I received a fan letter yesterday. It’s not my first, but the others were regular letters from fans (what do you mean, of course I have fans..!), whereas this is a letter to the fan. Me.
“An open letter to the Bookwitch on the occasion of her fourth birthday.
It is nigh-on impossible to believe that only four short years ago you were a mere civilian witch, ‘my stalker’, as I fondly named you all those years ago when the thought of a person who was not a member of my immediate family travelling all the way from Stockport to hear me speak actually frightened me a little.
I don’t remember when the subject of blogging came up, whether it was on that day or sometime later. But it did come up – clearly anyone with as expansive, informed and passionate an interest in YA books was wasted as a mere reader.
Since that day, you have developed a vast appreciative following, acquired a reputation as a reviewer with the world’s driest sense of humour, and attracted a mountain of books from publishers jostling for your approval. Your interviews are legendary, ditto the witchling’s literary portraits. You have predicted the outcomes of any number of awards (frequently incorrectly, but who else manages to read through so many shortlists?) You have read the books we all know we should read, and guided us in directions fresh and new and important.
In short, you have become indispensible.
As I enumerate these many excellent qualities, I can not help but take credit for having landed you a four year, full-time, unpaid job, without overtime compensation or holiday leave, a job that has undoubtedly cost you a fortune in unreimbursed expenses, destroyed your family life, consumed far too many late nights and early mornings, and filled every room of your house with unbound proofs of dubious quality. Where once you were merely a joyous, carefree reader, you are now a professional blogger, weighed down with responsibility, behind on your deadlines, slave to your daily readership stats, doomed to devote the best years of your life to feeding your public’s insatiable hunger for words.
I hope you will find it in your heart to forgive me.
Yours, with affection, admiration and remorse,