In Which It Is Time To Invoke New Policies With A Stomp Of The Wendigo’s Hoof

It’s time, I’m afraid, for some Terribleminds-flavored Wendig-themed policies up in here.

Or, put differently, it’s time to be a dick.

I hate to do it but, lately I’ve been getting… lots of emails. And the occasional tweets or Facebook message or G+ missive. I’m getting lots of folks asking me for lots of different things.

And most of the time, for a number of reasons, I can’t help you. Or I’m the wrong person to ask. Or you should know better. So, here I am. Being a big ol jerky-faced jerk-machine.

Apologies in advance. But here are the declarations. (They’ll go up in the menu bar eventually.)

Will You Read My [Novel / Script / Manifesto / Insane Screed]?

Mmmnope. Sorry! I’ll try to be polite about it if you ask, unless I’m having a bad day, in which case I’ll just point you to this. The reasons I won’t read your [whatever] are many.

I’m busy. I have books to write. Blogs to post. And there is a 14-month-old human tornado who fills my life with joy and chaos and sharp toys that stab me in the sole of my foot.

I’m also busy reading other stuff. Research. Work from colleagues and friends. Weird porn.

I also have books and things I want to read, but don’t have much time to do as it stands.

I also don’t want you to sue me.

I also don’t want to read your work and have it inform my work.

So, no, I won’t.

This (and many of the “policies” below) isn’t necessarily true if you and I are friends. Like, actual friends or at least well-established colleagues, not like, “Person I occasionally tweet to online.”

Will You Blurb My Book?

I may. But, like I already said, I’m hella busy.

Here’s my current blurb rules:

I prefer hard copies to electronic copies whenever possible.

If I don’t know you, you’re better off having an agent or editor contact me.

I can’t commit to a short deadline. (“I need a blurb by tomorrow at 2:3o!”)

I cannot promise a blurb, but I can promise I’ll try.

I may not like your book. Not because it’s bad but because, hey, tastes are tastes.

I am far less likely to consider blurbing a self-published book because, regrettably, the line between “unpublished manuscript” and “soon-to-be-self-published book” is razor thin. I am pro-indie author but I’ve seen far too many self-published books that just don’t meet the level of quality needed.

If I know you, your chances just went way, way up.

Will You Retweet My Tweet?

Probably not.

I know, it’s for your Kickstarter. Or your friend. Or your friend’s mom. Or charity! Who doesn’t love charity?

The problem? I get a lot of these requests. And I like to think that, while I’m no “tastemaker” (the very word makes my mouth taste like I just licked a dirty battery), I hope that when I do retweet something it’s something that my audience will dig. Maybe I like it and I want them to like it. Maybe it’s not for me but I think it’ll be for them. Maybe I just got a wild hair up my ass. Who knows?

Occasionally I’ll get the sentiment — “But I retweet your stuff!” — and to that I say, I appreciate that. However, my sincerest hope is that you’re spreading around stuff because you honestly like it, not because you think it’s some kind of favor. I mean it with no bile on my tongue when I say, please, don’t do that. Retweet my stuff because you think it’s awesome, not because you imagine it’s going into some kind of weird social media credit account. And if my stuff isn’t awesome, for heaven’s sake, don’t spread it around.

And, regarding charity: I am all for charity. Everybody’s got their own charitable inclinations and I don’t judge where or how you send your money to charity (only that I hope you do). If you really want me to check it out, you can bounce me the link over Twitter, and ask me to look at it.

Again: if I know you or you’re a friend, the rules are different.

Can I Write A Guest Blog For You?

Nope!

I’m sorry. I’m not accepting guest blogs at this time. I’d love to but frankly, I think your Awesome Blog Post would do very well at your own Awesome Blog Space. That said, if I ever open up a slot for guest posts, I will announce it here at the blog. I shall be traveling a great deal come fall, and may have some space. I can’t pay, but will give free books. Don’t pitch me a post, though — look for announcements on the blog.

Will You Write A Guest Blog For Me?

It’s unlikely! I do write guest blogs sometime for:

a) People I know and like!

b) People who are awesome and I respect and admire!

c) Big-ass blogs with big-ass traffic, because I am a big-ass word-whore!

d) Blogs that pay money! (Which is to say, a real rara avis.)

