Friday, January 15, 2010

If Only They Included The Fried Taters

Until recently this blog attracted one or two spam comments a week. Now all of a sudden I'm getting fifteen or twenty a day. I might could live with the influx of spam if we were actually talking about the ever-so-salty taste of the famed canned meat, but I'm sick of the Viagra peddlers and porn site operators targeting me and my readers. Don't they realize we are a virile bunch and do not need such unnatural stimulation? Anyway, for my sanity I am adding word verification. Hope this isn't too big of a pain for y'all.

I like the ingredient list: Pork, with Ham ... Isn't Ham pork?

Speaking of pains, let me share one of my biggest as a writer. I've had this same basic conversation somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 times in the last nine years. YES, that is how long I've been actively writing in the hopes of finding a home for one of my novels.

"Hey Travis, How's the writing going?" "It's going, Still plugging away. Selling a few short stories but still no takers for any of my novels." "How long you been at it now?"

Of course when I answer the inquisitive mind will shake their head and try to be supportive with something like this "Wow. That's a while but in this economy everyone is tight with their


"You know, my sister-in-law/aunt/cousin/stepdad's first wife/ whoever the hell they can come up with, wrote a book last year and the first place she sent it to published it."

How the hell do I answer that when 99.99% of the time these people self-published? Now I'm not writing this as a diatribe against self -publishing. If you have the money to pay for your book to be printed and the means to sell and market said book got for it. There are a handful of stories about people achieving their goals that way.

However, there are far more who realized self publishing did not help their writing career one iota. But people not in the book business do not realize their is a huge difference between having a reputable, royalty paying publisher actually invest their time and money to buy your book, and you forking over cash to a printer to turn your computer file into a book.

And yes, it makes my skin crawl when some well-meaning but ill-intention person says, "Maybe you should send your book to my
sister-in-law/aunt/cousin/stepdad's first wife's publishing company.

So tell me, What is you biggest pet peeve? Writing related or otherwise.


Travis Erwin said...

And hey, who doesn't want "Spam Stuff" as it says on the can?

I know I do.

sybil law said...

I have never, ever eaten Spam and I really don't see it in my future.
I have far too many pet peeves, and a lot of them have to do with shitty drivers. Can people really not bother themselves with a turn signal? Must they merge onto the highway doing 40mph? Etc, etc.

Alyssa Goodnight said...

That would maybe be the humongous chunk of time everything seems to take. That alone is enough to make me say, is this really worth the aggravation?? (Evidently the answer is invariably, yes...)

Thank you for keeping me away from Spam in all its variations.

David Cranmer said...

When someone says "hey, I'm told I should write a book."

Like it's that easy.

Miriam Forster said...

I've gotten the, "My *insert relationship here* got published" conversations. But this one topped it for me.

A Friend: "Are you really going to have a book published?"

Me: *trying to sound casual* "Yeah."

Friend "So how much did you have to pay them?"

Me: ...

writtenwyrdd said...

Travis, that must be a real annoyance, getting that question. Most of the people I know used to ask, what have you published; and because I didn't like writing short stories I didn't have anything published since college. Understandably, I didn't like answering that Q!

But now when people ask about my writing I say something offhand like "I got a couple of stories published last year" and leave it at that. Then we segue into something else and (here's the best part) they don't ask about my novel writing.

I think the most annoying thing I'd get asked is "What do you write?" Because a lot of the time when I'd say science fiction or fantasy I'd get a sneer, like that genre isn't real writing. (But now that I live in back-of-beyond Maine, people seem happy to hear genre, like it makes me one of them. I think I'd get a colder reception if I wrote literary stuff, lol.)

writtenwyrdd said...

I almost forgot: How about the "Hey, I've got this great idea which you can write and we'll split the money!" conversation?

Brian Miller said...

i really hate that conversation...

almost as much as i do spam...

Debra She Who Seeks said...

I think there's some punctuation typos on the Spam label: it should actually say that the ingredients are "Pork," with "ham," etc.

Laura K. Curtis said...

I'm not going to answer the pet peeve question, but I ran across something today I just had to share with, it's not spam, though it is a pork product...sort of....

Janna Leadbetter said...

Don't mind the word verification at all. I think most eventually have to resort to it. Silly spammers.

Yep, I understand your peeve. Mine is when someone with no writing/publishing knowledge -- and it's during a conversation much like you've explained -- starts advising me to write such-and-such, or pursue this-or-that kind of publication. It's my choice, folks. And I got all the planning covered. Thanks.

