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.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Bad Book Promotion Idea

The other night I received an e-mail touting a 2007 book published by the same vanity publisher I’ve used for my collection of redneck humor columns and my collections of down-home stories.

Here’s part of it, with particular details redacted:


I had a [major medical problem involving a transplant] on [date was two decades ago]. I had none of the risk factors for [this major medical problem]. My family doctor said, “It should not have happened.” I was 44 years old.

The next two years were a whirlwind of life-threatening events that accelerated in an exponential matter. My family and I endured these near cataclysmic series of happenings: [here follows a list of nine bad things].

My book, [title redacted],tells the amazing story of my recovery from [this major medical problem].

Please share my [insert name of organ] story with your co-workers, family, and friends.

There follows a list of testimonials from doctors, nurses, and a preacher. Plus a link to the Amazon page where the book is for sale.

Now, nowhere on this email was my name actually used—not even in the “sent to” line. Could I be the recipient of e-mail spam? Ya think?

I figured I’d give the sender the benefit of a doubt. Maybe I’d met this author before, but I surely couldn’t figure out where. My interest was piqued. I replied:

I'm puzzled why I received this e-mail. Have we met? If so, I can't seem to place you.

If you wanted me to review this book on my blog, I'm sorry, but I only review fiction—preferably regional or Appalachian fiction.

Actually, that last part’s not quite true. I will review selected non-fiction that has a strong link to my geographical area, like this one.

The following day, the sender of the e-mail replied back:

I read somewhere that you are an author. I thought you might be interested in my [medical procedure] story.

I’m having a little problem following the reasoning. Because I am an author (more like a wanna-be author), I’ll be interested in any book? Uh, no. I’m a hearty eater, too, but ain’t no way I’m gonna eat sushi (it’s bait as far as I’m concerned).

Obviously the author of the book in question wasn’t at all familiar with me—a former redneck humor columnist, freelancer, short story writer, self-published novelist, blogger, and aspiring children’s author—or my work. Did he perhaps send out an e-mail blast to thousands in hopes that he might get a few readers?

If so, it didn’t work for me. I only buy self-pubbed or vanity POD books from people I've actually met and whose work I'm familiar with—maybe people who've done readings I've attended or whose blogs I've read and liked. I've never bought a book because it was advertised in an e-mail.

Note to authors who e-mail blast me: Using a phrase like “a whirlwind of life-threatening events that accelerated in an exponential matter” isn’t going to get me interested in your book. Don't use “near cataclysmic” either.

Note to authors who’d like me to review their books on this blog: Query me first (include a URL to your blog or website) before you send me a complimentary hard copy of your book (I don’t do pdfs or docs). If your book is connected to the Appalachian region—or even the South, I might be interested.

But not if it involves whirlwinds or cataclysms. I have to draw the line somewhere.

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Blogger Amy Tate said...

You know, that's probably the reason that slush piles are so high.

3:24 PM  
Blogger CountryDew said...

You're just too famous, is all.

2:32 PM  

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