Peevish Pen

Ruminations on reading, writing, rural living, retirement, aging—and sometimes cats. And maybe a border collie or other critters.

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Location: Rural Virginia, United States

I'm an elderly retired teacher who writes. Among my books are Ferradiddledumday (Appalachian version of the Rumpelstiltskin story), Stuck (middle grade paranormal novel), Patches on the Same Quilt (novel set in Franklin County, VA), Them That Go (an Appalachian novel), Miracle of the Concrete Jesus & Other Stories, and several Kindle ebooks.

Friday, July 18, 2008


or, How Not to Shill Your Book to Me

This morning I got an e-mail from someone I don't even know. He, no doubt, got my e-mail address from the list of members of AWA, an organization I've belonged to in the past.

He wants me to buy his book. I know nothing about him or his book. All I know is that he's spamming a bunch of folks in the vain hope that we'll buy his new book. Here's what he sent (with details omitted) with my annotations:

Ah, the event approaches—on July 26th copies of my short story collection titled [INSERT TITLE HERE] will be available. You should be able to order it then (or shortly thereafter) from Amazon or get it from the other usual places, at the cost of $14.95.

Should be able?Usual places? Like where? If you don't know for sure if—or where—it will be available, don't announce it! And please don't announce it to total strangers.

But in the business it is typical for the author to have some copies, and I will, and so can offer a SPECIAL DEAL to relatives, friends, AWA folks, and friends of friends. (So, yes, it would be lovely for you to forward this to a few—or few hundred—of your closet friends. The more the merrier!)

I'm not going to spam my friends with info about a book I know nothing about. Somehow no famous authors "in the business" have ever offered me a SPECIAL DEAL, although some have offered me complimentary copies for review purposes. If you want me to tell the world about your book, you need to be someone I actually know and whose book I've actually read. Or else, you can send me a quote from your Publisher's Weekly Review, Library Journal Review, New York Times Review, etc. (The legit reviews—no reviews from the scammers who charge for reviews, please, just in case you're thinking of shelling out $20 or $50 or so for one of their pseudo-reviews)

Here’s the special – $12 instead of the retail $14.95, and autographed as well (if you want an inscription, let me know what it should say), and—heck—I’ll even toss in domestic shipping for $1 more.

All it takes is a check for $12 and whether you want it autographed. If mailed, I’ll need a mailing address and then the check would be for $13. Checks payable to [THIS GUY'S NAME].
And, just in case you might wonder how ‘safe’ it is order or recommend the books to friends, heck, take a look at the comments below [I OMITTED MOST OF THEM] that will be on the back cover. Fred Chappell in particular is a great name in southern fiction, and he and I have not even met—so his comments were especially heartwarming.

Fred Chappell is indeed a great name in southern fiction. I met him several years ago at a conference. I wonder if he knows his name is being bandied about in e-mail spam. That he gave you a cover quote is no indication of how "safe it is."

Buy a book. Tell friends. I’ll start shipping on July 26th and will bring some copies to the office on the 27th.

I have no clue where this guy's office is. (I hope his co-workers are forewarned and his boss approves.) His book might be great, but if he can't even target his e-mails to the right folks, I don't think I want to read his writing. And this blog is the way I tell friends.

The best email for reply (and orders!) is [***] (and the website is [***] should folks like to see some of the publication credits)

I took a look at the one-page crowded website and saw a list of credits. It would have been nice to see an excerpt from the book. Maybe the cover. Maybe a few legit reviews. Something. . . .

And the best mail address is [a place in Missouri]

He only gave the one mail address, so I don't know what the worst one was. I Googled the name of his small Missouri publisher to see what this press does, but couldn't find its website. Not a good sign.

Part of Fred Chappell's quote, though, "There are darknesses abounding -- spousal abuse, alcohol disasters, searing and destructive memories of war. . . " sounds like too much misery for me. Maybe I'm missing a great read, but the way to sell me a book is not via e-mail spam.

July 19 Update: The person who sent the e-mail has contacted me. He's sending me an advanced reader copy for review.




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