Ordinarily I try to respond to every e-mail I get (the personal ones, not all the solicitations for money for this cause or that, or the obvious spam, but the ones where someone has clearly written to me with some purpose in mind, even if it's just to say hey, I liked this book that you wrote.
But recently, because of the nonfiction Criminal Minds book I wrote, about the true crimes and criminals behind the episodes, my e-mail has started to get a little strange. The first one was from a woman who is related to a woman accused of murdering her boyfriend and chopping him into pieces. The sense that I got from the e-mail was that she was hoping to sell her story to someone. If I'm wrong, if I misjudged her, and she really just wanted to share her grief with a stranger who might be able to appreciate her situation, then I'm sorry. But I didn't reply because I couldn't think of a polite way to say "what are you after? And if it's money, that's just sick."
Then I got an e-mail from someone at a magazine that publishes (among other things) true crime stories. I could probably write true crime stories (though not with the Criminal Minds angle that the book had--that was officially licensed by the show and I wouldn't do it without that license). This person asked me to submit true crime stories to the magazine, but also mentioned that the mag charges a "reading fee," which can be waived only if one subscribes to it. I recognize that this is not an unheard-of practice. But I'm old-school. Money flows to the writer, not from the writer, and if a publication isn't making it on sales and ads and has to try to get writers to ante up before their invited submissions are read, then that's not a publication I'm interested in writing for. Again, didn't bother to reply.
I'm not famous enough or rich enough or jerk enough to not reply to most people. Those folks who do write to say they liked a book? Love them, and I always answer right away. But people who write to me strictly to suck money from me?
I guess there's just not enough time in the day.