How Authors Reply To Emails [Experiment]


How Authors Reply To Emails [Experiment]

For approx. one and half year, I have been writing a monthly Book List containing the best books I've read the past month.

So I thought it was about time to conduct a small experiment. I wrote to 12 different authors, all well-known and respected, just to let them know I had featured their book in my small monthly book list. I also told them the list was only a few thousand subscribers, so it was nothing major. Results were quite interesting as you can imagine:

8 out of 12 replied

I went to all they authors' websites to find their personal email-address, and wrote each and everyone a personal email, letting them know how much I liked their work and why I had included it in my list. Small note: two of the authors didn’t have public email addresses, so I had to contact them through twitter. That actually worked better than I expected.

9 out of the 12 had their assistants reply

To me, that makes perfect sense, as they should be focusing on what they are good at: writing great books. However, there was a significant difference in the tone of the assistant. A tendency I noticed was the more academic the book was, the more formal the reply of the assistant.

The fastest reply

The fastest reply came within a few hours, which considering the time difference between my location (Denmark) and his location (US) was quite fast. And it turned out to be the best as well! More on that later.

The slowest reply

Came 83 days after I reached out. But actually, that was the second best answer I got.

Most disappointing reply…

Here is the email. You can decide for yourself:


To be honest, I didn’t expect a reply from any of them, but this was almost more disappointing than the no replies. But it taught me a one thing: I always get super excited when you guys take time out to comment on my work, especially if it is constructive. I want to engage with you in conversation. I even highlight some readers comments and answers in some of my other works if they are good. I don’t ever want to lose that excitement.

2 out of 12 authors was wow

In the end, there were 2 authors who managed to knock me out with their replies. They were sincere, caring and most of all, they loved what they were doing. Here’s what they replied:

#NeilStrauss and his awesome assistant Brian

Hi Sebastian,

This is Brian, Neil’s assistant. Thank you for your kind email. Neil is busy working on the new book so I’m helping out with his inbox while he’s out of the office. Sorry for the delay in response.

We are so happy you enjoyed reading Emergency and I will pass your message on to Neil. And feel free to send that link!

Thanks again for the email.

Best wishes,


Assistant to Neil Strauss

After I sent him the link to the review, I got this email back

Excellent email you sent to your list—will for sure share with Neil.

I made actual stone soup in kindergarten many years ago after our class read the book. It did not go well or taste good.

Thank you for sharing!



#JimCollins, his great assistant Amy + team

Hi Sebastian,

Thank you for reaching out. We greatly appreciate hearing from those who find value in Jim’s work.

Jim is honored by your interest in his work and would love to send you a signed copy of Good to Great. If this is of interest to you could you please respond with the best address to send the book to?

Once again, thank you for your email. We wish you continued success in your work. Please feel free to contact me if I can be of further assistance.

All the best,



Praise to the best …

Dear Neil (& Brian), Jim (& Amy)

Thank you for your beautiful and eloquent words. They elegantly remind me why I loved your books to begin with.

It has been a pleasure reading them.

If you enjoyed this article, I’d really appreciate it if you clicked the thumbs up or shared it. Comments? Yes please – I want to hear from you! ———- ☕  ☞ Did you miss his other posts? Find them here. ☞ want more recommendations like these? Follow his Monthly Book List


One Reply to “How Authors Reply To Emails [Experiment]”

  1. Spot on Sebastian – awesome to see that you’r efforts are being rewarded, specially with kindness.

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