Shaking out the mailbag

Today’s post empties my email bag… the handwritten stuff is almost finished, too. I’ll be spending most of Saturday at the Sectionals swim meet in Syracuse, and I’ll bring what’s not done with me to finish there. Be sure to read the first letter (below), because I want the opinions of you guys who visit this LJ regularly.

Today’s interesting article about language growth.

Max writes: Hey! I had what I thought was a really good idea. I was reading back on your journal entries, because I haven’t been online in a couple of days, and I first read your most recent entry about what advice you would give to teens, then I scrolled down to read about your AIM chat with your daughters, and the idea hit me! I think it would be awesome if you created a screen name specifically for the website, like writerlady, and put together chats for all of your fans and the people that you inspire to come and chat with you and ask those questions! I’m not sure how much you like this idea, but I think it would be awesome to actually get to chat to you like all of us are on a phone call!

Good to hear from you again, Max! I have mixed feelings about your suggestion. It is a terrific one, and it uses technology, which I like. But I am feeling very pressed for time these days, what with deadlines and road trips coming up. What if we set up a message board so readers could communicate with each other? Check out Neil Gaiman’s board and tell me what you think.

Jenn writes: I have a question about publishing. I am in the process of writing a poetry novel. I want to try to get it published when it is finished but I don’t know how/where to start that whole process. Can you give me some advice?

The best advice I have is to go to a library and ask the librarian to help you find books about the publishing process.

“Melinda-twin” writes: I loved the book speak. Im 15 and my life seems almost like Melindas. I got the site from the book in class! Ha! I thought it was weird… me and Melinda had the same freshman year thing! I had an art teacher I liked more than my others. My English teacher is a Hairwoman.. and my american history teacher….is a mr. neck! I dont really have spanish but i hear she only talks in spanish like melindas! I am suicidal sorta like Melinda.. But she only really tried once.. Im a repetitive suicidal girl. I havnt been raped but some of my old friends… (mostly goths) just dont like me. Me and my mom dont talk… when we do its about the weather. (ha!) I had a friend like Heather.. but she didnt snub me off for some other clan.. her name was Julie…. But i have a friend named heather! not from ohio though! it would be awkwardly funny wouldnt it?! Before I make this horribly long.. I just want to say that I love the book!

I am really glad you’re joining us here! And I hope, more than anything, that my books can help you see that high school does not equal life… and that things will get better. Be strong!

Naomi writes: First of all I would like to start off by saying that I thought Speak was an awesome book and I think you did a great job on it! I read your book for a book report that we recently had to do in English class. It was a multi-genre book review and for one of my genres I wrote a short story. I pretty much shortened your story for a quick read review. Recently I was looking for some scholarship ideas and I found a scholarship where you write a young adult short story to apply. I am very proud of my short story and was wondering if I could submit the story inspired by your story. My version has some different events and the people’s names aren’t the same but I figured I should ask your permission before I entered it. Please get back to me as soon as possible as there is a deadline to this opportunity. If you would like to read my story I would love that also and would be more than happy to e-mail it to you!

Go ahead and enter the story. It would make me very happy (and be ethical) to mention in the title that the story was inspired by my book. That way the judges won’t think you’re ripping it off. I wish I had time to read it, but I am drowning here. Let me know how the scholarship goes.

38 Replies to “Shaking out the mailbag”

  1. Message boards and communication

    I think a message board would be a very excellant idea. Many other authors have this featured link on their sites and it seems to work out very well for everyone.

    As for a chat- that would be a big bonus for your fans who are into that kind of thing as long as you could maybe schedule it just as you do all of your other official business.

    This way YOU would be able to HAVE the hour or two of time needed for this WITHIN your schedule and still be able to handle actual writing of your WIP, family obligations, etc…(instead of having this kind of thing slowing you down from all of the same everyday needs.)

    Perhaps scheduling a chat once a month for now on an experimental basis could keep chat-hungry fans happy and also help with your current hectic scheduling problem.

  2. Message boards and communication

    I think a message board would be a very excellant idea. Many other authors have this featured link on their sites and it seems to work out very well for everyone.

    As for a chat- that would be a big bonus for your fans who are into that kind of thing as long as you could maybe schedule it just as you do all of your other official business.

    This way YOU would be able to HAVE the hour or two of time needed for this WITHIN your schedule and still be able to handle actual writing of your WIP, family obligations, etc…(instead of having this kind of thing slowing you down from all of the same everyday needs.)

    Perhaps scheduling a chat once a month for now on an experimental basis could keep chat-hungry fans happy and also help with your current hectic scheduling problem.

  3. “Melinda Twin” mentions that she is suicidal. I hope your personal reply to her encouraged her to get help right away. That sounds pretty serious.

  4. “Melinda Twin” mentions that she is suicidal. I hope your personal reply to her encouraged her to get help right away. That sounds pretty serious.

