1. Why do you think people send fan mail?
I can’t speak for anyone else, but I send fan mail when a story gets me mentally excited to the point that I just HAVE to share with the author how much I enjoyed their story.
2. Are there different types of fan mail.
I guess so, I mean there’s definitely hate mail and just ‘loved your story!’ fan mail. There’s also ‘begging’ fan mail - “Can you please let us customize the characters?!” “Can she marry (love interest)?!” and there’s also constructive criticism, like telling an author that their spelling is messed up, or that their directing is borked.
3. Why do you think Episode included Fan Mail in the first place.
It’s a pretty common thing to include on any website or app that involves writing. fanfiction.net Archive of our Own, WattPad all have ways to communicate with an author.
4. On a scale 1 to 10, 10 being 100% of the time, how often should a writer listen to fan mail?
If readers are begging for stuff, I don’t think an author should have to listen. It’s their choice not to include customization, etc. But if readers have legitimate concerns, or they’re warning the author that their spot directing or layering is super messed up, the author should probably listen.
5. What are the benefits of Fan mail?
When someone leaves a positive fan mail, it can be a very motivating experience for the author! Also, as embarrassing as it is to get a mail being like, “In chapter 3, I think you meant for her to stand on the dock, but your spot directing has her standing on the ocean…” it means you can find out that you messed up and fix it, so that’s good.
6. What are the disadvantages of Fan Mail?
Hate mail. Fortunately, I’ve never received it, probably because I finally published a story right after Episode did that overhaul on the fan mail system that meant your account name ended up being attached to your mails. Also, readers who ask you to make changes to the plot (i.e, "Can MC marry so-and-so/have a baby/Can you make so-and-so a love interest?!) or ask you to let them customize characters.
7. Why do you write fan mail?
See question 1. Authors can always do with being shown they’re appreciated!
8. Why do you think authors turn off fan mail?
Some people can’t handle criticism, even of the constructive kind, so they turn it off to avoid getting any. And some of the more popular authors just get overwhelmed by the sheer amount of mail they get and have to turn it off. Also, some people get targeted by hate mail abuse (when the same person/a few people just send a whole bunch of hate in different messages). Hopefully this last issue has been mostly remedied by Episode’s fan mail update, though.