Concerning Fanmail #3

So a couple months ago, I unlocked another achievement in the great sandbox videogame that is my life.

Specifically, I hit 10,000 pieces of fanmail.

fanmail_10kWhile I occasionally answer questions people send me, or post quotes from letters up on facebook, I haven’t actually written anything about fanmail itself since…

*Pat goes to check the archives*

Wow. Since five years ago. I did two blogs back then. One talking about fanmail in general. And another giving some memorable quotes.

Back in October of 2008, I’d just hit 1500 pieces of fanmail. I was pretty sure it was impossible to get any more mail than that.

Back then, I made a point of answering every piece of fanmail. It’s something I put a lot of effort into, and a lot of time. It was really important to me…

Fast forward to today.

For those of you that are into the specifics, I should clarify that this 10,000 mark is kinda arbitrary. I’m only counting messages that come to me through my website’s contact form. (Right now, because it’s taken me a couple months to write this blog, that total is standing at closer to 12,000 messages.)

That total doesn’t count people who e-mail me multiple times. Folks that contact me through other channels, or messages sent to me through facebook, goodreads, or good old-fashioned paper letters.


Here’s several hundred RL letters that have been sent over the years. I don’t know if it’s weird for me to keep them, but throwing them away seems unspeakable awful.

I’m guessing that if I totaled up all these varied instances of epistolary perspicacity, it would be somewhere closer to 20,000 pieces of mail.

Back in 2008, I wrote:

Fanmail is great. There have been occasional exceptions to this, like the guy who sent me a message saying that he hoped a dog would bite me on the nuts. But even that made me laugh.

This is still true today. The vast majority of fanmail I get is friendly, witty, touching, or funny. People send me useful info. People tell me stories of how my book has impacted their lives.

Here’s one I got a while back:

Your books have given me a way of communicating with a teenage son who has now metamorphosed from a complete alien to a fine young man.

As a dad myself, I can hardly think of a nicer thing to hear.

Unless it’s something like this:

I would forever live with a small piece of my heart unfulfilled had I not met Kvothe.

I have hundreds of these little snippets from messages my readers have sent me. I hoard them like treasure. Sometimes the best part of my day is a short message someone has sent me. Sometimes it’s a 15 year old girl from Brazil. Sometimes it’s a 70 year old grandmother in Virginia.

But I won’t lie to you. It’s not all good…

*      *      *

Here’s the thing. I used to respond to every piece of fanmail. Even if it was just a brief note. Even if it took me months to get the message out.

Not responding never really occurred to me at first. After all, a lot of these people had written elaborate letters, or said really touching things. Not responding would have felt unspeakably rude….

But eventually I had to give it up. If the reason isn’t obvious, here’s a visual aid to drive the point home….


That’s a screen capture from my sent items folder back in 2008. If you embiggen it, it paints a grim picture of what my day was like.

So I stopped replying to everyone. It was a slow decline. At first I still replied to most of them. Then half. Then maybe a third. These days it’s dwindled to about one in ten, and even those replies are usually brief.

But the truth is, I never decided to cut back. It’s nothing I ever wanted or deliberately chose to do. It’s something I was forced into because there simply weren’t enough hours in the day. And honestly, I still feel guilty about it.

My one consolation was that I still make a point of reading all my fanmail. On facebook. On goodreads. I read it all.

Well, that’s not entirely true. Sometimes I would get a 4000 word message. Those I skim.

But I’m guessing that the math-savvy among you can see the problem looming, can’t you?

Let’s say I can read each message in just one minute. One minute x 20,000 e-mails ends up being well over 300 hours.

That means just to read that many messages takes me two months of full-time work. That’s assuming every day I did nothing but read e-mail for 8 hours.

That doesn’t count the time it might take me to occasionally respond to a message. Or reading the messages that are more than just 60-70 words long. Many of them are 200-300 words. About as much text as page in a paperback novel.

A more realistic estimate would probably be that it takes me 2-3 minutes on average to read a message.

That means that since 2007, I’ve spent between four and six months of full-time work reading messages people have sent me.

God. I’ve honestly never done that math before. I knew it was a huge chunk of time, but not that much. That’s fucking horrifying.

Because that doesn’t take into account me *replying* to messages or actually taking care of the rest of my daily e-mail. And I get a shit-ton of that, too.

I guess it does make me feel a little better about this though:

outlook screen grab

(Yes. I use an archaic e-mail program. Don’t judge me.)

Let’s ignore the 100+ regular unread messages. And the flashing danger light that is more than 100 unread messages deliberately tucked into a folder called “Important.”

Circled in red, you can see that I’ve got more than 300 unread pieces of reader mail. I’m terribly behind.

And that’s not counting Goodreads:

Good Reads

There’s 80 unread messages piled up there.

My facebook fan page has another 250….

messages tab FB

And that’s *despite* the fact that I’ve pointedly mentioned that it’s a bad place to contact me.

I’d also like to point out that these aren’t a year’s worth of messages. It’s just these last couple months where things have really started to spiral out of my control…

Here’s the worst of it:


The stack of unread letters. 50 or 60 of them from all over the world. Probably half a year’s worth. People WROTE these on real paper. They paid money to mail them to me. These are tangible acts of affection, and I’ve been too busy to give them the time they deserve.

And I feel awful about it. All the time.

I was keeping up pretty well until a couple months ago. I jump in occasionally and prune the online messages back…. but it’s like kudzu…

No. That’s not right. Because I’ll say it again, the vast majority of these messages are friendly, or heartwarming, or delightfully eccentric.

Dear Pat,

I admitted to my boyfriend that his only real competition is Kvothe only to have him admit that my only real competition is Kvothe too. I’m simultaneously flattered that only Kvothe can outshine me and impressed that my boyfriend’s sexuality is now under question due to a couple of words you put together.

Though occasionally there are other types of messages….

