Why I Personally Respond to My Readers

I get this all the time: people remind me I only get 35 cents for each book I sell, and want to know why I take the time to personally respond to emails and website comments. My answer is always the same:

It’s good manners!

Folks tell me I should use an auto-responder or hire a secretary to do it. They say, “How can you afford to answer emails?” My response: “What does book income have to do with answering emails? No one’s paying my readers to write to me!  Isn’t their time as valuable as mine? –Of course it is!”

When you read my book and take the time to click onto my website and leave your name and email address, and tell me you loved my book—how could I not thank you? You paid money to read my book! You gave up your time to read it! That’s a gift of time you’ll never get back.

Do most people not understand this?  Out of every single thing in the world you could have done today, you chose to spend those precious hours of your life reading my book?

It’s the most incredible honor in the world!

Bless your heart!  I’m so humbled I don’t even know how to properly thank you! Is someone going to sit there and tell me my readers don’t deserve a couple minutes of my flippin’ time to thank them for what they’ve done for me? My readers aren’t an interruption of my time. They’re the purpose for it!



About John Locke

The New York Times Best Selling Author Amazon Kindle Million Club Author John Locke has sold more than 1,000,000 eBooks by word of mouth! As an international best-selling author of ten books, every novel John Locke has written has made the Amazon/Kindle Best Seller’s List. Every seven seconds, twenty-four hours a day, a John Locke novel is downloaded somewhere in the world. Donovan Creed Series: Lethal People Lethal Experiment Saving Rachel Now & Then Wish List A Girl Like You Vegas Moon Emmett Love Westerns: Follow the Stone Don't Poke the Bear! How I Sold 1 Million eBooks in 5 Months!
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26 Responses to Why I Personally Respond to My Readers

  1. I’m the same way. If someone is kind enough to respond to my book, I think I owe them the acknowledgment.

    Besides, I didn’t become a writer to get rich, and so far the plan is working.

    Dr. B, author, “The Mandolin Case”

  2. Sheena Hastie says:

    John I was so excited when you replied to my email! I thought it was wonderful. I told my family and friends lol. I knew that it was a personal touch as you mentioned something in there that i had mentioned in my email to you, and if it was just an automated response then that wouldnt have been said. It means a lot more to the reader to get a personal response from you. It does to me anyway.

    What i dont understand is why you only get 35cents for each book?! They are worth so much more! Also just off the subject, i can not find your books in the library or in book stores. Saving Rachel was one of the best books i have ever read and i feel that the whole world should have access to reading it. I have recommended it to others but they cant read it cos they cant find it 😦 It’s such a shame.

  3. Quite right. Where would we be without readers? I love hearing from them, and only wish I hadn’t been too afraid of bothering her to write to my favourite author before she died. I know now my letter would have given her a few minutes’ pleasure.

  4. It’s great to know that (some) top writers still take the time to acknowledge the people who got them there. I’m sure it’s time consuming, but I see it as a means of maintaining a good public image. I hope one day to find out for myself. Right now, responding to my fan mail doesn’t take much time at all! 🙂

  5. howard says:

    i new after your first book u and i had a special connection and to some it up in a few words its humility and honesty and that is how i tried to live my life. today its seems harder and harder to find thanks for this chance to share this u are a special man

  6. Beverly says:

    The first book I read was The Wish List. I love it and couldn’t believe how much I paid for such a fun read.
    I told my friend to check you out, she did, and now we are both fans and love Donovan Creed. We have both since ordered and read the entire series and hope you continue to write about him.
    When I tell people about your books, I get nothing back but thanks from eveyone. So John, thank you for a great read, I have never enjoyed any series more. You have a rare talent. You play with my emothions through an entire book and you do it better than most authors I have read to date.
    I am a real fan, I will contine to look for your books.

  7. Linda says:

    Rock on John! Your books are definitely a good read; they’re awesome, actually. It says a lot about you when you take that time to respond to us — your readers — to show your appreciation. You keep adding that personal touch.

  8. Sharon Schech says:

    Good God!! You are what we would call a “gentleman”. Good manners=Class

    Thank you for having an overabundance of this trait. If only we could bottle them. The world is in short supply in many ways.

    I have purchased ALL of the Donovan Creed novels. Have read three and I am HOOKED. I’ve gone back to re-read the first three so I don’t finish too soon. It’s like a great meal. I don’t want it to end.

    Thank you for taking the time to first write these books and then taking the time to appreciate your fans. I know this is why you have such a loyal following.

    OOU–or Sharon as everyone else calls me

  9. I can’t tell you how refreshing this is. Authors to me are celebrities. The few times I did take the time to contact an author, and they happened to respond to me, I SQUEALED in glee. It is such a special thing when authors get close to their readers.

    But here is what really bugged me. My 8 year old son sent an email to his favorite author telling him how he inspired him to write. He worked on his own “novel” for 8 months and couldn’t wait to tell his favorite author he had completed it. Everyday he would ask me if [unnamed author] sent a response. No response. He waited some more. No response. To me this was particularly heartbreaking.

  10. Sharon says:

    It is so awesome that you care so much about your readers! Every time I get a response from you, I feel like I’m on top of the world. I tell my friends, my family and it makes reading your books that much more special. Thank you, so much for taking the time. I am so appreciative of your responses, as I’m sure all of your other fans are!