Chris Eldin said...

Haven't been here for a long time, but wanted to check in.
Ahhh... yes, I understand those. There's an English teacher at Thing 1's middle school who is a "best selling author." Everyone is in awe of him. I. Can't. Say. His. Publisher. It's barely above being self published. sigh...

Aimlesswriter said...

As soon as I read the part about the first one she sent it to got published and before I reached your comment about self pub I knew it was a self published book. lol
I think if you just want to see your book in print go ahead and self publish (they call them vanity presses for a reason) but if you want a real writing career you need to go to a real publisher.
I've never had Spam. It looks like a can full of crushed aliens. There is no meat on earth that looks like that.

Shauna Roberts said...

My pet peeve:

THEM: What do you do for a living?

ME: I'm a medical writer.

THEM: Have you ever sold anything?

ME: That's how one makes a living at it.

THEM: Well, if you ever sell anything, please send me a copy.

ME: ( eyes shoot flames of fire; THEM too oblivious to notice)

Cloudia said...

You take ten years to write out your heart into a little novel, and folks who didn't give you a shred of feedback want to know when the "next one" (like buns) will be done. . .


It has to be it's own reward. The friends my book has made are jewels!

Aloha, Friend!

Comfort Spiral

G. B. Miller said...

First off, let me say that I'm sorry it has come down to this. There seems to be a spate of spamming comments popping up on blogs.

And yes, even with my big azz sign that says "comment moderation" on my blog, I still get spam.

Go figure.

I don't have much of a pet peeve when it comes to writing, beyond being trolled in the chat rooms by someone who really doesn't like me.

I can understand the self-pub thing, simply because I tried it and for the time being, it's going on the shelf. I realize it's not for everyone, and I'm one of those everyones.

So....I guess my pet peeve is knowing what I need to write to finish my current novel, but having problems getting off my big fat butt and actually doing it.

Being Beth said...

I wonder if the fact that my mom served Spam at least once a week has anything to do with my love for veggies?

Pet peeve?

Them: "You're a writer? Do you ever write books for other people?"
Me: "No."
Them: "Would you if it was a great idea?"
Me: "I might consider it."
Them: "How much would you charge?"
Me: "$40,000 and you market it and sell it yourself."
Them: Choke, cough, gasp, "That much for writing down a story you didn't even have to think up?"

I smile as they walk away.

Debbie Barr said...

Oooh, I hate the "Why don't you self-publish?" thing people love to bring up.

I'm still in college and am majoring in English. I hate when other English majors ask what I'm going to do with it, and when I say "Oh, I want to write young adult novels" they give me this tender, pitying look like, "Oh, isn't that so cute!" Drives me crazy.

In addition I love the "Oh, you should just write a book like _(instert-famous-writer-here)_. Thanks people.

the walking man said...

*shrug* I had something I wanted to say about Detroit, self published it, and basically sold it for a two dollars over cost. Never even considered hunting for a publisher because it would have raised the cost by at least $6 a book.

At this point I am about $15 bucks give or take ahead or behind but then I picked up a publisher and an ISBN from the Canadian National Archives along the way, which now holds two copies.

There is at least a single copy on every continent except Antarctica and 6 copies in the State of Michigan library, So it ain't all bad.

No one has ever had that conversation with me. Maybe it's the beard or the plain old I don't care about the business end of writing as much as I should.

It is enough work just to keep poetry from becoming a bastard step child to popular fiction.

Just keep plugging Travis the paper and ink industry isn't dead yet, the state of flux it is in will loosen some when the consolidations are complete.

A timeless book has no deadline nor expiration date.

Them Hawaiian's love spam. They have forty different ways to cook it. But they do use some bio mass with their recipes so beware.

Be Well

Terri Tiffany said...

Oh Travis. Yesterday I was with a friend who has self-published two books and is working on the third while I, on the other hand, am waiting years for the traditional publisher to want my work. She said to me "Why would all of you put yourself through the misery of waiting to be publsihed? Just go do it!"
Anywhooo--I bit my tongue.

Thanks for popping by. I haven't been here it so long!

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I feel like I'm doing something wrong because I maybe get one or two spammers a month, and they are usually pretty friendly. Hmm...

i've had a couple people email me links for "this great company that might publish your book!" I kindly tell them thanks but no thanks. I haven't encountered what you have. Yikes.

