A week or so back, I offered to send bookplates to anyone who would be giving one or more of my books for the holidays and wanted to transform them into “autographed” books. I’ve done this for the past few years, mostly because it seemed like a nice thing to do for my fans and readers. (And hey, maybe it would encourage a few more people to buy and give my books as gifts.)
This year, that offer was picked up by various “Free stuff!” blogs. You can see a little of this on Twitter.
Off-topic, “samplesexpress” is not the best Twitter handle, folks. Also, thanks to Mike for the shoutout on my comic!
Anyway, my Inbox started popping with messages from folks who had never heard of me or my books, but wanted their Free Stuff! This created a problem. I don’t have the time to send this to everyone who surfs the freebie blogs, e-mailing for every offer that shows up. And since these bookplates cost me money to have printed and to mail, I can’t really afford to do so, either.
Sometimes it was easy to tell the person was just angling for Free Stuff. An e-mail with nothing but a mailing address? Deleted. (In my post, I asked people to let me know which book they were buying, and who they were giving it to.) Another person asked for an autographed bookplate to go in Kitemaster … a book which is only available in e-book format.
For the rest, I tried to come up with a way to separate genuine readers/fans from the folks who are basically reverse spamming me. I sent out quick e-mails explaining my situation and asking them to tell me the first word on page XX of whatever book they mentioned.
This is all making me rather cranky, especially when people are unable to answer but continue to e-mail. Either they’re expending a rather disproportionate amount of effort trying to trick me into sending them a silly little sticker, or else they’re genuinely trying to get something nice to go with a gift of my book(s) and we’re somehow miscommunicating, which means I’m basically being a dick by making them jump through more hoops.
At this point, I’ve updated my original blog post to let folks know the giveaway is over. It’s too late for me to mail anything to arrive for holiday gift-giving anyway. For the handful of folks who e-mailed me back, I think I’ll just send the bookplates and err on the side of not-being-a-dick.
But dang … this was not how I wanted to feel at the end of this thing.
On the bright side, I’m at 96,000 words in the rewrite of Libriomancer, and while it’s going to be tight, I still expect to make my deadline. Yay me!