of these poems are, well, really bad. Not that many of the stories are all that good, but I know how to "fix" the stories, how to help the fledgling writer make it better. On the poems, I don't even know where to start. I know only a few poets, and I will sometimes refer the sender to those people for help. I try to be honest without crushing them..."I don't know how to make your poem better, but this person might be able to help..." I really don't know what else to do.
BTW, if you're a poet and would like to help people, drop me a note and I'll add you to the list.
And then we have the "interesting letters"...
Shauna kills most of them, but she'll sometimes send one to me. I guess she figures I'll get a laugh out of it. The general form of these letters is something like, "Hey baby, you're so hot! Do you have any naked pictures?"
I usually reply, "Thank you. Yes, I have a lot of naked pictures, some with various toys. You can't have them. Fuck off."
Melodee Aaron, Erotica Romance Author
Melodee's Books at BookStrand