Of Spammers and Asshats

Last night before heading to bed, I check my email. This arrived, subject line “Hi Dina, how are you today?“, along with the little paperclip icon that indicates an attachment.

Now, normally, I don’t even bother looking at such things. I don’t open emails with attachments, or with idiotic subject lines like that, but something…I don’t know what…compelled me to open it. Go on, laugh. I don’t mind.

Finished? Onward then.

Here’s the email [sic], with specifics redacted, as I don’t want to give any undue attention to this spamming asshat:

Here is a book that you might consider reading and reviewing for me.

I have just published < REDACTED > at 21000+ of mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature.

I am working on another 2 series also ..
< conveniently provided links to Amazon and their blog >

Now, this email rubbed me the wrong way for various reasons. Mostly in the “Oh HELL NO YOU DO NOT SPAM ME WITH YOUR SELF-PUBBED BULLSHIT” way, but I’ve learned to let things sit for awhile before writing something in anger. So I let it be for a day, and wrote back today. Here’s my reply (again, particulars redacted):

Dear < SPAMMING ASSHAT > (may I call you “< REAL NAME FOUND VIA GOOGLE-FU >?”),

I think perhaps this email has been misdirected, for surely it was not intended for me. I am a writer, not a book reviewer of any kind.

However, perhaps this email was intended for me. I noticed a few days ago you added me on Google Plus. It often happens that people add me there because they are friends or fans of my work, but it seems you have added me for another reason – because I have “writer” in my profile. With that in mind, let’s assume this email was for me. As such, I will address it line by line in reply. My responses will be in red (ETA: italics for this blog post) for your convenience.

On 4/15/2014 12:26 AM, < SPAMMING ASSHAT > wrote:
> Here is a book that you might consider reading and reviewing for me. Actually, no, I wouldn’t consider reading and reviewing it for you, as you have sent it to me unsolicited. This means “I did not ask you for it.” This is considered extremely rude in the writing community – it’s rude in general, known as the “hard sell” – and only serves to set you apart as an unprofessional salesman and alienate your target audience, which, by the way, I am not. Why would a paranormal writer wish to read and review erotica?

> I have just published < REDACTED > at 21000+ of mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature. This sentence is incomplete. You have just published what? I am guessing you mean “book,” but at 21,000+ (I am guessing again here that you mean “words”), it’s actually a novella, which is anywhere from 20,000 to 50,000 words. Also, if all you have to say about this work is that it’s “mostly dialogue and very descriptive and erotic in nature,” you might want to look into how to pitch a novel. There are a hundred websites out there that will help you figure this one out.

> I am working on another 2 series also .. Here you conveniently provide me with links to your work. I cannot begin to describe the absolute rudeness and audacity of this action. Not only have you sent me your work unsoliticted (some refer to this practice as “spamming”), you have also shown me where to purchase your work, with three links to various incarnations of Amazon, and one to your blog, ostensibly so that I may keep up with your progress because I am bound to be so enthralled by your work that I will wish to keep tabs on you. As I said…this is beyond rude.
> < LINK REDACTED >
> < LINK REDACTED >
> < LINK REDACTED >
> < POPULAR BLOGGING PLATFORM LINK REDACTED > Really? And you want me to take you seriously as a professional author? Also, “< REDACTED >” is synonymous with “basic,” which you might want to look to in you’re not of a mind to call the intelligence level of yourself or your audience into question. FYI.

Then, after all of this, you attach a free PDF copy of your work for my reading consideration, in the hopes that I will not only read it, but review it for you as well. < REAL NAME >, I don’t work for Fiverr. I will not be giving you a review of any kind, ever, for anything. You have just guaranteed that with this email. I will, however, remember your name, and know to steer clear of you from here on in. (All links are broken to get around spam filters, because I want to ensure you get this email, so take out the spaces and replace [dot] with a period.) [ETA: link restored for the purpose of this blog post) http://www.huffingtonpost.com/andrew-shaffer/five-stars-for-five-dolla_b_3997107.html

With this email, you have just done the complete opposite of what you hoped to accomplish. You have ensured that I will never, under any circumstances, have anything to do with you or your work. Now, maybe this is an innocent error. Maybe you just read on some idiotic self-publishing site or forum that this is the way to do things/get sales/promote yourself. Listen to me very carefully – THIS IS WRONG. This is very, very wrong, and you are only hurting yourself as a writer by doing things this way. This, by the way, amuses me, because you refer to yourself being somehow above other writers in one of your Amazon reviews. My views on self-publishing aside (which you would know, had you actually investigated who I am instead of just mining G+ for writers), your behavior is exactly what gives self-pubbers the reputation they have.