  11. Ken Jackson says:


    Well said. Too many get caught up in the experience and forget who got them there in the first place. You recognize that fact. I have thoroughly enjoyed everything I have so far and look forward to the next one as soon as I finish the one I am reading.

    Many thanks for sharing.


  12. Hi John
    I noticed that about you when you responded to a comment I made to your guest post on JA Konrath’s blog. You immediately gained my respect.

    Like yours, my background is in the business world and I’ve been closely following your approach to marketing. I completely agree that it’s all about the readers. Nothing is more flattering than having someone invest the time to read something you wrote.

    I’m just about to start reading Wish List and really looking forward to it.

  13. Stacy says:

    I love your books and you know that, I cant tell you how impressed I am when you reply to me and so quickly. I can’t wait till each book comes out.

    I was listening to the radio and I dont know if you know her or heard of her, but the show is called the Kim Kommando show, she just happened to mention how well your books sell on Amazon.

    Now I kind of have a stupid question, I love your books, know my brother would too, but he hates the ereaders, are your books published in paperback?

    Love you to pieces,
    Stacy Coates

  14. kim says:

    As a reader, I know how much joy and laughter you have given me. The fact you emailed me and responded personally to a comment I made was also humbling. Your time and dedication, as well as your honesty have made me appreciate your work even more! Thank you for bringing me into the world of your characters and sharing your inspiration and good manners. Continued success from a faithful fan.

  15. Maggie says:

    I have appreciated your correspondences and hope you continue. I am waiting for the next one saying a new Donovan is just about ready – so get those fingers working – WINK

  16. Michelle Bower says:

    I think it’s awesome that you write to us readers personally. You are only the second author that has ever done that with me & I have both responses printed out & I’ve kept them because it meant so much. I think it’s exciting & thoughtful for an author to do this, & it makes the reader feel special plus… it makes me just want to keep on reading & supporting you all the more because you took the time out of your busy life to send a friendly note. Thanks so much!!!

  17. Alice Feldman says:

    Dear John,
    Thank you for thanking us. I believe I was hooked on your quirky killer in Saving Rachel. However since I read all your publishing , I can’t be sure that was the first one.
    At any rate, although I greatly appreciate the personal touch I don’t want you to take time away from writing more stories!
    Keep up the tales, we’re hungry for more.
    Alice Feldman

  18. Helen Benoit says:

    Music is just notes on paper until it is played. Then it is heard by many and becomes part of their lives for the moment or perhaps for ever. An author puts words on paper, not for self gratification but to give them life; so that they too can part of the living world.
    You give life to characters and environments that until they were put on paper, existed only in your mind. Then with generosity and hope, you share those intimate creations with others; allowing their minds into yours. For those of like minds it becomes a pleasant reciprocal relationship. The author thanks us for entering his world and the reader thanks the author for sharing his.
    Thank you, for trusting us and for the acknowledgment of our mutual relationship.

  19. Kelly Bolton says:

    Hi John

    I reeived a personal response from you. At first I didn’t believe it was really you, but soon came to realize that it really was you! I appreciated that more than you’ll know. I’ve read all your books and eagerly look forward to more. I recommend them to everyone I talk to.

    Thanks again,

    Your friend Kelly

  20. Tabitha says:


    I too was very surprised and happy to receive a personal response to my email that I had sent to you. I have been telling my friends and family about you also and how I was very pleased that you actually responded to my email. Last we emailed I had started reading Saving Rachel and now I am almost done with Wish List. Thank you for writing for us and making your books affordable on the Kindle.


  21. Vickie says:

    Love your books…I had only read a couple of yours until I got my Kindle (thanks honey)
    Now I want to read everything that comes out of your head!! Thanks and keep up the good work

    Vickie 🙂

  22. Tony Woodall says:

    Thanks for writing to me. I have never had an author reply personally. I enjoyed your books and will continue to look for them and read them when they come out.

    It’s all about Customer Service.

  23. Tara S. says:

    Hi John!

    I also was very pleasantly surprised by your personal response to my email. I actually went to my husband and mother and said: “ooooo you’re gonna be jealous…*I* received a *personal* email from my favorite author today!” they were laughing at me for a good 5 minutes 🙂

    Thank you again for replying and I am very much looking forward to the next Creed book. I like him so much I kinda wish he was real! Lol



  24. Hayley says:

    Mr. Locke,
    You are not only a wonderfully gifted author you are also an incredible person! Your great attitude makes me love and appreciate your work even more. Definately my new favorite author!!!

    Thank you!

  25. Lawrence says:

    I downloaded all of your books in one night and finished them a week later…great read…great characters and I think I spotted Callie the other day in Kalgoorlie Western Australia ! Keep up the great work which adds a bit of escapism to our lives…..right back to Kalgoorlie to look for gold…..
    Best wishes….Lawrence ….Perth West Australia

  26. uranturaver says:

    I really liked what you did with your 99 cents book, your article on Michael J Fox was heartfelt as I have a good friend fighting cancer and her strength & courage have astounded me. Your blog on Michael really explained this well.
    I’m also about to publish a book & it’s great to see how you went outside the ‘norm’ and published the way you did. Very inspiring and great to know that that so called ‘experts’ don’t always know what’s a great read (or not).
    All the very best, Uranturaver & @cassykindly

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