Melanie Hooyenga said...

I like Being Beth's answer. :)

Kristen Painter said...

Ask them how much of an advance they got and go from there.

Biggest pet peeve? That cosmetics companies are allowed to use false eyelashes on the models in mascara ads. Really. I can't explain how insane this makes me.

stu said...

Biggest writing peeve: People using He/She throughout a short story, as if not using a name makes it somehow universal.

Non writing: People using words and phrases like medieval, dark ages etc as synonyms for bad or stupid. I'm sorry, but we've come up with far more ways of being inventively nasty, stupid and idiotic since then. Some of them even involve Spam.

Jessica Nelson said...

Oh no! LOL I'm sorry people keep asking. I get asked too, but I haven't reached annoyance. Yet. *grin*

Sorry about the spam. They've been hitting me up too, though not as much as you. Yikes!

Jenn Jilks said...

Spam is alive and well.

My pet peeve: self-publishing a non-fiction book (I wanted to share the information I learned) but people who think they are going to 'borrow' it, rather than buying it from me.

Lana Gramlich said...

I hear you on the spam. Once they find you it only gets worse. I've had to enable word verification on all 3 of my blogs now. <:(

As for my pet peeve, it's probably "How long did it take you to paint that?" think fine art painting is a "by hour" job? If so, rest assured that I'm getting slave wages, at best! How else would you like to spit in my face today?
My standard answer to the question has become "40 years," since it's taken me a lifetime of practice, work, learning & experience to get to where I am now.
A secondary peeve is all of the comments implying that only children would like my work. Sure, kids make up part of my clientele (& I encourage it by lowering my prices even more to accomodate them,) but believe it or not, I do paint "grown up" things, too.

Anonymous said...

Heeeee.... I personally can't do Spam because it brings to mind what people my age in my area of Texas call "strike food". Very unionized area down here with the refineries, and when I was young they would go on strike. Alot. And the dads would have to go find work whereever they could, leave town if they had to, and the family had to tighten the budget and ration the groceries. Everyone my age can remember that, and every person has their own memory of a cheap food product used WAY too often that they refuse to eat now. My husband's is "noodle stew" which was stew in a can over flat egg noodles. Mine is Spam or tomato soup and cheese toast. And powdered milk. echchhhhhh....

Too funny!

Robin Lemke said...

Currently, my only pet peeve is not being able to fix the sub-par ending on my book. GAH!

Angie said...

My spam crop has multiplied recently too. :/ I think the economy is hitting the spammers too, and they've stepped up their efforts. I've been considering putting in a captcha, but have resisted so far and am still deleting spam by hand. I refer to it as stomping the roaches; no matter how many you squash, more will scuttle in soon. [sigh]

My pet peeve is when I tell someone I've been published, and they raise a knowing eyebrow and ask, "Yes, but have you been PAID...?" With a smirk which is meant to let me know that they're in the know and aren't about to be fooled if I'm one of those self-published fakers. I want to wrap my royalty statements around a brick and brain them with it.


Jan Mader said...

Here's a good one. I've had lots of books published for children but I still get the question:

"When are you going to write a real book?"

I thought I was!

Melanie Miday-Stern said...

I hope with the word verification that your amount of SPAM goes down. I haven't had anyone spam me lately; however, I haven't posted since Thanksgiving.... go figure.

Keep plugging away and let us know when your first novel comes out! I would love to read a novel from someone I know!

Lyzzydee said...

I had to do the same with my blog and I don't get as many visitors as you do!!!

Bernita said...

A minor peeve: You give someone a copy of your book and they never, ever make a comment about it, not even a conventionally polite "nice story" type of comment.
You're left feeling they thought it was so bad they couldn't even bring themselves to lie to you.

Crystal Posey said...

My biggest pet peeve is that new writers refuse to google. I, by far, don't know everything. Just the basics, b/c I'm just writing and learning for now. But even I know a lot of the answers to questions agents get asked on twitter and their blogs. Seriously, google people.

your other wife said...

People who try to trick me into eating wild game.

alex keto said...

my favorite is the line, "so what do you do in real life?"

Corrie Howe said...

Did you notice that your ads are all about self-publishing? I find that kinda funny.

I'm sorry that people are not very thoughtful about their comments. I guess mostly it is out of ignorance, as a result of being self absorbed?

I've noticed an increase in Spam too, but not that kind of increase.