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Open Letter to An Author

Kim Ukura

Staff Writer

Kim Ukura is a book lover, recovering journalist, library advocate, cat mom, and lover of a good gin cocktail. In addition to co-hosting Book Riot’s nonfiction podcast, For Real, and co-editing Book Riot’s nonfiction newsletter, True Story, Kim spends her days working in communications at a county library system in the Twin Cities area. Kim has a BA in English and journalism from a small liberal arts college in Minnesota, and a master’s in journalism from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. When not getting to bed before 10 p.m., Kim loves to read nonfiction, do needlework projects, drink tea, and watch the Great British Baking Show. Instagram: @kimthedork Twitter: @kimthedork

Dear Author,

I’m writing because I wanted to say thank you.

I know that we haven’t always gotten along. Sometimes, you say things that make me shake my head. Sometimes, you aren’t all that nice to the people who write about your books. And sometimes you write a book that just doesn’t seem to work for me. I hope you aren’t offended that, at those times, I opt to put your book aside for one that is working better.

But Author, I’m not writing this open letter because I want to think about the bad times. I’m writing because I want to thank you for the good times. I want to thank you for the books that made me think and for the books that made me smile. There have been books that made me laugh out loud, and even more that have made me cry. Those books, your books, dear Author, have left marks.

Most recently, there have been the books that just made me feel grateful. This isn’t something I experience all the time. Often, I finish a book and immediately start to think about what I’m going to read next. I jot down a couple of final thoughts about the finished book in my notebook and start scanning my shelves for my next reading fix. It’s a fast-paced reading life, but I do love it so much.

The last couple of books I’ve read, Author, haven’t been like that. I’ve closed the last page and just paused for awhile, settling in with a feeling of being deeply and profoundly thankful that you took the time to write this book. I’m grateful that you put yourself out there through your words, sharing a deep and profound experience of your own or of another character. I’m grateful that of all the books I could have read, your book managed to make it through the whole publishing-industrial complex and into my hands. I’m grateful that I was able to make the time to read your book, Author, and that it touched me so profoundly.

You don’t really know me, Author. I don’t often reach out to you to tell you personally about how much I loved your book. Meeting you and talking to you always make me feel like an awkward, tongue-tied, 12-year-old girl. But I still wanted to find a way to say thank you, to let you (and all of your Author friends) know that your work is valued. Your books, whatever the subject, have an audience somewhere. When that magical confluence of the right reader finding the right book at the right time happens, your book will be read by someone who will feel forever grateful to have experienced it.

That’s pretty awesome, and I just wanted to say thanks.

Most sincerely,