Can I Be A Subject Of A Terribleminds Interview?

Maybe! You can apply at terribleminds at gmail dot com.

I interview storytellers and writers of any stripe.

I am again prejudiced against indie writers. Not universally, of course, so you’re free to try. But I get indie writers hitting me up 2:1 and much of the time I’m not precisely impressed.

I am looking for people with interesting stories interested in then talking about stories. Just having a book out is not really a guaranteed “great interview.” What’s your hook? Pitch me on the interview.

A warning: I am seriously, seriously back-logged with interview requests. Interviews and responses are at present slow to come as the queue is quite, erm, treacly right now.

Can I Interview You For My Own Personal Online Space?

Lucky you! I love to talk about myself and my upcoming books!

Hit me at terribleminds at gmail dot com.

I Want To Send You Something Via Snail Mail!

Is it ticking? Twitching? Leaking? Vibrating? Screaming profanities at me from within its cardboard prison? Is it a Dybbuk Box? Is it Gweneth Paltrow’s head? IS IT ALL THE EVIL IN THE WORLD?

You can hit me up at terribleminds at gmail, and I will maybe give you an address. Maybe.

Where Is My Comment?

You left a comment at terribleminds, and it ain’t here?

A few things may have happened.

First, it’s awaiting moderation. I’ll get to it sometime, er, today.

Second, it’s clogged in the spam chute. It happens. I’ll hopefully find it, if not, use the contact form to alert me that you think you ended up somewhere in the pipes like a wad of oily hair.

Third, I deleted it. Rare, but does happen. Maybe I didn’t like your comment. Or I thought you were a jerk, troll or spammer. (This is not a cheerocracy, I’m afraid. Your right to free speech doesn’t apply at my blog.)

Can We Work Together?

Do I know you? Then maybe!

Are you a stranger? Then probably not!

Can I Repurpose Your Blog Post?

You may not. I mean, okay, technically you can — nobody is stopping you. I’m not going to call John Q. Internet Law, Jr. on you. But I’d really appreciate it if you didn’t nab my content and make it your own. You can, however, excerpt the blog and link back to the original. I’d appreciate the traffic driven here not, y’know, elsewhere. You nabbing my blog content is not a favor for me.

I have on occasion made exceptions for this for people I know or for awesome blogs with big signal boosts (Ted Hope has reblogged a few of my posts, as has the SFWA). But those are edge cases.

Are You The Wendigo, The Ancient Beast Of Native American Lore?

I am. But only when I’ve had a lot to drink.

45 comments

  • Hhhaahhh!!!!! I love all of these.

    I can’t believe the absurdity of people. I’ve never asked anyone for a blurb, and I seriously doubt I ever will.

    And yo, indie writers out there… You don’t need blurbs. Hell, if it’s your first book, you don’t rate a blurb.

    And big secret… You can actually make plenty of sales without one. Trust me.

    Just write a good book, price it cheap (in the beginning), and you’ll get a few sales from folks other than family and friends. (Believe me, someone will buy your book for .99 cents at some point, or give it away for free.)

    If it’s good, these folks will tell others, and voilà, you’re on you’re way.

    That’s it. It’s simple. Don’t bug famous people like Mr. Wendig. Geez.

    Sorry, Chuck. Glad you cowboy-ed up and told it like it is.

  • @Stan:

    Don’t get me wrong — I don’t mind if folks want to write me or whatever. But I’m just getting a lot of the same questions over and over again, and so I felt they needed to be addresses.

    And I do think indie authors could use blurbs — the right blurb can go a long way.

    And ye gods, I am not famous. :)

    – c.

