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.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Poetry Book Spam

Warning: Another e-mail spam rant, wherein I over-use italics.

April is poetry month. But I don't think sending spam is the best way to promote a poetry book. In fact, the way not to sell me any book is to send me e-mail spam about it. And please—don't even give me your book–all 610 pages of it—via e-mail unless I ask for it.

All 1.9 megabites of this, er, poetry book promotion arrived in my inbox a few days ago. The header was a tip-off:

The problems with promoting one's work in this manner:

  • I didn't ask for it. 
  • I didn't want it. 
  • 610 pages!!!

The e-mail begins thus:

If you're hell-bent to spam, at least know to whom you are sending an email. I am not "an Honorable & Respected Literary Organization/Society," though I hold a couple offices in writers groups. I'm not sure what "mesmerizing patronization" is, but I'm pretty sure I'm not gonna bestow it on anybody. And I'm doggone sure I won't browse this book "in its totality."

Some other considerations:

Never, ever describe your work as unique. Using unique to describe anything isn't a good idea. Describing it as "inimitably unique" is—well, words fail me. Even if the "literature is natural and normal."

If English isn't your first language—and you have not mastered the intricasy of its usage or punctuation, I'll be leery of the quality of your "inimitably unique" and "natural and normal" poetry. I'm not impressed with poetry that made it into a record book second to the Guiness Book of World Records. I'm more impressed with poetry that's won a Pulitzer Prize. Or been published in major literary magazines.

Another part of the e-mail:

Spamming is not how one searches for "A Literary Agent/major Publisher." These poems have already been published (via the pdf, as well as being posted on various websites), so no "major Publisher" is likely to be interested in acquiring them, much less to distribute the books "via every major bookstore of mortal earth."

Forward an e-mail to an agent? Um, no—I don't "deem it appropriate." This isn't how publishing works.

The description ("complete details"):

If you, Gentle Readers, are interested in reading the poetry mentioned in the e-mail, a bit of Googling should satisfy you.



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