I really try to avoid saying bad things about anyone in this blog, because I believe that an artist’s platform should build up rather than tear down. However, this morning I received a forward of an e-mail from a close friend of mine who is a writer with the note that it seemed to have been sent to everyone on a particular writing group list.
I am going to heavily redact this e-mail, because I don’t want to give the author any publicity, and because I feel a little better about saying something bad about somebody if I don’t really identify who I am talking about.
We’ve all known someone who has, or has had, cancer. Or we have had our own experiences. So this is a fairly stark and open pitch – please buy [book title and link]
And while I didn’t write [this book] as a “How to beat cancer” book, it does contain some practical information that may help. I sincerely hope it does. Depending on sales, I intend to contribute approximately 10-20% to various cancer centers and organizations; for example, [local references removed] and the American Cancer Society.
Go there now and purchase a copy. The sooner the better as I’m hoping to have a concentrated spike in sales which will then bring it to the attention of others. So now is the operative word.
In addition, if you honestly can, please leave a five star review, because it will help sales and therefore make us all feel good about contributing to the fight against cancer in all its forms. And maybe pass along this info to others, and post on Facebook, Twitter, LinkenIn, and so on.
Thanks to all of you, and good luck with your writing.
PS: To those of you who are wondering why I chose to use Amazon CreateSpace instead of finding a “real” publisher, I offer the following excerpts from a recent blog. “Why waste all that dwindling time – a year or two, or ten – hoping for an agent or publisher when technology has taken much of the stigma out of ‘self-publishing?’ (Besides, my target audience may not last that long.) With current and readily available technology, you can write, format, and publish a book at no cost except your blood and sweat – writers should be used to sweating blood. Even the so-called legitimate publishers now require you to market. Researching agents and publishers and sending out queries is like throwing rocks into the Mississippi hoping to hit a catfish.”
Excuse me? On the strength of a promise to donate part of the proceeds from your book to cancer related charities you claim that I will be fighting cancer by leaving you a five star review?
Maybe I’m just being a little bit oversensitive, but my initial response upon reading this was God Almighty, what a fucking ghoul! You’ve got to act now because my target audience won’t last long?
Now, in the interest of full disclosure, I did follow the links in the e-mail, and the author is described as a cancer survivor, and the book is personal memoir about living with cancer.
I don’t think that makes it acceptable, though. I think this letter is offensive, and I think it shows self-published authors in a very bad light. For all the complaints we have about big publishing houses, I can’t imagine the PR department of McRandomPenguin greenlighting a mailing like that.
Honestly, though, I don’t know what else to do but ignore people like that. I can’t imagine anything good coming out of confronting him with his behavior.