But I don’t know if I want to get into that. I don’t know if y’all would be interested in hearing about the other kind of messages people send.

On to my point–

Creft. What is my point here? I don’t know anymore. When I started writing this blog hours ago, I really didn’t expect it to get as long as this.

I think these are my points:

1. Part of this is just bitching a little. I’ll cop to that.

And while I’m well aware that it’s hard to get more first-world-problem than: “Oh noes! I have too many fanmails!” the truth is that this *is* my blog. I’m allowed to kvetch a little if I want.

2. Much more than that, this is a blanket explanation and apology to everyone who has e-mailed me and never received a reply.

I am sorry. I wish I had all the time in the world so I could e-mail you back and thank you for taking the time to drop me a line. I wish we could all have lunch together and hang out and talk about fun, useless bullshit all afternoon.

3. I want y’all to know that even if I haven’t replied, I have read your e-mail, your message, your letter, your postcard, your engraved clay tablet, your origami crane, your smoke signal, your telepathic space beam.

I have these missives and appreciated them. They have made me smile and they have made me weepy. They have made me feel proud, and loved, and very, very lucky.

That said, things will have to change soon. I’m not sure *how* they will change, but I need to find a way to keep more time for myself while not feeling hellishly guilty about being selfish for keeping time to myself. This is a hard thing for me.

Until I say otherwise, know that I’m still reading your messages.




This entry was posted in a few words you're probably going to have to look up, Achievement Unlocked!, fanmail, Surreal enthusiasm, Things I didn't know about publishing, things I shouldn't talk about. By Pat94 Responses


  1. jimmyb
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:51 AM | Permalink

    Hey Pat

    Do you have no idea how busy I am?? I haven’t got time to be reading such a long blog post as this!! I have to wash my beard at least once this month, i might have to postpone that to November now.

    …and linking to two older blog posts that i hadn’t previously seen – well that’s just rude, I won’t have time to wash my children’s beards now either.

    Maybe in future we should all just mind meld in a big hairy gelatinous ball of huggyness.

    love and kisses x

    fwiw – days with a blog update are the BEST of days!

  2. Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,
    in addition to fanmail, you also get a lot of blog comments to read… Thank you for reading all those messages, hopefully you’ll find a good solution to reduce the time impact.
    Congratulations on the 10k fan mail achievement! By the way, having a page with all your achievements would be awesome (although, I guess searching for “achievement unlocked!” might do the trick).
    Oh and I just noticed that you are giving a NaNoWriMo pep talk this year – can’t wait to read that!
    All the best,

    • Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:45 AM | Permalink

      Yeah. We’re hoping to do something like that when we update the website.

  3. Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:10 AM | Permalink

    “Though occasionally there are other types of messages….

    But I don’t know if I want to get into that. I don’t know if y’all would be interested in hearing about the other kind of messages people send.”

    Har man sagt A får man säga B, sen får man C vad D E.
    Loosely translated: You have to finish what you started.
    Verbatim: If you’ve say A, then u have to say B, then we’ll C what that is.

    Conclusion: I’m interested in that other kind of messages!

    • eldrelore
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 2:45 PM | Permalink

      I’m not. I can totally imagine what they sort of message they are. The wouldn’t be the funny outrageous ones. Those make him laugh.

      It is most likely the repetitive complaints. Possibly joking or teasingly well intentioned. But when arriving in a constant susurrus of demand would be nearly vampiric. I’m sure there are blatant attacks that don’t manage to be funny. Some possibly even dangerous. I suspect even those thought provoking ideas that could be a very civil and interesting discussion in person are too draining to contemplate when swamped in email that is eating the time of your life away.

      If he needs to get it off his chest, then here is a safe place for him. Well, as safe as the internet ever is. Which might not be very safe at all really.

      But if not, then I see no reason to ask him to relive them.

      • Posted October 12, 2013 at 4:13 AM | Permalink

        That’s true, I’m guess I was pretty naive and I believe u are right. I am withdrawing my wish. Although I believe that if u say something along the lines “something boring happened”, you ought to give a short explanation, at least. Im just that curious ^^’

        • Posted October 12, 2013 at 1:03 PM | Permalink

          I never mind hearing an honest expression of interest. There have been a few people saying they’re curious, so I’ll touch on it when I have time to do another blog on this subject….

          • Posted October 12, 2013 at 2:34 PM | Permalink

            That’s… probably not a very good idea.

            Case in point: A person sends you a message expressing his wishes that a dog be acquiring a taste for Rothfussian ‘nads. You mention it on your blog, which is a positive affirmation, in that of all the things, good and bad, sent to you, his was mentioned and propagated. So, now people know that in addition to exceptionally sweet fan mail, exceptionally vile fan mail also has a chance to receive such special treatment. The best thing to do is not to react at all. Or the safest, at any rate.

            I’m being a Bredon (without the sinister undercurrents) to your Kvothe now, of course, since you’ve been living with this for several years now and surely know more of it than I will ever do. Thanks for letting a not-so-old man ramble :)

  4. Boneman
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:34 AM | Permalink

    Pat, I’m pretty certain that when we write, we don’t expect a reply, because we know how many thousands of man-hours are involved! Besides this blog makes up for a thousand replies – you tell us what you’re up to, what Oot and Sarah are up to, and we listen in to the conversations going on in your head. In short, you let us know you, and that’s a terrific thing. Please don’t feel the slightest bit guilty, or we will, too!

    Don’t reply to this posting!!!

    • Marcus Cox
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:02 AM | Permalink

      This is very true. I comment fairly regularly on the blog and have had Pat reply to a few of my comments. Every time I feel giddy and happy that Pat took the time to reply to me. I never expect to get a reply, despite the fact that it’s happened a dozen times or so.

