Have you ever read a book and been so in love with it that you wished you could e-mail the author and gush? I've gone ahead and done it a few times, and one of those e-mails eventually landed me the most awesome critique partner in the universe. How's that for karma?
It occurred to me that if I'm tickled pink by a note of appreciation from a reader other than friends and family (I have all three of them saved in a special folder, lol), then other writers might be too. Yeah, the big names probably have an assistant to read their fan mail, but the average author isn't making enough money off their royalties to pay someone to do that, so my guess is that they read their own e-mails :)
If you've never sent a glowing e-mail to an author you love, why the heck not? On the whole I think most writers are pretty insecure about their work, and pray someone out there will love their characters and stories as much as they do. Jeez, I know that's the case for me.
So if your heart's pounding or you have tears in your eyes when you finish reading that last page, for crying out loud take a few minutes to let the author know how much their work touched you. Writing is a tough, lonely job, and once the work is published an author is left open to public criticism--good and bad. So please, if you love something, tell the author. You never know, that one little e-mail might be all the validation they need to crank out their next book instead of throwing in the towel. It might even be the nicest e-mail they receive all year!