Once your book gets published, they come creeping around your computer, sliding into your inbox. The weirdos.
They’re bloody creepy.
The weirdos are just that–weird. They get your email address from your web site or blog and ask strange questions or make weird requests. A weirdo asked an author of my acquaintance if he could rewrite her books and improve them. Another weirdo asked yet another author how much of her work she channeled from the spirit world. Still another weirdo sent a marriage proposal. I got a weirdo email from someone who wanted to know how he could get into the Dream and meet Kendi and Ben, my characters from the Silent Empire. If I had traveled to the Dream, he reasoned, so could he. I strongly suspect he was on Ambien.
I haven’t even mentioned the sexually explicit goop some authors get. And it’s not particularly fun or sexy. When some stranger writes that he was to X your Y, it really creeps you out.
Interestingly, I haven’t talked to any male authors who’ve gotten weirdo sexually explicit stuff. While I doubt such things are restricted to female authors, it’d be interesting to learn if women do get targeted with more of this stuff than male ones.
So what’s the response to weirdos?
Short version: make no response. See, responding to weirdos only encourages them. They get their jollies out of a response, even a negative one, so writing back to say, “Don’t ever write to me again, you sicko” will only guarantee another email. (Though a part of me is tempted to write, “I find you and your proposal intriguing and would love to discuss things in person. Maybe we could meet in private somewhere? I’ll bring toys,” and see what happens.)
However, you might want to keep the email itself in a weirdo file, under the small possibility that the person makes an actual threat and you want to call the FBI.
What weirdos have you encountered and what did you do?
–Steven Harper Piziks
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