      • spoonyspork
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:23 AM | Permalink

        Ditto to you both. Without going into details, the last time I posted something in reply to one of these blog posts was a very, VERY sad day (/week/month), and seeing him reply actually made me giddy and smile. For the rest of that day and the next, whenever I felt myself breaking down I’d think of that post and be able to stay strong. I know it sounds kinda crazy and maybe creepy, but s’truth. It’s never something I expect and also why I’ve never sent any fan mail or anything – seeing this blog – and facebook and goodread updates – is enough.

        I do kinda want to sick a dog on the nuts of some of the ‘fans’ seen being jerks in the different media places Pat has opened to us, though…

        Anyway, thank you for being awesome, Pat!

        • spoonyspork
          Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:38 AM | Permalink

          Forgot to post this link:

          (Ze Frank on positive/negative comments)

          • Posted October 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Permalink

            Wow. That’s a great video….

            I’ve thought many of those things, but he articulates them much more precisely and clearly than I ever have.

    • Nonny
      Posted October 15, 2013 at 10:37 AM | Permalink

      I’d like to add to this as well. While I haven’t read Pat’s work yet (I tend to wait for epics to finish because of colossally bad cognitive/memory issues – years between releases just don’t work for me, so I buy and wait for “the end”), I have been intending for quite some time to write to an author who had a massive positive impact on me as an adolescent.

      That author would be Mercedes Lackey, whose portrayals of LGBT characters and polyamorous relationships *kept me alive* when I was dealing with a very fundamentalist Christian father. I couldn’t even admit to myself then that I wasn’t straight, but seeing characters like me in a positive fashion literally did save my life. I keep meaning to write her someday and tell her this.

      I don’t expect a response, because her schedule is quite busy, and I’m sure she gets a lot of similar letters. But, it is important for *me* to write it… for *me*, to be able to thank the person who did so much good. I would suspect a lot of fans who are writing letters are in similar positions; writing, not just for the author, but to get something out there that we need to say.

      • SporkTastic
        Posted October 20, 2013 at 4:58 AM | Permalink

        Mostly unrelated aside…well, that can wait a sec.

        First, I, a random internet stranger whose opinions should have no bearing on anything, am glad that you were able to find some solace in the positive portrayal of alternative lifestyles. If I had to bet, I’d say that Mrs. Lackey would *love* to hear about the impact she was able to have. There’s a whole positive reinforcement thing there, and most people (who aren’t curmudgeonly) enjoy those positive-life-impacting stories.

        Okay, that said, mostly unrelated aside: I can totally see the “waiting until it’s all out” side of the argument, but to play devil’s advocate – anticipation often makes the delivery just that much sweeter. Also, when it takes a few years that often makes a great excuse to reread the preceding…which is a wonderful opportunity to enjoy them again.

        Just a thought. Best of luck to you going forward!

  5. AlistairM
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:25 AM | Permalink

    I’m intruded about this dog biting your nuts thing…

    Was it an angry letter or some kind of fetish?

    Signing in and seeing all those new emails would suck the fun out of it pretty fast for me. It’d end up being a select all and delete for me.

    • AlistairM
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:29 AM | Permalink

      I mean intrigued…

      Being intruded by a nut biting dog sounds terrifying

      • Posted October 11, 2013 at 12:23 PM | Permalink


      • Nick
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:41 PM | Permalink

        Lol literally. I’m glad no one heard that.

  6. Kelsey S.
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:55 AM | Permalink

    I started reading this post thinking, “Oh no, I’ve never sent Pat any fanmail! How can I be a good fan without expressing my appreciation!” but by the end I was feeling relieved that I haven’t burdened you further. I’ll just continue to rave about your books to other people, and hopefully none of them will send you anything either. ;)

  7. ripshin
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:00 AM | Permalink

    “I wish I had all the time in the world so I could e-mail you back and thank you for taking the time to drop me a line. I wish we could all have lunch together and hang out and talk about fun, useless bullshit all afternoon.”

    Pat, a pastor friend of mine once told me that heaven was essentially just eternal, uninterrupted fellowship with those we love. As I’ve contemplated this over the years, I’ve come to believe it wholeheartedly. Forget the golden streets and angelic awesomeness, I just want to be with the ones I love.

    I feel like I get a little slice of this each time I’m able to enjoy a few uninterrupted (by the world and all its trappings) moments with my family and friends…the dinner table, camping trips, etc.

    These slices of heaven on earth are usually few and far between, though, so thanks for wishing us into your heaven!


  8. Kerensky287
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:15 AM | Permalink

    “I am sorry. I wish I had all the time in the world so I could e-mail you back and thank you for taking the time to drop me a line. I wish we could all have lunch together and hang out and talk about fun, useless bullshit all afternoon.”

    I don’t typically send fanmail, because I know what it’s like to feel like you’ve completely ruined someone’s day even if (as I discovered later) it might not actually matter a ton to the other person whether they hear back from you or not. Much of the time, sending fanmail is more a cathartic experience, a shot-in-the-dark in hopes of letting someone know they’ve made a difference in your life. Hearing back is just a plus.

    And this is coming from one of the people who DID get to hang out and talk about (pseudo-)useless bullshit all evening, when you came out to Saint John NB last week. I was the guy who, interestingly enough, couldn’t really believe that you actually read every single one of your e-mails and did your best to respond to as many of them as possible. I’m pretty sure I came off as a total dickweed, when the truth is that it just flabbergasted me to consider that anyone might genuinely be a good enough person to read and reply to – or at least feel bad about NOT replying to – ten thousand goddamn pieces of fanmail.

    So, thanks for this post. It still blows my mind that you’re even capable of that sisyphean task. On behalf of everyone who sends you fanmail, thank you for trying your best, and don’t feel bad if you can’t get to all of them. The intention is greatly appreciated.

    • Posted October 11, 2013 at 12:25 PM | Permalink

      Nah. You didn’t sound like a dickweed. No worries there.