If you want to ever be taken as a professional writer of any sort (and there are professional erotic authors out there), you will stop this idiotic spam attachment campaign immediately. Most people will delete this kind of thing without reply. I have taken time out of my evening to answer you, in the hopes that you will educate yourself and stop being such an ignorant douchebag asshat. (Again, if you’d bothered to investigate me at all, as I’ve done with you, you’d know I am an evil bitch who does tolerate bullshit like this from anyone.) Please be advised that I will be writing a blog post using this email (with details redacted, as I won’t be giving you any kind of promo whatsoever) to illustrate what NOT to do as a writer. I thank you in advance for your shining example of douchebaggery. I am also as of this moment blocking you on G+ because of this email.

Here are a few links of my own in return for those you kindly provided me (again broken to get around spam filters):
[ETA: Links restored for the purposes of this blog post – they were originally broken in the mail]

On “the hard sell.” Please read this and pay close attention to it – https://www.lilithsaintcrow.com/journal/the-hard-sell-doesnt-work-redux/

On wordcount – http://www.fictionfactor.com/articles/wordcount.html

On how to be a professional writer – http://www.dinajames.com/writing/how-to-be-a-professional-writer/

How Not To Be A Douchebag Author (bookmark this site and keep an eye on it – it’s full of writing advice weekly, though they are on hiatus this month)- http://evilwriters.blogspot.com/search/label/HNTBADBA

Best,
Dina

P.S. It’s spelled “Vader,” not “Vador.” His Lordship would Forcechoke you for your misstep. Though I suppose it’s better than “< OTHER USERNAME REDACTED >.” Are you seeing a pattern here, < REAL NAME >? The Internet is forever, and Google is an amazing tool.

Dina James
Chronicler of the Paranormal
http://www.dinajames.com

Spamming Asshat didn’t take too kindly to my reply. They wrote me back with various – I can only call them “illiterate,” despite them considering themselves a writer, as they clearly have no reading comprehension whatsoever – threats and comments, culminating in them posting the above email, my address and all, on their own blog. I’m not really sure what that was intended to do. Show I’m a bitch? That’s kind of obvious.

All I did was call them out on their spamming. They did the rest. I won’t repost the threats and other charming responses this individual sent, but thought I’d put this here as an example for other self-published writers of what not to do.

Hear that, writers? DO NOT SEND YOUR STUFF TO RANDOM PEOPLE UNLESS THEY ASK FOR IT. See the links above. (I’ve restored them so they work for this blog post.) DO NOT SEND YOUR STUFF TO PEOPLE YOU HAVE NOT RESEARCHED. They could be someone offended by your work, or an evil bitch like me, or not a fan of self-publishing, or whatever! Research people before you send them anything. This spamming asshat just mined G+ for anyone with “writer” in their profile and sent them their book out of the blue FOR NO REASON OTHER THAN TO GET REVIEWS/GENERATE SALES. This is SPAM. DO NOT DO THIS.

And so, as promised, here is your cautionary tale about spamming people with your shit.

The end.

ETA April 19: Apparently our lovely spammer did indeed follow through with their threat to spam their mailing list (which is looking like it was collected via mining social networks for certain keywords), as I’ve heard from a writer previously unknown to me that they were spammed with my name and reply mail. So there’s that.

It has also come to my attention via a friend that our dear spamming asshat has ragequit the internet. Checking the folder I filtered any of their future spam to, they had indeed sent me the same message this blog post from a book reviewer details wonderfully – chucklesbookcave.blogspot.ca/2014/04/rude-authors-1-gn-grayson.html. So, despite “threatening” to remove me from their “friends list,” they apparently kept me on it. Big shock there. This “threat” *cough*butthurtragequit*cough* was apparently true as well, though. Their webpages and profiles have indeed been deleted, as well as both of their blogs, and the links to their books are no longer working. I guess I wasn’t the only one to tell them to call them on their asshatery.