  • Your pain on self-pubs, I feel it. Not to the extent that you surely do, since you are ALL the popular and I’m only a tiny bit sort-of known by a few people… but I get many, many requests from self-published authors. (I don’t like to call ‘em indies because I DO review indies… small press indies.) Most of them are woefully under-prepared to be published, in addition to being sent to the wrong space entirely. “I saw you like to read literary fiction! Please, check out my LITERARY sci-fi novel! IS IS LITERARY I SWEAR. And it’s called The Giant Lizard of Shazmonor, and it is about a giant gecko who comes to learn what true love is.” O_o

  • This post reminded me fondly of a lyric on the second De La Soul record, when people saw the guys in the group as their gateway into the music business. “Every Harry, Dick, and Tom with a demo in his palm.” Which makes me think: would you produce my band’s next record?

    • @Matt:

      Note that I did not include any policy regarding HOT FRESH DOPE DEMOS.

      So, send ‘em my way, so I can steal them and become a HUNDREDDOLLARAIRE in the music biz!

      – c.

  • You aren’t being a dick…you’re being an ass-hole. There’s a fine but awesome line, there. llamas and ostriches are dicks. Cats and alligators are ass-holes. You, sir, are no llama or ostrich.

  • Heya Chuck, will you read my …

    Heh, not really. Sorry to spam up your comments with this, but I can’t seem to find the “contact” button you mentioned, or whatever is more appropriate for this.

    Keep in mind, I’m not looking for tech suport. Heck I am tech support, although not of the web kind …

    “(They’ll go up in the menu bar eventually.)”

    The thing is, I can’t see your menu bar … or your indivdual blog titles, or your questions to interviewees, or your section headings or … hmm … the bold text next to the numbers in your ’25′ lists.

    I like your blog quite a bit, and check it every morning for your latest missive, which I immediately devour with utter abandon.

    But knowing there’s stuff I’m not seeing is like eatjng ice cream without the chocolate syrup. Sure, the ice cream is good, but the chocolate syrup makes it even better.

    Help me find your chocolate syrup.

    Phew, that didn’t sound right …

    Anyway, if you (or anyone else) thinks its a browser setting I can change, please pass it on. And if anyone else has this issue, make a brief post too?

    Since you run your own space Chuck, I thought you’d like to know that at least one visitor ain’t seeing the whole monkey.

    Cheers, and keep up the great work.

    PS. this is a relatively recent occurance … a month or so ago … I think … you made a slight formating change … maybe … Before that it was fine.

    • @Gru’ud –

      What browser are you using? I haven’t made any changes but some folks upgraded their version of IE and, poof, the site stopped working for them properly. Same things you shout out: lost headers and broken menu and what-not. In fact, the site has never been optimally-viewed on any version of IE.

      Various field tests have shown that it looks good on Chrome and Firefox and, to a lesser testing, Safari.

      Whatchoo got?

      Anybody else having the problem?

      – c.

  • Ahh … could be … we recently upgraded to IE 9 … nothing fancy in the configs though, and I see no similar issues elsewhere. But I reckon I should have made the connection …

    The title bar text flashes up for an instant, and then vanishes (along with the active links) into the black field. The other stuff I never see.

    I used to have Firefox installed, around IE 7 or so, which was buggy as hell. But I had to quit running Ff due to incompatibiiies with some internal work websites.

    Maybe I’ll scratch around for it again. It will be my dedicated penmonkey viewer.

    I’m on the road right now and am loathe to make any changes to my rig, but when I get back home I’ll do it, and will let you know here in this subject.

    Thanks for the post back.

  • @ Gru’ud

    With IE 9, you have to view terribleminds.com in Compatibility View. Go to Tools > Compatibility View Settings and add the site there.

  • HOW DARE YOU HAVE A LIFE THAT DOESN’T REVOLVE AROUND ME! YOU BASTARD!

    Ahem.

    Hell, I’m just happy you sometimes notice me when I tweet/comment/enter contests/whatever. It’s a hell of a lot more than most published authors do, so it’s kind of mind-boggling people request some of these things.

  • Standard “No Creepy Stalkers with Poor Writing Skills” terms. Check.

    Really just wanted to say I like the new TM picture up there. And if its not new… well I haven’t seen it before and I still think it’s spiffy.

  • Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!! I usually just duck the questions or babble some incoherent nonsense about how I’m simply not allowed to do such things in my publishing contract, but this is much better. :)

  • You mean, you won’t read my 350,000 word (first volume, of course) manifesto on space vampire pirates that’s Literary Christian Erotica Science Fantasy? And then let me sue you because you use the word “the” JUST LIKE I DID?