  9. Ojodelgato
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    Dear Pat,

    My old boss (15 yrs ago) had a policy requiring us to answer all e-mails within 24 hours of receipt. Even if the answer was just to acknowledge the message and promise to get back, there were no exceptions.

    Fast forward 15 years, no freeking way could I do that. I am CC’d on so many strings that I can read everything but only respond when necessary. Looking at the screenshot of your inbox I’d say it’s 10X mine – so I can only imagine my messaging times 10. (shudder)

  10. iampolo
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:24 AM | Permalink

    It’s a relief knowing my telepathic space beams ARE indeed reaching you. For a moment i thought something was failing.
    Good to know ol’ beams still work like a charm.

    Thank you, for spending a lot of your time reading us.
    Also, for improving my english and recommending awesome books!

    -Sent via telepathic brain Galaxy x3-

    • justajenjen
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

      Hmm. *sniffs* MY telepathic space beams are always answered quite promptly. You must not have invested in the latest upgrade. I guess we know now who’s the best fan.


      • iampolo
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 2:08 PM | Permalink

        I’ve heard lastest upgrade comes with security holes. Something about syphilis i think…


        • spoonyspork
          Posted October 11, 2013 at 2:57 PM | Permalink

          I feel like there needs to be an iOS/Android joke here…

  11. Thisbe
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 8:59 AM | Permalink

    I realized about five years ago that there is a major trap built into modern communication. If someone calls me and leaves a message, or emails me, or whatever – and if I let that mean that I am required to respond in some way and especially in some kind of particular time window – then every person who has my contact information has the ability to incur an obligation upon me without my consent.

    For me, that is a horrible way to live, so I reject the obligation. I have been happier ever since.

    • Aaron
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:55 AM | Permalink

      it’s not a trap built into modern communication. it’s the same problem that has existed since communication did. it’s like Elodin said amusingly enough.
      when someone knows your name, it gives them power over you (i’m paraphrasing)

      on the other hand. communication is a 2 way street. not to mention a necessary thoroughfare. just take a look at government. look what happens when people stop communicating.

      • Thisbe
        Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:09 PM | Permalink

        I think you’re wrong. Maybe I should have said “a trap built into social expectations around modern communication”, but it comes to the same thing. An important part of having social relationships is having and maintaining boundaries.

      • AO_22
        Posted October 12, 2013 at 3:12 AM | Permalink

        As Neil Gaiman wrote, “Things have the power to which you give them”. They only have that power over you so long as you allow it.

  12. BJE
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:50 AM | Permalink

    I really hope it’s just the facebook private messages you read and not the comments to your posts. I looked at them once and… wow…

    Keep up the amazing work (with everything you do)!

    I’m very excited to see your picture from the kickstarter for the fantasy author calendar. I think the project creator should be posting your picture any day now.

    • Posted October 11, 2013 at 3:13 PM | Permalink

      Oh shit no. I don’t read facebook comments. That is the way to madness….

      • SporkTastic
        Posted October 20, 2013 at 5:00 AM | Permalink

        They’re nearly as bad as youtube comments. Craziness.

  13. Argent
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:53 AM | Permalink

    Perhaps you could use an assistant? They won’t be able to do much for you if you want to read everything for yourself, but might be able to make replying easier – especially if you let them handle common questions (e.g. “When is book #3 coming out?”), and then once every so often, run the more unique ones through you. A filter of some sorts.

    I know that’s kind of what Sanderson does and time seems to mostly work out for him :P

  14. Aaron
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:58 AM | Permalink

    Ha. you’re e-mail situation is worse than trying to see every artwork at the Louvre.
    they love to boast to tourists that if you spent 30 seconds on each piece of art then you’d be there for 3 months.

  15. M.Fenwick
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:24 AM | Permalink

    I think Argent is right. A personal assistant is needed.

    Put simply, let the assistant read the emails and categorize them. We could build an entire branching system.

    A. You’re Awesome Mail
    – Thanks for being a cool author
    – I LOVE your stuff and can’t wait to read more
    – I want to have your children
    – I want to do dirty things to you
    – Mail from teh funny Farm

    B. Hate mail
    – I’m not a fan, here’s why…
    – Ur buk sux
    – May a dog bite your family jewels
    – God is going to punish you for writing heathen novels

    C. Business mail
    – Agent
    – Editor
    – Publisher
    – World Builders
    – Appearances
    – Pick up eggs and milk, love the wife

    See, now the assistant can just give you a general run down of the NUMBERS of each, and you can pick and choose what you want to hear about or even read.

    Need a boost up? “Read me a couple from ‘I LOVE your stuff'”

    Need a laugh? “Read me something from the Funny Farm pile.”

    • Kelsey S.
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:55 AM | Permalink

      Sounds like a good system to me. The only hard parts would be finding an assistant trustworthy enough to have that kind of access to personal communication AND being able to give up sole control of your own email. I imagine it would be very difficult to relinquish that responsibility.

      • Karissima
        Posted October 15, 2013 at 7:27 AM | Permalink

        One solution to this is used by members of congress: post codes. All the mail that comes to Pat’s address is opened by his assistant, unless it has his “private” code written on it, in which case it’s for him only. That way grandma can still wish him a happy birthday in secret, or whatever. Of course, he would have to resist the urge to give everyone his code, which might be the failing here.
        As far as e-mail, Pat could have e-mails forwarded to the assistant for sorting. Maybe some kind of filter that automatically forwards the fanmail but retains private correspondence?

  16. gamebrain
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:09 AM | Permalink

    I have the solution to this problem. Patrick Rothfuss is the next Scott Lynch, so Pat should send 1/3 of his mail to Scott. Anthony Ryan is the next Patrick Rothfuss so Pat should send 1/3 of his mail to Anthony. Now Pat has 2/3 less mail to read!

  17. Zanzith
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:22 AM | Permalink

    Dear Patty,

    I think that the fact that you take your time to read all your fanmail in your busy as fuck days says alot. You are an awesome person! Keep it up!

