Sunday, January 1, 2012

Grandma was right-- write thank you notes!!

I did a workshop last month because a friend was coordinating it. It was one of those county library things, and she finagled $250 for me. I'd taken some of the POV books and ended up giving them away because I didn't want to carry them home (and I bought 300 copies when they were remaindered, so I have many).  Anyway, here I gave all these attendees books that would have cost them $20, and ran out before one guy got one, so I mailed him one. The book cost me $3, the mailing $5. I received, clearly, very little for having done so, but I am a very nice person. :)
NOT ONE THANKS. Nothing. They all had my email, and didn't bother. Weird. The husband said, "Well, it's because you gave it to them free. Some people don't appreciate anything they don't pay for."
Okay, I am the least diva person you'll find (really- ask Theresa). I don't expect a lot. But I was sort of appalled that no one in this big group of writers thought to send me a thank-you email for a FREE BOOK.
It costs nothing to send a "thank you" email.  You'll get points in heaven, but even beyond that, really-- think ahead. Let's say I give you a free book... or free advice... or a free critique... and never hear from you.  Then you sell a book and want a blurb. Or you want a recommendation to graduate school. Or you want me to do a blog post for you. If I don't associate your name with something pleasant like a thankyou note, how likely do you think a letter of rec is???
This was brought to mind by someone who did send a note, and I'm going to blurt out her triumph as soon as I have some more info. But just in case you're wondering... email LEONA for more info. :)


Meg McNulty said...

So true! I work in fundraising and thanking is what it's all about. The more personal the better. It's how relationships are built. Good advice!

Anonymous said...

Sorry people are ingrates. I bought my copy and love it. In fact, I recommended it to a friend in email just this morning.

Happy New Year!

ClothDragon said...

To put the lack of thank you in the best light...

If they're all in the publishing industry (or wanting to get there) they may have heard no-unnecessary-emails so often that they thought they were doing the nice thing by not flooding your inbox.


Stephanie said...

I want to thank you for writing this blog. Grandma was right and I'm bad about following her advise. You are right about a little thing like a note makes someone smile. My DD does send thank you's for everything and is teaching her son. I must have done something right.

Julie Harrington said...

I'm always surprised by this. I'm a Thank You! kind of person. It was something I was raised with. And when someone goes out of their way to do something for you, it takes but a minute to thank them, and sometimes? Sometimes you just make their day.

I don't understand people who can't even extend the most basic of courtesies. But when they want something? Man, the hand whips out fast enough, doesn't it?

Hopefully you know how much I certainly thank you for all the advice and patience you show on this blog day after day. :)


Shalanna said...

Alicia, I want to thank you for the inspiration and information you provide in your blog/journals. I should have written you a thank-you note for the online class I took several years ago, too. In that class, we all discussed the structure of a novel, and I came away with a far better understanding of WHY I work the way I do and the reasons for various parts of a book. I never thought of writing a thank-you note for it, though.

We did Christmas Eve for family and friends, and so far we haven't received any acknowledgements at all. I do find this a bit rude. But my in-laws told me the year that I married into their family that "we don't do thank-you notes--it's old hat." So perhaps people just have not been taught. My grandmother-in-law continued to send thank-you notes for gifts and visits, despite what the rest of 'em said. (grin) You can't take the South out of the girl.

Society changes its rules, and not always for the better. In this entitlement society, people seem to feel entitled to just about everything and feel grateful for very little. I hope that parents and schools change this trend . . . but I wouldn't hold my breath. All we can do is continue to do the niceties ourselves.

Stay nice, Alicia! It'll make them wonder what you're up to. *grin*

Alicia said...

Thanks, Gina! I think word of mouth and recommendations are the best promo.

Shalanna, that's so true. "Old hat" indeed! I read an article recently where the writer was proclaiming he was done with thank you notes! Turned out he meant only snailmail-- would still email them. (This is why the post office is in trouble. :) Emails are fine, goodness knows. And no one should feel obligated of course.
But it does seem like sort of an easy way to generate goodwill.

That said, I tend not to notice when I don't get one. (This time just surprised me because I did notice when no one bothered.)

I just hope my children have finally absorbed the thank-you note thing without my constant nagging.

Hey, I was asked to do a guest blog about "nagging" (not me particularly-- they have themes every week). Maybe I could talk about nagging people to write thank you notes.


Jenny said...

Just how NON-Diva Alicia is, is shown by the fact that she didn't even mention that her book, The Year She Fell made it into the top 100 Kindle books last week.

It's still on several bestseller lists. You can help KEEP it there by downloading it for a measily $2.29 from Amazon

Edittorrent said...

Jenny, and she probably wouldn't also mention that her books it in that spot a full year after its release. This one has a long tail, for sure.

Alicia, I gave away hundreds of free books at various speaking engagements over the years, and have never once received a thank you afterward. Thanks at the time, yes, but not afterward. I just don't think this is customary.

who can indeed attest that Alicia is far too practical ever to be called a diva

Sharon Kirk Clifton said...

Grandma was right, and so was your husband. How sad it is that people don't value what's offered for free. I learned that early on as a pro storyteller. I tried doing some pro bono shows for what I considered worthwhile charities and not-for-profits. As a result, I do very few free shows now, and if I do, I send and have them sign a contract. That way, they see what I would normally charge for that show. After the figure, I type "Fee Waived, pro bono." It's sad to have to do that.

Oh, by the way, thank you for this excellent reminder.

Sharon Kirk Clifton
Writer and Raconteur

Wes said...

I bought your book a couple years ago AND thanked you. I recommend it to people too.



Wes said...

A major agent gave me constructive criticism along with her rejection. I sent her a thank-you note, and amazingly, she thanked me for thanking her.