  5. A message board would be awesome!!

    You could do one of those like aol chats? Set up a time for like an hour… maybe not, I don’t know, you may be too busy for that, I don’t want to sound overly opinionated…

  6. A message board would be awesome!!

    You could do one of those like aol chats? Set up a time for like an hour… maybe not, I don’t know, you may be too busy for that, I don’t want to sound overly opinionated…

  7. While chats seem like a great idea in theory, they can get really hectic when too many people are in them so I don’t know how well that would work.

    A message board or forum, however, is something I’d really love for you to have =]

  8. While chats seem like a great idea in theory, they can get really hectic when too many people are in them so I don’t know how well that would work.

    A message board or forum, however, is something I’d really love for you to have =]

  9. Message Boards

    Hey! It’s Max! I am so glad you like the idea of communicating with your fans and letting them communicate and share there opinions! I was actually thinking of a forum that you could make! I have some suggestions if you want, I go to a lot of forums, and I suggest InvisionFree (www.invisionfree.com) as your board host! They are excellent and provide excellent support! You can even get a domain if you want, but you have to pay for that. Anyways, I am glad you like my idea, and if you need any help setting up the forum, I will be happy to help!

    Max

  10. Message Boards

    Hey! It’s Max! I am so glad you like the idea of communicating with your fans and letting them communicate and share there opinions! I was actually thinking of a forum that you could make! I have some suggestions if you want, I go to a lot of forums, and I suggest InvisionFree (www.invisionfree.com) as your board host! They are excellent and provide excellent support! You can even get a domain if you want, but you have to pay for that. Anyways, I am glad you like my idea, and if you need any help setting up the forum, I will be happy to help!

    Max

  11. hey ma, how are you? just thought id tell you…
    in my english class we are studying writing journals, and i told my teacher about your website and journal, and that i knew you. she almost fell on the floor with excitement. she teaches a course on YA lit and was telling me about how Speak is always the favorite. so i just thought id drop you a line and hopefully make your day!

  12. hey ma, how are you? just thought id tell you…
    in my english class we are studying writing journals, and i told my teacher about your website and journal, and that i knew you. she almost fell on the floor with excitement. she teaches a course on YA lit and was telling me about how Speak is always the favorite. so i just thought id drop you a line and hopefully make your day!

    1. Hi sweetie!! I hope school is going well. Tell you teacher to drop by here on the LJ. I also gave Mer a message for you.

      It always makes my day to hear from you.

  13. Hi sweetie!! I hope school is going well. Tell you teacher to drop by here on the LJ. I also gave Mer a message for you.

    It always makes my day to hear from you.

  14. Wow. A message forum sounds fun.. But at the same time, it just sounds like another little thing you’d have to look after. It’s totally up to you, but be careful. I’ve seen many message boards gone bad.

    Julia j.

  15. Wow. A message forum sounds fun.. But at the same time, it just sounds like another little thing you’d have to look after. It’s totally up to you, but be careful. I’ve seen many message boards gone bad.

    Julia j.

  16. you should really really do a message board it would be so good and so much fun! I’m on Meg Cabot’s all the time! Oh in my English class we’re going to read Othello by Shakespeare have you read it? I don’t really know what to think of it but I hope it’s good. Did you finish reading Jonathen Strange nd Mr. Norrel? what did you think? will you be getting to answer the rest of the teen writer questions. Well as you might be able to tell I’m at peace with the world right now this perhaps has something to do with the fact that I have been promised a trip to the bookstore hmm…… I wonder what I should get any suggestions?

  17. you should really really do a message board it would be so good and so much fun! I’m on Meg Cabot’s all the time! Oh in my English class we’re going to read Othello by Shakespeare have you read it? I don’t really know what to think of it but I hope it’s good. Did you finish reading Jonathen Strange nd Mr. Norrel? what did you think? will you be getting to answer the rest of the teen writer questions. Well as you might be able to tell I’m at peace with the world right now this perhaps has something to do with the fact that I have been promised a trip to the bookstore hmm…… I wonder what I should get any suggestions?

  18. A bit of cold water from the webmaster guy: It may be worth it to set up a community of people who share interest in LHA. If you set up a forum, though, you expose your site to two sources of major aggravation–trolls and spiders.

    The trolls are well-known. These are the people who haunt message boards causing flame wars and other ugliness. Having moderators to constantly control this behavior is a necessity. A subspecies of the troll is the Spam troll, a lower life form that posts off-topic with links to other websites, usualy set up to sell Viagra and mortgages.

    Spiders are less well-known but are a bigger threat. Some of the spiders automatically enroll on your site and set up automatic posting. Most of the auto posts are like those left by Spam trolls, but they happen more frequently. Other spiders bombard your forum software looking for security holes. Even if they don’t find a hole, they drain your server of resources and increase bandwidth. I gave up and removed the forum from the ALAN site for this reason.

    Don’t mean to be a killjoy. Just wanted to give you soemthing to consider.