  18. carrie
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:52 AM | Permalink

    I’m with the assistant camp. On top of grouping the letters, you could have an assistant in charge of picking, say, the 10 best every day (or week) for you to read as pick-you-ups. Or they could prepare a digest that merely lists every letter, with the best 1-sentence quote, and gives it to you as a print-out at the end of the week. Then you’ll just have 2-3 pages, all grouped together (which will save you a massive amount of time in opening individual messages, etc.), of 1-sentence quotes to read and make you smile.

    You could also have the assistant make little “I heard you!” postcards or their digital equivalents and send those out. For letters that make the “top 10” for the week, you could scribble a little note on them.

    I also like the idea of grouping letters by themes — then you could develop custom Rothfussian responses to each theme, but have the assistant distribute them.

    There are a LOT of ways to save you time here. And don’t worry, all of us fans will still love you.

  19. Constance
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 12:50 PM | Permalink

    Everytime someone sends Pat an Email or Facebook note saying ‘When is book 3 coming out’ it takes him THAT MUCH LONGER to write it. So if people STFU about it, we’ll get the book that much sooner. :D

    I’ve been lucky enough to get responses from Pat twice. Once when I found someone had posted his entire book on the internet and the other time when I found out about a cool project Amber Benson and Neil Gaiman were involved in.

  20. sandibd
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:07 PM | Permalink

    Thank you for the time you give your fans. It is a double-edged sword, I know. We love you, we want to share you. You do indulge us A LOT, and we love you more for it. If I could win a contest “A Day with Pat” I would be warm and fuzzy forever. But, alas, I will be content with reading your books, blogs, rants, etc. and feel just a teeny part of Pat’s peripheral world.

  21. saurus
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:15 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I would like to make a quick point.

    The letters, emails and other mail you receive is a reply to the writing you have done. A thank you for what you have written for all of us. Don’t feel bad if you can’t reply – I wouldn’t write to you and be put out if I didn’t hear from you. You have put in so many hours writing your books, that’s enough for me.


  22. Tubusy
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:20 PM | Permalink

    This is easy to fix.

    $1 Worldbuilders donation for a guaranteed read with your eyes.
    $20 donation for a guaranteed reply with your fingers.
    $200 donation would promise a phone-call where you sing a Jonathan Coulton song with your voice.
    $500 donation provide the generous fan a unique nude selfie with your vegetables.

    I’m not saying what I’m going for, that’s personal.

    • sandibd
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:49 PM | Permalink

      This sounded like a good idea up to a point……then I just got scared. :)

    • Jsherry
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM | Permalink

      “Nude Selfie with Your Vegetables” is my next album title.

      • Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:09 PM | Permalink

        “Nude Selfie” is my David Bowie cover band.

  23. Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:21 PM | Permalink

    You have the best fan-responsiveness I’ve ever seen!! We all love and appreciate your efforts, Pat.

    Incidentally, about your Facebook post yesterday regarding Scott Lynch and the Lies of Locke Lemora: I ran out and read the book and while it was fantastic, I can honestly say that I like both your story and writing better. His story is grittier, but yours has a touch of je ne sais quoi, something almost dreamlike and magical while at the same time being as clear and sharp as glass.

    I admit his title IS pretty badass though :)


  24. Bruna-chan
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:34 PM | Permalink

    Heey! I’m a 16 year old girl from Brazil! haha xD and I sent you an e-mail in the beginning of this year! I got your book:”The wise man fear” on my birthday last year when i was doing 16 years… haha xD I like you and your book’s so much and i think you don’t have to feel so guilty for can’t read and reply every e-mails…We know that is a lot of this..And we know that you try to do this…So, this is what matters! xD

  25. Knightrous
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:39 PM | Permalink

    I’m now trying to figure out whether I should still feel bad for not replying to your e-mail to my thank you for the first book, way back in September 2007; I have a terrible habit of over-thinking replies, going round and round in circles trying to figure out how to reply to a particular point, whether to be serious or humourous, and so on. After about six months I think I gave up and realised it was a lost cause, as well as already being way past the point of being rude.

    I’m now thinking that I helped not hold you up even further than I could have done, especially as I can get a bit long-winded when I get my mind on track (as well as often wondering off-track).

    Patrick, I apologise for not replying to you.

    Everyone else, be at least a teensy bit thankful that I didn’t.

  26. trunuyawkr
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:53 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat –

    You have blogged several times about how much of a “word” person you are (one of the reasons why you say it takes you so long to write your books, as you are always trying to find just the *right* word for each scenario / sentence) – in fact, you posted the other day about how much you love Sarah for her use of “dishabille”. Knowing that about you, I find myself paying more attention to what you DO write, since verbiage matters……. and I absolutely LOVE the fact that you used the word “kvetch” above. I know enough about demographics to know that Wisconsin isn’t exactly the Lower East Side of NY, so your oh-so-eloquent and appropriate use of the word here (honestly, no other word would fit so well) absolutely makes me grin.

    Thank you for being so awesome!

    • Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:36 PM | Permalink

      Kvetch *is* a great word.

    • LaMiss
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 5:59 AM | Permalink

      Hey, I would have never posted this because I don’t want to kvetch on someone else’s blog. But since you *are* posting about how important it is to always find the right word…I think you meant geographics, not demographics.

      • trunuyawkr
        Posted October 14, 2013 at 9:26 AM | Permalink

        Nope. Demographics. As in, New York’s Lower East Side has a HUGE Jewish population, one where Yiddish and Hebrew intermingle with English on a constant basis…… unlike Wisconsin (sorry Pat!) which has, as of the 2012 Census, only 28,000 Jews IN THE ENTIRE STATE.

        And not for nothing, but “geographics” isn’t even a word…… But I definitely appreciate you trying to keep me on the straight and narrow!

