Wednesday, September 06, 2006

The National (Writing For) Free Press

Several times this year (four) I've been spammed by The National Free Press. This is a web site that basically asks writers to write opinion pieces simply for the joy of doing so. I've asked all four times they've spammed me (their emails are disguised as invitations to write for them and as far as I'm concerned if you are asking me to donate my time for free, you are soliciting something from me... unrequested. That's spam) I've politely requested to be removed from their database.

This does not sit well with their publisher who feels the absolute burning desire to respond to my request for removal with absolute indignation that *I* a *writer* would dare to NOT support them.

Apparently he can feed his family on good intentions. I cannot.

He says out of "20,000 emails that have gone out across the country", I'm the "only one" to "have a problem with" the web site and the publication.

Right. I surfed over to their forum and found a whopping 37 posts. Yeah, the other 19,999 are so enthralled with the site that they are burning up the forum. Not to mention the obvious spelling mistakes, even on the front page of the site. Sad, sad, sad.

But the publisher feels he must let me know he's a Very Important Person with "many" of his publications "stored comfortably in the National Library of Canada". Ooooh... colour me impressed. And, he assures me, he has "connections".

Then he obviously used his incredible powers of research to Google me (snort) and didn't find ANY of my articles. Shall I tell him that I got married last year so 3/4 of my articles are in my previous name? Nah...

Buddy, look at life beyond the internet. My articles are actually published *in print*. He tried to find me on CBC's web site and couldn't... because he's was at the wrong web site.

He critiques my credentials - mentioning that I have no experience writing about free speech. Oh, I see... I have to have experience writing ABOUT free speech to be included on his site? Well, gee, I guess I fall short.

He throws in a little bit about how "no one has ever heard of me"... and fails to realize that I don't write so that people will "hear about me"... I write to make money. It's my job.

And he tipped his hand to being a very poor researcher. Here's a tip (for free!), if you are going to say you "know" something to be a fact... make sure you actually know it and aren't guessing.

Poor, poor, small-minded man.

The only thing that makes me mad is that I was almost late picking up the kindergartener. I've now wasted far too much time on The National (Writing For) Free Press.


angelfeet said...

If he is so down on your writing credentials and skills, why on earth are you being spammed to contribute your writing (for free or otherwise). I hate it when people just don't accept that we don't want their stuff/special offer/chance for global domination and then can't even be polite enough to say "Well, I don't agree with what you're saying but thank you for your feedback". All he's got out of it is bad publicity.

On a different topic, congratulations on your beautiful new little girl.

Serenity Now! said...

Ha! Good point!

dianeinjapan said...

Too bad this guy took the low road and responded in such a mean-spirited way. If an offer like this is truly spam, it annoys me, too--but as an almost-"fledgling" writer, I might not necessarily resent having someone ask me to write for them, even for free. And actually, someone did ask me recently if I might sometime be willing to contribute something to their start-up site (they'd visited my blog). For me, it's an opportunity (and I believe wholeheartedly in the site's mission). But again, I'm new to publishing, and I know I might not feel the same if I'd been a paid writer for a while.

Anonymous said...

The fact that he wasted that much time being an asshat says a lot about him.

Fuggetaboutit and stare at the CUTENESS that is your daughter. She's likely a better factchecker than he is already.


Serenity Now! said...

I should mention that I'm not down on ALL writing for free. Just the insinuation that some writing should always be free because we writers just write for the sheer joy of it...

Anonymous said...

Although you are a published author, many people start and then continue to submit material to a variety of sources - not always for money, but for the love of writing and our right to free speech.

It sounds like you are too absorbed with making money - all the time.

I visited the site, it seems fine and I understand the concept, it does not appear to be a spamming business, it appears to be a new media system created by someone who knows what they're doing. If informing writers all around the world is an evil thing, then count me in, some of the editorials are from people from around the world and the topics are embroiled in the freedom of the press and free speech.

I don't think you gave a fair assessment and in retrospect - we have no idea what your tone was in your correspondence to the publisher.

Just my two sense worth - thanks.

Serenity Now! said...

Hey, you're entitled to your two "sense".

I am focused on making money. It's my job.

Would you do your job for free? Just for the gosh darn love of it?

Spam is spam.