08/20/2011 01:15 pm ET Updated Oct 20, 2011

When Reviewers Get Thanked (It Happens!)

Most reviewers don't get compliments from nude fans, but it's happened to me more than once.

That's because people at my gym listen to the monthly book reviews I do for East Lansing Public Radio on a segment called Under the Radar. We try to focus on books the audience might not have heard of, for whatever reason. Often it's because they're from small presses.

Whether the compliment comes in the showers or the locker room, I'm always glad to hear the review's been helpful and people enjoy what I do.

But there's a special treat for me as a reviewer when an author contacts me via Facebook, email -- or in the old days by mail -- to thank me. I don't expect it, and don't write for an author's approval, both of which make it more fun.

Just recently one author said he wished my review had been a blurb on his book jacket. Another wrote that I had made his day. Then there was the woman who thanked me for reviewing her late husband's book, and told me about the powerful effect on her and his family. That was one of the only times I had reviewed a posthumous novel.

Most intriguing of all was the author who wrote to me from the middle of a hellish book tour. Michiko Kakutani at the New York Times had just trashed his collection of short stories. I disagreed, and when the author read what I had to say, he wrote to tell me he would treasure my words the rest of his life.

It was a delightful exaggeration, but I know how lonely you can feel on the road, since I'm an author, too.

Was he nude when he wrote me? I'll never know. But from the tone of his letter, he probably had a drink by his side.