Redacted Entitlement

Thank You Yes, I get mail. Yes indeed.

Dear Lili,

Good afternoon. I hope this email finds you well. I am a book reviewer, blogger, and a HUGE fan of your writing. I am sending you this message to inquire about the possibility of receiving a signed copy of your book STRANGE ANGELS. It would truly mean the world to me. I would also like to interview you the same time my review of your book goes live. I appreciate your time and attention and hope to hear from you soon.

*address of person redacted*

Sincerely,
*redacted*

Well, putting your address on is a bit…optimistic. Still, Redacted says s/he’s a “HUGE” fan. I’d really like to help Redacted out. I wish I could.

Unfortunately, I get so many of these requests I could easily go bankrupt paying postage if I acquiesced to them all. I don’t have the money or infinite free time, and it already says on my site that interview requests need to go through the publishers for just that reason. Still, I want to be kind. So, my reply:

Dear Mr/Ms *redacted, since the name was gender-neutral*,

Thank you very much for reading! And thank you for your kind words.

Unfortunately, I no longer mail out signed copies, as the cost of postage for the number of requested copies has become prohibitive.

Regretfully,

Lili St. Crow

Usually that’s the end of it. Occasionally people offer to send SASEs, which is fabulous and makes me hurry to the post office. But imagine my surprise when another terse missive landed, from a different name altogether, but still in the same email thread, with the former emails tacked below.

Do you have any swag you could send?

Sent from my iPhone

Oh dear. Oh, dear me. Just from your iPhone? Things seemed to have become informal rather quickly, dearest Redacted. And this is a little…suspicious.

Dear Mr/Ms *second redacted name*,

I am a little confused. First it is a signed book for a huge fan, now it’s asking for swag? I am not at all sure what’s going on here. But no, I am not in the habit of mailing out a great deal of promotional items. Again, the cost of postage on such items is prohibitive, and there is no return (if any) on them. My time is better spent writing books. Thank you for your inquiry.

Good luck,

Lilith Saintcrow

Apparently this was not what this particular Redacted wanted to hear. The next time there was no “dear”, no name (either of them) and no signature.

Yes, I inquired about receiving a signed copy, but since you couldn’t provide one, I thought you could send a bookplate or bookmark. Now do you understand what’s going on or do I need to break it down slowly for you? You should appreciate your fans because if it weren’t for them, no one would buy your books and therefore you would not get paid. You
shouldn’t complain about $2.00 postage when your books are sold for $16.99 (US). I’m glad you revealed your rude, pretentious personality. You can guarantee I will never contact you again and I will definitely not purchase anymore of your books. Maybe I can use the ones I already own as fire kindling this winter. Please don’t contact me again, you’re not worth the time it’s taking to write this message.

I do appreciate my fans. Every day I sit down and I open up a vein, and I write stories for them. Apparently dear Redacted thinks all writers are positively swimming in cash and free time. Some of them may be, but I’m definitely not. I could explain exactly how much of that cover price I see per book, and how much is overhead for the publisher, and also send a detailed breakdown of my finances and income. But why bother? Something tells me Redacted is furious at not receiving something for free, and that is a species of entitled rage no amount of fact or kindness will soothe.

Regardless, I bear no ill will.

Dear Mr/Ms *redacted second name*,

Thank you so much for informing me of your intentions. I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours.

Sincerely,

Lilith Saintcrow

Poor Redacted. S/he just can’t catch a break. As for me, now I go back to work.

And people wonder why I don’t answer more mail…

  • I also always sort of head-tilt at these people who want a copy to review of a book that has been out for several years. Generally, that is just not how things are done, and any book blogger who’s been around a while knows that. If you want a free book to review that is no longer being offered for review by the publisher, go to the library.

    I admit I develop a twitch every time I’m asked about free swag. That shit costs more than books a lot of the time.

    (Also, interview the same day the book review goes up? ALWAYS A BAD SIGN. Every writer I’ve known who did something like that ended up blindsided by a terrible review and they look stupid doing this cheerful, ignorant interview next to it.)

    *adds to FAQ about no swag*

  • Yeah, it just hit all the “doesn’t look right” buttons. I’m still amused by the breathless speed by which this one became hateful, too. It’s like a switch flipped.

  • YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL I’M ASKING FOR FREE STUFF. That is the similar thought process to YOU SHOULD BE GRATEFUL I WANT TO READ YOUR BOOKS ENOUGH TO STEAL THEM.

    There was also, some years back, some known contest whores in the book world who joined promo groups with the express purpose of getting signed paperbacks that they then sold on ebay. People are mostly crap.

  • martianmooncrab

    You could have sent them a dead squirrel…

  • I know it’s really good possess goodies from the writers you love, but I’ve never done what Redacted did. It’s kind of outrageous consider that your idol or favorite author is only working to please you — or any other human being is.

    Something that I think it’s not ask too much and I’m considering to do for some time is about the email feed. With the daily routine sometimes is hard to keep the blogs I follow up to date, but with email I can — and must — keep updated and I enjoyed reading your posts meanwhile. I’ve re-subscribed the newslatter available in the siderbox, but it didn’t worked out. (I think it’s not the best place to say this, sorry, but I’ve took the opportunity once I was already writing you a comment.)

    I just hope you can be able to get rid of this situations and crazy people annoying and taking away a time that you could be using properly doing a good thing — like writing!

    =D

  • Sweet baby Jesus on a rollercoaster, that escalated quickly. Seriously, dude, you couldn’t just say, “Ah, I had no idea that was an issue. Thank you for taking the time to respond.” ? Since when does not handing out limitless free stuff qualify someone as a Bad Person(tm)?

  • I have a thing on my web site that offers to send out signed bookplates to readers who send a SASE. This avoid the awkward “I can’t afford all this postage discussion” and gives me an option to offer to people who request signed stuff. Tends to chase the ones who want to sell my book on Ebay or whatever away, too.

  • That’s a really good idea. I’ll have to think about that.

  • Kassandra A.

    Who wants to place a wager that REDACTED would have had that signed book up on ebay quicker than a toddler can lick their upper lip clean? You showed greater restraint than I possess. Kudos to you luv!