An Open Letter to Matthew McClintock

Dear Matthew McClintock,

I hardly know where to begin.  I suppose I should start by saying thank you.  Thank you for the wonderful things you do on your website manybooks.net.  I can’t remember exactly how I stumbled across it, but once I was there, there was no going back.  The interface was so clean and simple, and the selection of eBooks so large that I could scarcely believe such a thing to be real.

I remember starting with the older books, the ones that had fallen into the public domain, and trudging through their stale and stilted prose.  But eventually, as I explored further, I came across the treasure trove of gems and oddities available under the Creative Commons category.  There my eyes were truly opened.  I found works of literature that had long since left the placid waters of the mainstream and were courageously nosing their way into the backwaters and tributaries of creativity.  Some were great works of brilliance, forged from the very essence of originality and crafted with the skill of a master.  But others were amateurish, half-hearted attempts, obviously the product of authors recently inspired, full of exuberance, but badly in need of experience.

And it is for these last, that I believe I owe you the most thanks of all.  Because after I read some of those stories, I realized that anyone could find a place in your roll call of oddballs and outcasts. Even someone like me.  So I filled out the form and sent in my first story.  To this day I remember waking up that night and pulling out my cell phone to check your site only see that my story, had received a whopping total of 71 downloads.  For a writer whose previous readership had consisted solely of his family members it was a moment of pure joy and terror.  The realization that someone somewhere, some stranger I didn’t know, might actually be reading my work was an amazing moment for me.

More than anything, I want to thank you for what you do to make this all possible.  Other than voluntary donations, you charge nothing for the service you provide to the readers and writers of electronic fiction, and the I have had with your site is the best out of any of the eBook publishing websites I have found.  When I have a problem, or need to ask a question about something, I know that there’s an actual human being on the other end of my email.  Other sites might have spiffy and convenient automated update forms, but the human connection you provide is what makes manybooks.net stand out to me.

And so I end as I began, by saying thank you.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart.  Your efforts have given me something I may never have found on my own.  In your own way you have helped to change my world for the better.

Sincerely,

Albert Berg

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