        • LaMiss
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:54 PM | Permalink

          Oh, thanks for the info. I was already wondering if there was some meaning to your demographics I didn’t get since I never heard of kvetch before. There’s always more to learn I guess. Thanks trunuyawkr :)

        • LaMiss
          Posted October 17, 2013 at 6:56 PM | Permalink

          And, yeah….geographics would’ve fit well with demographics but….d’oh. *makesnotetorereadnextpostmorecarefully*

  27. Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:54 PM | Permalink

    My family is convinced that I have sleep apnea. In the middle of the night when I wake up, head pounding as oxygen starved blood robs my mind of cohesion, choking and wheezing as I struggle for breath, the only thought I have is that I can’t die without reading your final book.

    All jokes aside I’ll seriously haunt you if I die before I read it. If I’m drawn into the light pass on before I can find you I’ll tell your stories to the countless dead who lie sleeping beyond the veil of life and when your stories move them as they’ve moved me I will easily amass an army of deathless fans. Together we will draw tight the veil that separates the living from the dead and I will pierce it myself. I care not what horrors are unleashed upon the world or what madness comes from my actions; I will not rest until I have seen the end of Kvothe’s tale.

    Your fans love you. When you get an assistant, make sure it’s someone like Robin Hobb’s OfficeKat. She’s kind of awesome.

  28. Gunner
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 1:56 PM | Permalink

    I read this whole blog post as, “To all of you who keep asking when book 3 is out, blame yourselves for writing so many fan letters to a guy who loves his fans enough to read them all. You want book 3? Stop writing for a while, then I can do my real work and not feel bad about ignoring you in the process. You can start again when the book is done.”

    I probably shouldn’t have put all that in quotes, because that’s quite a stretch from what you actually said…

    You don’t read all these comments, do you? I hope not, or I’ve just made it a little bit worse.

  29. darlinkaty
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 2:16 PM | Permalink

    Take heart in knowing that we usually send in mail for ourselves. It is a very selfish thing to say, “I know about you. I want you to know about me.” A sweetly selfish (is there a word for sweetly selfish?) thing, but still selfish.
    And yes, this is coming from a dork who totally sent you a rambling thank you note. I didn’t expect a reply and would’ve felt guilty if I had gotten one. I hope hearing the flip side of the fan mail debate is helpful with your decisions.

  30. bluezone
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 2:30 PM | Permalink


    excited about new blog entry, it has been ages! (no hard feelings there)
    it was very nice to exchange few emails back in the ‘old’ days, around 2008-2009. however, these days, even if i had something to say, i opt to leave you alone. reason being, i really don’t want to distract you in any way from working on book 3. (ouch, don’t kick me, please)
    idea – how about hiring an assistant who would read and record the fanmail to a so called ‘fanaudio’ so you could listen to it while traveling, etc? might free up some of your time.
    other solution (much less personal) would be to have an assistant who would sift through all your fanmail and get you the best/worst pieces based on your criteria.
    all other solutions would involve reading/pattern recognition software and laser beam data transfer directly to your brain. :)

    best regards


  31. h28koala
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 3:28 PM | Permalink

    I sent you an email about how much I loved your book about five years ago. I had discovered ‘Name of the Wind’ early after it was first released. I was absolutely floored when you replied to me. I must have been one of the lucky ones back when you were replying at 100%. I have never forgotten your kind interest back to me and I still tell people about how a real live author wrote me back right away. I think it is a nice testament that you read all your fan mail and that you wish you could respond. I just wanted to let you know I never forgot that you responded to me and we discussed our mutual love of Joss Whedon. Thank you!

  32. senkura
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 3:52 PM | Permalink

    I’ve been lucky enough to have a reply from Pat a couple of times now. Once on the blog and the other time when it wasn’t even me sending the message. My boyfriend emailed him a few months before my birthday early on this year, telling him how much I love the books.

    On my 21st birthday I was presented with a copy of NOTW with “Happy Birthday, Jemma!” written inside. Incidentally, the best birthday I’ve ever had.

    Thank you, Pat. You’re the best.

  33. Robo
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:06 PM | Permalink

    Question: What’s the most provocative piece of fan mail you’ve ever gotten? Naked photos? Panties? A horse’s head in your bed?

  34. Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:09 PM | Permalink

    I read, digested, admired, envied, and came away impressed with the majesticness of the author known as Rothfuss. THEN…because I’m killing time at work lol…I take a wee bit more time to read the comments and LO AND BEHOLD I see that the said Rothfuss took the additional time to REPLY to some comments! I ask ye fans of Rothfuss…is any author so fabulous as this one????? ;)

  35. Jessi H
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 4:17 PM | Permalink

    A friend recommended The Name of the Wind book. I LOVED IT! I just purchased the 2nd one and have only read 30 pages so far, but I am hooked. I love Kvothe and the storyline. Can’t wait to see what happens next. I am recommending your books to anyone that will listen.

    Thanks for writing the novels. They have brought me hours of happiness.

    Thanks again and already ready for the next book.

  36. sukeedog
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:37 PM | Permalink

    I think most people understand that this is the natural progression of any writer who becomes wildly popular (and that becoming wildly popular is a good thing for both the writer and, ultimately, the writer’s fans). The fact that you care/think about this AT ALL is part of why your readers love and admire you, not just as a writer, but as a human being. You’re good people.

    I read (and loved) your first book when it was hot off the presses, and in 2008 you friend requested me on Facebook with the following message: “Saw that you liked my book on Shelfari, so I thought I’d send an invite. No pressure to accept if you’re not interested.” THIS BLEW MY MIND (also, I apologize for ever trying to make Shelfari happen). I was so amazed by the idea of a published (and good) writer reaching out to his/her fans that I took a screenshot! The idea that you’re trying to maintain that sort of connection with your fans today, when you have a gazillion more of them (and then feel bad when you can’t) – well, that’s just heroic. I can barely keep up with emails from my own mother.

