The Mail I Get – Lame Suck-Up Edition

I get lots of suck-up emails aimed at making me promote, or sample, or buy, or blurb, a stranger’s work. Here are some of the lamest, recent examples:

I’m always looking for professionally-written crime novels and I’m mostly disappointed. Having just published my 16th novel I know solid writing when I see it. I was pleased to discover your work. I’ve now read two of your books, “Watch Me Die” and “King City.” I’m trying to decide which one to read next. If someone were to ask me which books of mine I liked best  I would say “XYZ” and “XYZ.” Let me ask you the same question: Of your own books, which are your top two or three favorites?

This guy’s self-published books are ranked in the millions, meaning he’s not even selling copies to his family, and his covers look like they were drawn by hand. I wonder what his definition of “professionally-written crime novels” is?

Here’s one from someone sucking up for a blurb:

I hope you don’t mind my contacting you. I am a published author and playwright of “science-in-fiction.” Whatever it may be – quantum physics, the genetics of gender, or consciousness – such mysteries allow me to explore the big questions. For my newest book, due out this August, the editor at XYZ has asked me if I know an author who would be willing to read and review it in the interest of supplying a “blurb.” In fact, I don’t know many authors, but have a whole host of favorite writers whom I have always wanted to write to. (DELAYED DIAGNOSIS is a favorite.)

I’ve never written a novel called DELAYED DIAGNOSIS, so her attempt to flatter me fell flat. Note to people trying to suck-up: it’s important to get right the name of the person you are sucking up to and the titles of their books and shows that you supposedly love.

Here’s one sucking up for a job:

Dear Lee

I am a South African screenwriter who has recently completed a feature length screenplay that I believe your agency may be interested in representing.
Please find a short pitch below for your review.

Title: Side Time [copyright 2015]
Genre: Action Fiction
Pitch: U.S. Marines meeting Nazi’s soldiers throw a time machine

Log Line: The U.S. government is on the verge of completing the building of a time machine underground N.Y.C.

John [Project Manager] decides to test the time machine by going back to Germany during the time of WW2.
His private mission- to steal the Nazis biggest diamonds from Hitler’s treasury!

In general, it’s a good idea to find out if the agency you are sending your pitch to is actually an agency. I am not an agency. I am a writer. Secondly, if I was an agent, I wouldn’t represent you because your grasp of English grammar is iffy (“meeting Nazi’s soldiers throw a time machine”?) and your story sounds awful.

7 thoughts on “The Mail I Get – Lame Suck-Up Edition”

  1. Lee,

    I know it’s been done before by others (john Scalzi’s ‘Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded’ comes to mind), but have you ever thought of turning these irritants into at least a sub-plot in a Monk like murder mystery? And by the way, any chance somebody named Lee Goldberg might be succeeding Hy Conrad on the Monk series? And since I’m in an asking mode, would you actually have to contact the people who contact you to get permission to include their ‘submissions’ or would you simply make up your own?

    Changing lanes–The Fox and O’Hare books are getting better as you and Janet get a handle on the process and the characters. You know I adore your work and Janet’s Plum books, so I was a little dismayed at the rough start to your combined efforts. But the improvement by book has been marked and I really like the short story interstitials. Do you write those in tandem, or do one of you go, “I’ve got an idea for a cute little story. Mind if I run with it?”

    The ability to return the short story and/or novella in series fiction back into prominence might be the best impact Amazon’s had. There are times where I want something to fill out an hour of free time and then there’s the nights that are open and I welcome having an amusing mystery/thriller to occupy the whole night … and maybe most of the next day. I think it’s great and it’s helped me mentally form a picture of the series characters. Keep it up.

    Have I sucked up enough to get a reply? [G]
    Thanks, GM

    • I’ve thought about collecting the Mail I Get into a self-published book…but I’d have to strip out the names and other identifiers for the people who’ve written to me to spare them further embarrassment. But I’ve been too busy with other things to give much thought to the project.

      Thank you for your kind words for the Fox & O’Hare books, but I have to respectfully disagree with your assessment that the series got off to a rough start. The reviews for THE HEIST were stellar and the sales were huge…and we were very happy creatively with what amounted, essentially, to our series pilot.

      Janet and I write the books and novellas together. We work out the plot, I write the first drafts, and she does a revision. So far, the novellas are all set before Nick and Kate teamed up and are meant to give a little more backstory to their relationship than we have time for in the books without slowing the narrative pace to a crawl.

      • Lee,

        I have no issue with you defending the first Nick ‘n Kate outing, which by my reckoning was the second one I read, after the initial novella. Sales are facts and indisputable. And other reviewers are certainly allowed their opinions. For me, I have a VERY HIGH expectation when I see Lee Goldberg and/or Janet Evanovich on a cover. I’ve read the entire Goldberg canon (I think .. at least according to in terms of your long-form work. And have consistently rated each book somewhere between 7 and 10 our of 10, with very, very few rated as low as a 7. As far as Janet’s work, her yearly outing with Plum is published near my birthday and has become the stock present from one of my friends. I struggle mightily not to hit the buy button on Amazon, waiting for my birthday. I usually kick all visitors out of the house as soon as possible (and rather rudely,.I’ve been informed) and the Plum book gets read before all other obligations. I hope this explains just how I regard each of you as an author.

        I gave The Heist seven out of ten. Better than average. Not the home run I’ve come to expect. That’s my opinion. Subsequently, I think the series has improved. Not greatly, but just to the levels I expect from both of you. In fact, The Job will appear on my yearly list of books that I rated 10 out of 10. Last year, that list was 21 books long. This year, I think I’ve gotten six under my belt. Science fiction by Jack Campbell, Mike Shepherd and Bruce Coville (a YA novel), Waverly Curtis with his newest Barking Detective novella and a really entertaining baseball farce by Bill Branger called The New York “Yanquis.”

        So, WELL DONE! sir. (and madame, if Janet is lurking). I remain very appreciative of the joy both of you have brought into my life. Still sounds like I’m sucking up, doesn’t it? Well, if the shoe fits ….

        No need to reply. We have our opinions, as stated. Now get back to work making my next 10. [G]


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