  19. A bit of cold water from the webmaster guy: It may be worth it to set up a community of people who share interest in LHA. If you set up a forum, though, you expose your site to two sources of major aggravation–trolls and spiders.

    The trolls are well-known. These are the people who haunt message boards causing flame wars and other ugliness. Having moderators to constantly control this behavior is a necessity. A subspecies of the troll is the Spam troll, a lower life form that posts off-topic with links to other websites, usualy set up to sell Viagra and mortgages.

    Spiders are less well-known but are a bigger threat. Some of the spiders automatically enroll on your site and set up automatic posting. Most of the auto posts are like those left by Spam trolls, but they happen more frequently. Other spiders bombard your forum software looking for security holes. Even if they don’t find a hole, they drain your server of resources and increase bandwidth. I gave up and removed the forum from the ALAN site for this reason.

    Don’t mean to be a killjoy. Just wanted to give you soemthing to consider.

  20. Yes, the person above does make a good point! Boards should have Mods there at all times, and there is always a chance of having your board or website hacked! It could happen to anyone though, so everyone is taking equal risks! I think you should still go for it, it would be a lot of fun, and if there are any problems, you either warn members, or ban them by IP address! I hope you do set one up, because I can’t wait to start posting my opinion on all of your books! Also, to expand, SPAM stands for Stupid Pointless Annoying Message, and it is what the above user said, off topic and usually an advertisement, or it is on topic but does not contribute to the conversation! A lot of people SPAM, some people might be used to it, but you can always set up rules that will let members know that your forums don’t support SPAMing! I suggest a chat-box, that usually gets the SPAM out…but then there are stupid bashers that come on and right evil messages…lol…well too many problems to list, but so many benefits that they overcome the problems!!!

  21. Yes, the person above does make a good point! Boards should have Mods there at all times, and there is always a chance of having your board or website hacked! It could happen to anyone though, so everyone is taking equal risks! I think you should still go for it, it would be a lot of fun, and if there are any problems, you either warn members, or ban them by IP address! I hope you do set one up, because I can’t wait to start posting my opinion on all of your books! Also, to expand, SPAM stands for Stupid Pointless Annoying Message, and it is what the above user said, off topic and usually an advertisement, or it is on topic but does not contribute to the conversation! A lot of people SPAM, some people might be used to it, but you can always set up rules that will let members know that your forums don’t support SPAMing! I suggest a chat-box, that usually gets the SPAM out…but then there are stupid bashers that come on and right evil messages…lol…well too many problems to list, but so many benefits that they overcome the problems!!!

  22. message board

    I think the message board would be a cool idea. If fans have a question, they could post and talk to each other. It would free up more time than IM chats would. You could always add an IM chat feature later, if you wanted to.

  23. message board

    I think the message board would be a cool idea. If fans have a question, they could post and talk to each other. It would free up more time than IM chats would. You could always add an IM chat feature later, if you wanted to.

  24. Message Board

    A message board sounds like a really good idea.
    If you are going to do that, then you’re going to need moderators to help keep the forum under control. A lot of forums I go would be crazy with moderators.

  25. Message Board

    A message board sounds like a really good idea.
    If you are going to do that, then you’re going to need moderators to help keep the forum under control. A lot of forums I go would be crazy with moderators.

  26. I loved your books Speak and Fever. I have read Speak about 5 times and seen the Lifetime movie (which doesn’t do justice to your wonderful work). I just wanted to tell you last year during freshmen year I wrote a story inspired by yours. I even mentioned your book in the short story as a piece of irony. I never got the motivation to actually buy and read your other stories of Prom (which I’ve seen at my local library) and Catalyst. But now (well, after I finish Jane Eyre, Farewell to Manzanar, and Cat’s Cradle), I think I will. I just want to tell you that my hope when I get to college I want to major in Creative Writing/English and eventually get a job as an editor. If you ever need one…ask for me!! 🙂 Just kidding. Keep up the amazing work and never let anyone tell you any different.

  27. I loved your books Speak and Fever. I have read Speak about 5 times and seen the Lifetime movie (which doesn’t do justice to your wonderful work). I just wanted to tell you last year during freshmen year I wrote a story inspired by yours. I even mentioned your book in the short story as a piece of irony. I never got the motivation to actually buy and read your other stories of Prom (which I’ve seen at my local library) and Catalyst. But now (well, after I finish Jane Eyre, Farewell to Manzanar, and Cat’s Cradle), I think I will. I just want to tell you that my hope when I get to college I want to major in Creative Writing/English and eventually get a job as an editor. If you ever need one…ask for me!! 🙂 Just kidding. Keep up the amazing work and never let anyone tell you any different.

    1. Re: Wil Wheaton plugged your books on his website!

      This is very, very cool because I am a MAJOR Star Trek fangrrl.

      Thank you so much for telling me about this!!!!

  28. Re: Wil Wheaton plugged your books on his website!

    This is very, very cool because I am a MAJOR Star Trek fangrrl.

    Thank you so much for telling me about this!!!!

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