February 20th, 2008


It Happens Every Time

I mentioned yesterday that I get a lot of spam from writing/publishing scammers. Something else that happens with alarming frequency is that once I mention said scam on my blog, the scammer appears out of nowhere to defend his or her actions in the comments. Sometimes they sign their names, sometimes it's just anonymous hatred spewed from the anus of the Internet. But it happens every time. Either somebody spots the reference here and goes running to alert their scammy friends (in which case, shame on you for choosing the wrong side), or the scammers do daily Google ego searches in the hopes that someone, anyone, is talking about them.

Well, Annie Williams of Frugal Fiction wrote back. Which is particularly odd since yesterday's journal entry was actually about Fidel Castro, not Frugal Fiction, but hey, these people can't help themselves. They're anti-Rumpelstiltskins. You say their names and they appear.

Here's what she wrote:

Gosh, Nick, guess I'm about to find out whether the adage about even bad publicity being good has any validity

Another thing that frequently happens is the scammer will try to turn it around, make it seem like I'm giving them free publicity by mentioning them, as if this is somehow a paradox of such immensity that my head will explode immediately upon being made aware of it. But what they don't get, what they can't get with their limited spammers' mindsets, is that there's a difference between publicity and a public warning. No one is going to read this journal, or Williams' response, and decide to make use of her services, but clearly she's hoping someone will. Which is like hoping reports of mad cow disease will increase sales of your brand of beef.

I don't buy lists. I'm frugal, ie. pennyless. I charge zero, zip, nada to host an Aspiring Author's work. But, yes, I do type my little fingers to the bone trolling, scrolling, searching, the Internet for Authors.

What's another word for trolling the internet for email addresses and then sending unsolicited marketing offers to them? Ah yes. Spam!

According to Andy Jenkins at http://www.stompernet.com, "The difference between an ethical marketer and a spammer is a matter of intent. The ethical marketer seeks to profit by providing real value to real individuals. The spammer seeks only pure profit based on the laws of statistics - throw enough people at any offer, and someone will bite." I'm ethical. When someone asks, as you did, to be removed, I comply, immediately.

Oops, my mistake. It's not spam, according to Stompernet, an Internet marketing service site. And they would know the difference. After all, if they're doing it, it can't be spam, right? It's got to be something better, more ethical. Coming up with another word to describe what you do in order to differentiate it from applicable words that have acquired built-in value judgments, such as spam, is another sure sign of scamming. Williams should run from Stompernet immediately.

Also, I should add that intent has nothing to do with it. I'm sure some of the spammers out there really do want me to have a larger penis.

I make money the same way the Author does, by selling books. I offer a service to the multitudes of Independent Authors, like myself, who've been unable to attain the exalted "Published" status. I offer Readers a chance to enjoy reading without taking out a second mortgage. No gimmicks. No surprises. If an Author needs a book cover, they can contract me to design one, for a whopping $69.99.

Frugal Fiction claims to increase its authors' exposure and profit potential, just as most scams do. And how does FF plan to do that? By selling affordable e-book editions! Just what we've always known would be the key to success -- e-books by unpublished authors from a website you've never heard of! If these are the kinds of websites Frugal Fiction sets up for its authors, and if those are the covers Williams designs, well, I stand corrected. Clearly this will fly like gangbusters.

I think my intent is pretty decent. I think I offer REAL value to REAL individuals. Thanks for promoting me.


Annie Williams

Your intent may be decent, Ms. Williams, but your actions are as misleading as any fly-by-night publisher or scammer who preys on the dreams of writers. You're not doing authors like P.T. Harris any favors. When you publish work by authors who aren't ready to be published yet, you're not supporting them, you're holding them back from becoming the publishable authors they could be. You promise exposure and money. Your authors will find nothing but their own time wasted and dreams dashed.

You're welcome for the free publicity.


A lovely time at the KGB Bar, as usual. This time, the Fantastic Fiction series was doing an all Inferno reading. It was great seeing Jeff Ford and Elizabeth Bear again, and even greater to finally meet Nathan Ballingrud and Paul "John Grant" Barnett in person. Wonderful people, all of them. And like the silly fanboy I am at heart, I made sure to get them all to sign my Inferno ARC.

Surprise appearance by Chesya Burke and her husband too! Unfortunately, they disappeared before the end and I never got to say goodbye. Lon Prater showed up as well, all the way from Groton, Connecticut. (Groton, it turns out, is not pronounced the way I originally thought, as one might pronounce the name of a space monster -- GROW-TAHN! -- but rather GRAH-tun, which is less fun.) Lon's nice, very smart (he agrees with me that the movie Flightplan is shit, for example) and a lot of fun. So of course he's moving to Ohio soon.

At dinner, we decided it was time to create another literary award named after an author so, with Gavin Grant's help, we came up with the Gavin Grant Award. The winner is presented with $1000 to never write again. It shouldn't be a problem to come up with a shortlist.

Then everyone carried me and Sarah Langan around in chairs and chanted, "Bram! Stoker! Bram! Stoker!"

Okay, that last part didn't happen.