“What-The-Hell?” Mail Day

Okay. I’m boggled. Confuddled. Bewildercated. I’m up at four AM, so that might be part of the problem, but the e-mails I received this morning range from the sublime (thank you, Natasha Altorio, and a response is on the way) to the utterly confounding. Usually the e-mails I get are of two varieties — comments on my books, or comments on the site.

But these …

Here. I’ll share. These are cut-and-pasted and uncorrected. Names withheld.

Title this one “Lamb to the Slaughter”, or maybe “I have no clue what this site is about.”

Hi,
My name is [WITHHELD] and iam a new writer. iam 20 years old. I will be done with my book in two months. The book is for kids from 13 to 17 and iam looking for a publisher.
My book is called mothers secrets, the title tells it all. Its my first book, so i would like to know more about your publishing company and how much you charge?
God bless

Call this one “Huh?”

Hi! I got a problem with subscription center on www.amazon.com . The story is on February the 25-th I placed an order to subscribe “The Opra”magazine. I’ve payed , but never got any issues of this magazin. I don’t know who else could help me .Looks like they just forget about my order , I never get any e-mail from them to explain the situation. They said the order take 4-6 weeks to get it by mail . But now it’s more than 4-6 week, it’s about 4,5 months. And I still did not get anything. What I suppose to do? Please, help. My e-mail is: [WITHHELD]

And then there is this one — “Professional, but Very, Very Lost”

Hello:

I currently work for several publishing companies from my home. I am looking to expand my business to other areas. I have extensive word processing knowledge and can type 90 wpm. I also have copy editing, proofreading and transcription skills. I have worked on rare books, short stories, manuscripts, and how-to books, putting them on disks and CD. I also typed from micro tapes onto disk. I would very much like to work for another company or individual author, doing similar work, so I look forward to hearing from you. Thank you for your time and consideration.

This one also came with a very professional resume — the big question here is “Why did she send it to me?”

In case any of the authors of the letters read the site — which seems unlikely considering the content, (or in case anyone who does read this site is considering writing an e-mail like one of these), I’ll post replies here.

To writer number one —

Writers do not pay to write — WRITERS GET PAID TO WRITE. But only after they learn to spell, punctuate, write, market, and research who publishers are and how to contact them. And “iam” is not a word. At least not in English. Really.

I am not a publisher. I am a writer. But before you contact any publishers, read this — because if you are offering to pay to write, you are about to get robbed.

To writer number two —

Huh? I’m a writer. Customer service is waaay outside my domain. All I can suggest is e-mail Amazon. Or the customer service number on the masthead of Oprah Magazine. Or write the Better Business Bureau. Or all three.

To writer number three —

Huh? I appreciate the nice resume — it was very professional — but why did you think I would want it? I’m bootstrapping here; my big challenge is keeping me paid. I’m going to pay somebody else? To do things I do for myself for free? Writers are, in general, their own best cheap labor. Publishers hire folks with your skills. Authors make do with whatever skills they themselves possess.

(In case you’re as worried about the fate of poor Writer Number One in the hands of the evil vanity publishing industry as I am [and what person with a soul wouldn’t be?] — rest assured that I also sent personal responses to these folks.)

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About the author: Novelist, writing teacher, on a mission to reprint my out-of-print books and self-publish my new ones.

3 comments… add one
  • Tina Jun 16, 2003 @ 11:08

    I always thought that English composition teachers chose THEIR profession for the entertainment value, so it would make sense…

    I imagine you must get some truly interesting mail in general, Holly, even when it’s obviously sent to the right person. I’ve always figured fan mail contains some real gems at times.

    (Also, I’m still boggling over "the title tells it all". I’m torn between "Well, heck, hon, if the title tells it all than why are you writing the book?" and "Er, it does? Why am I so confused then?")

  • Jim Jun 13, 2003 @ 14:04

    three times, three times good….you’ve done your karmic balance a favor today.

  • Michael aka Highnside Jun 13, 2003 @ 10:29

    Come on Holly, the real reason you chose this profession was the entertainment value… No? 🙂

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