    :D

    I’d always assumed these new policies were the old ones, considering this is standard practice for most writer peoples on the Internets. You’re not being mean!

  • Oh, also, if we ever mysteriously become friends (because the only way to make friends is mysteriously, obviously), please write it somewhere IN ALL CAPS. Not because I want any favors – just so I can show it off to all my friends. XDD

    I suspect this may never happen, so this is probably a fruitless request. BUT STILL, JUST COVERING ALL MY BASES HERE.

  • Nope, these all seem fair. Though, jsut checking, when I finally get my book about the purple eyed princess who thinks embroidery is OH SO BORING and decides to be rebellious in a completely boring and non-threatening way self-published, I can totally just anonymously send you TONS of it so you can read it and blurb it and tell me how AY-MAYZING it is, right?

  • “I may not like your book. Not because it’s bad but because, hey, tastes are tastes.”

    This is uncharacteristically diplomatic of you. It might just be bad, or some stream of colourful invective.

  • Good grief, sounds like they’re coming out of the woodwork. As they do. Your stance sounds like what I would call a healthy set of boundaries. (And really, selfish girl that I am, I’d rather you did your work than read someone else’s. I just finished Blackbirds and am dying to see some more words from the inkslinger Wendig.) Good for you, sir.

  • Chuck,

    Thank you for everything you do. It’s awesome. And boundaries are great….I’m still working on mine, and as per usual, you’re setting a good model to emulate.

    Rock on.

    -John
    PS I pimped the blog and the books HEAVILY at yesterday’s DexCon Writing Workshop.

  • Got a little scared when I saw the preamble to this post, but then I read it and was relieved. Psychologically. Not, like, deep breaths and sloppy thank you kisses.

    Upon careful reading I found no rebuke to those of us who get a kick out of sending at-reply tweets of attempted wittiness. You know, in hopes of eliciting the elusive Wendigo Chuckle through use of poorly masked puns on your name. I guess they never get old.

    That said, would you mind doing a blurb for my new self-professionally-published ebook? It’s called The Wend Digs the Chuck. By artistic choice, it features no actual prose by me. Rather, it’s a hodgepodge of posts from your blog interspersed with the words COCK CAKE in full caps to mix things up a little. I’ve already done the work, all you have to do is blurb it. I think it will make millions.

    In return I will send you invitations by snail mail to buy it. Just give me your home address and credit card number (and a roll of stamps), and give yourself a firm pat on the back from me.

  • Can you get to know me? I have a script I want you to read, blog I want to promote with a guest blog and interview at TerribleMinds, AND I want to send you something in the mail. I seems like the easiest way is to just become BFFs.

    I know I seem like random commenter yawping for attention, but I love everything I read here. Heck, this was even worth reading for the Village Voice link that I’ve bookmarked and intend to whip out when any distant relatives want me to read their memoirs.

    But seriously, how about just a two page synopsis? :P

  • Observe boundaries. Check.
    Respect boundaries. Check.
    Understand you are a busy person which may/may not be correlated to your current successes. Check.

    But the Friday Flash Fiction challenges are still a go, right?

  • Oh, god, I hope the flash fiction carries on! Please sir, we want some more! (in good time, on Fridays, in a boundarilicious kind of a way)

  • I’m not 100% sure if I am understanding this. Does that mean the you don’t want me to mention that my new kids novel, MOONGLOW AVENUE, has just been submitted to kickstarter? No? Well it looks like it’s back to the skywriting campaign again. D’oh!

    I guess you already did your part by getting me off my butt and making me actually write the thing.

  • I’m thinking that Mr. “Look at me! I’m jumping on the furniture!” could benefit from reading Chuck’s piece on 25 Bad Writer Behaviors. Probably wouldn’t help, though. Show of hands: how many are more impressed after seeing Tom Cruise jump on the furniture on Oprah?

    Yeah. Thought so.

  • I never read weird porn, just oodles of gay werewolf sex for research because I write smut. And other random stuff I find on the internets–again, purely for research purposes.

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