People seem to think I'm available for hire, and at a moment's notice, too. I get a lot of emails like this one, which I received this morning:
could you please call me ref writing a book…I need help. here is my number: XXX-XXX-XXXX
Then, an hour later:
ok its early. my number is XXX-XXX-XXXX. Dont know if i could afford u but i would gladly pay to have this story portrayed as fiction..and it may save someones life thanks truth IS stranger than fiction
I'm not calling her. Ever. Or responding to her emails (I expect to get more as she awaits the call that will never come).
I also get a lot of variations on the following email:
My Dad is a big, big Monk fan and has read all of your books. Please send him an autographed book or a personalized, signed, chatty note by regular mail, preferably hand-written (NOT a form letter! It must be personal!). He would appreciate it very much. His name is Dave XYZ. Here is his mailing address. Thank you.
What always gets me about these kinds of emails are the very specific demands. My reflex is to ignore bossy emails like this one, particularly ones that want free books (they do know I make my living SELLING books, right??). But I do appreciate Dave's long readership, and don't want to penalize him for his son's "you-work-for-me" attitude. So I sent Dave a handwritten postcard:
Mr. Monk says "never eat mixed nuts." Hope you follow his advice and continue to enjoy the books.
PS – This card makes a handy bookmark or coaster. Never fold page corners or leave rings on tables.