    Thanks for being awesome, even if we never hear from you again (beyond your books, which are essential for life).

    • spoonyspork
      Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:56 PM | Permalink

      Had a similar thing happen with another (up and coming) author. Read his books, liked them enough that I mentioned them and him in a post and the next I knew he’d sent me a friend request on facebook. It’s pretty cool seeing a new guy’s progress and I too was just floored he’d take the time to friend and talk to a random fan. I mean, I guess authors are people too, but still! XD

  37. lykashii
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 5:45 PM | Permalink

    I actually sent my first fan mail to you couple days ago, about your NaNoWriMo pep talk, so knowing that you’ve read it makes me all happy and twiggly :) Thanks Pat! You’re ever the inspiration.

  38. Posted October 11, 2013 at 6:43 PM | Permalink

    Well Pat, sorry to see this is taking up so much of your time. I can see how that is frustrating, yet rewarding at the same time. While I don’t think it’s necessary that you reply to every piece of mail or every message, I think you should know that you once replied to piece of mail I sent you, and it was literally one of the greatest days of my adult life. Even though it was about a year or so ago, I still keep it on my vanity mirror and show it to all my friends who read your books or ask who my favorite author is. That postcard alone is why I appreciate you as an author so much. I never expected to get a reply to that letter, but the fact you took the time out for me made me feel like I mattered in a world where sometimes you loose sight of that, even with a great family and awesome friends.
    So thank you very much for taking the time to do that. I really really appreciated it and I will NEVER forget it, ever.

  39. smileyvirgo1
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 7:36 PM | Permalink

    Of course today was the day I finally mailed my letter to Pat, hahaha! I honestly never even thought every letter would be read. My best hope seemed to be that at some point, years from now, when Pat was having an especially boring day in between all of the jet-setting and celebrity mingling, he would realize that his “coffee table” was actually another whole crate of fan letters. Maybe he would be bored enough to start reading them and there I would be, 20 years later, and I would get a letter from Pat saying something like “Thanks for reading” and I would pee my pants and start calling everyone I know, saying that Patrick Rothfuss wrote to ME! No one would believe me, I’d be shuffled off into some mental hospital, but I would be too happy to care… I wandered from my point. My point was supposed to be that most of us don’t expect to receive a response, and many of us don’t expect our letters to be read personally. The fact that any of them are read, considering the busy schedule Mr. Rothfuss keeps, is mind-blowing. Yes, I would love for him to read my letter. No, I don’t expect it to happen soon. And I hope that he realizes that if everyone who loved his work wrote to him, then he would have enough paper to build a sturdy (albeit unique) mansion. Hmmm… that would be a fire hazard so I wouldn’t recommend it.

  40. Colts_pet
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 9:36 PM | Permalink

    thank you for letting me know that my declarations of undying love and devotion (completely platonic I assure you) have been seen and hopefully missed up over a little! love you Pat. thanks!

  41. Colts_pet
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 10:00 PM | Permalink

    grr misted up over… wtf this thing has auto correct?

  42. Taravangian
    Posted October 11, 2013 at 11:00 PM | Permalink

    Pat, I’m thrilled to know you did in fact receive my origami crane. But did you also find the secret message *inside* the crane?

  43. AO_22
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 3:25 AM | Permalink

    Am I the only one who has never sent fanmail?

    I think about the next book, and then I ask myself if what I have to say is *really* so important that it might delay the next book by even a minute, let alone 5 or 10. So far, nothing I’ve had to say is that terribly important.

    Don’t get me wrong, imho it’s entirely Pat’s business as to how long the next book will take, but it just seems to me that purposely placing distractions in his path (in the form of fanmail) might hurt us all in the bigger picture. Maybe all this mail will beleaguer Pat and the book won’t be as good. Maybe the extra months of reading fanmail between each book will add up, and in the long run mean that a book or two is never written by Pat because he didn’t have the time. That seems like hurting us, and the world. Let’s not hurt the world!

  44. Alphonse
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 5:01 AM | Permalink

    Hello Pat,
    I’m glad that you can read telepathic space beams because most of the time, I’m too lazy to send you anything else.

    Also, aren’t you worried that implying that there might come a day when you won’t be able to read all your messages will result in people massively trying to contact you right NOW, before the befalling of this great doom, thus precipitating its occurence ?

    Just a crazy thought (probably).

  45. cynrtst
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 5:05 AM | Permalink

    Dearest Pat,
    I have trouble smiling correctly due to a neurological condition. When you were in Orange, Ca this last Spring signing books, I had my picture taken with you. Everyone tells me that I have the most natural smile they’d ever seen on my face in that picture. It is because I was so happy that my favorite author chose to knock noggins with me. Thank you for helping me smile and writing the best damned books I ever read.

  46. Posted October 12, 2013 at 5:47 AM | Permalink

    My dear Pat, this is Ana B. Nieto, author in Spain (the one with only 50 pages translated ;) and I cannot emphasize enough how big is the inspiration you give to us all, your colleagues. A few months ago, while still unpublished, you answered my fanmail. Now that I get my own fanmail (only about 20 messages a week, no 200 like you!), I try to answer too. My husband says: “you can´t answer to them all”. I say: “Pat is doing a great effort. I must at least, try”.

    You don´t need to do it all by yourself. That’s good when you are starting, like me, but not at the point you are now. Create different emails and give your assistant access to them. Keep your personal one for friends. Save 1 afternoon or 2 in the week, for reading and answering the emails he/she has selected. The rest you can store and read when you are 70 or 80 or 90. Good luck.

  47. The Wise Mans Fear
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 6:06 AM | Permalink

    Wow.. Totally blew me away. Even though you think you’re being a kvetch, in my perspective that was honestly so damn humble. I’d even say I’m a little moved, I’m definitely in awe of the times you replied to my facebook messages or emails now. There’s this unexplainable warmth that just makes me love you more in the cool uncle sort of way.. Keep up the solid effort and awe inspiring humbleness.

    As cliché as it gets… love you favourite fan,

  48. ali rahemtulla
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 4:52 PM | Permalink

    Not going to waste your time. I, and I presume I’m speaking for everyone on this blog right now, love you Pat. Not any of that bullcrap that people believe is love, but just love from one being to another.

  49. miscnatev
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 5:28 PM | Permalink

    Hey man, I’m glad you read our messages… But family is important. Personally, I don’t want to reach the end and feel I’ve contributed to the time you spend away from your loved ones. That feels like bad karma. Your writing enriches our lives. You are a good human being who tried to help others with less than you. I know you don’t technically get to *earn* selfish time, but you have. And I know I probably don’t speak just for myself when I say you should take a break from the responses to us all. It sounds like it’d be good for you. There’s a solution to every problem, and remember that not responding does not make you a bad person.

    • miscnatev
      Posted October 12, 2013 at 5:29 PM | Permalink

      Tries* to help

  50. Lhen
    Posted October 12, 2013 at 9:01 PM | Permalink

    Hello Pat, (wow, I feel I know you even if it is not the case).
    First, I want to apologize for my English . I am able to write in English, but I’m afraid that my grammar is not good enough, so I use Google translate for translating my native language to the language of Shakespeare .

    I am in one of last one French-speaking bastion in America with the Louisiana. I live in Quebec (Canada) and I discovered you in French, but since having read your blog, I then decided to read your book in English (because, you know, in our province , we speak French , but we have no prejudice against the language of Uncle Sam).I discovered that English could be fun to read . I began then to read assiduously your blog. I followed with enjoyment the various events of your life by having the impression to participate in it a little. The comments about your little man ( Oot ) , also touched me deeply . I followed the evolution of your son at the same time as I saw my little girl growing up. I felt great that we live the same thing at the same time . Then imaginable happened. (Why, I’ll mention it?) Because I continue to follow you and see your little man grow.
    My daughter died last May of unknown causes. I’m not sure why I write that to you. Perhaps to thank you for being so human and show us how your everyday actions can be human in helping people around us. One day I would have another child and I would show him how humans can be powerful and beautiful being kind to your neighbor and helping. Without realizing it you show me that there are people who love their neighbor and can help when needed.
    Thank you, thank you for everything. :)


    PS: If you need to choose new places to visit for your books, please think in Montreal, Quebec (Canada). We speak English and would be really happy to see you … :)

    Thank you for reading me among your 10,000 fan letters.. :)

    • kathleenconnor
      Posted October 13, 2013 at 9:06 PM | Permalink

      Helene, what can I say? words don’t cover it, life is painful, beautiful, cruel, kind and endlessly full of hope.
      I do hope you have another beautiful child soon and even though it will not replace your lost little one, it will still bring you the endless joy/heartache that our children do as we laugh and suffer through their lives with them.

    • Oatmeal
      Posted October 15, 2013 at 10:01 AM | Permalink


  51. kathleenconnor
    Posted October 13, 2013 at 8:59 PM | Permalink

    Hi Pat, I think I speak for most of us when I say leave off of the fan mail and finish book 3! I am waiting…and waiting…and..

    Ps. if you take the time to read this please refer to the above.

  52. Viola
    Posted October 14, 2013 at 8:41 AM | Permalink

    As someone who did receive a reply to one of my letters, I have to say I was never expecting something in return. I just wanted to let you know that you made a difference in my life through your writing because I was taught to say thank you for such kindnesses. The fact that I received a response was so mind-blowingly exciting that it’s all I talked about for a solid week, at least. My best friend (to whom you wrote as well) and I still bring it up in nerd circles as our one-up story when everyone is telling tales of the awesome famous people they met at cons and such. We win almost every time.

  53. Ehyeh Asher Ehyeh
    Posted October 15, 2013 at 9:06 AM | Permalink

    As any wordsmith worth their wit would know, true skill lies in conveying complexities concisely. (Alliteration is just a terrible, terrible bonus) You could encourage your admirers to exercise their writing chops both to their own betterment and your relief?

    Also, if you made a cake for a friend, and it turned out they’d been eating cake all month since getting that cake-tasting job, and they didn’t want to disappoint you and forced your cake down anyhow, and now you’ve given them diabetes, would that be an okay metaphor for tens of thousands of fanmails? Don’t turn a gift into a burden for no one’s happiness, yeah? Maybe just be happy someone thought to make a cake and go have a drink of water and some pepto to settle your conscience. Metaphorically speaking.

  54. nduval
    Posted October 16, 2013 at 3:38 PM | Permalink

    At the ripe old age of 38, I’ve never written fan mail, but constantly feel compelled to send you something, telling you how much I love your books, quite possibly more than anything I have ever read. I have read and listened to them numerous times, and I check your posts and site, and even have a deck of cards coming my way. I always want to say how much I love your work, but then figure it would just be another compliment lost in the pile! This seemed like the best place to say something. Love your work! I can’t wait for the next book.

  55. emcmeniman
    Posted October 17, 2013 at 7:05 AM | Permalink

    I’ll keep this brief: I have immense respect for your work, and you seem to be a Super Cool Guy to boot. I have never written fan mail before, but anyone who writes such kind, witty blog posts deserves a few typed lines.

    Best of luck, and thank you for sharing your talent with all of us.

  56. SporkTastic
    Posted October 20, 2013 at 4:48 AM | Permalink

    Random thought/response that I didn’t post for some reason – when I post on your FB page, I don’t expect a response. (Although to be fair, I don’t expect responses to the great majority of things I send to/say at authorly or otherwise crafty folks who’ve achieved some measure of fame.) I’d hate to think that random stuff there was adding to the stress level in the mind of the Rothfuss.

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