Today I was followed on Twitter by someone who described himself as a writer. I almost always follow writers back, so I did with this one, too.
Later today I saw that I had some DMs; whenever I have a follow back session, I always get a rash of automated ones, as I presume you do, too. You know:
- Hey! Thanks for following. If you'd like to connect on Instagram, Facebook, and thirty-three other sites too, here are all my links (no, why would I? I don't know you. It's a Twitter follow back, not the beginning of a meaningful relationship).
- Thanks for the follow. Check out my blog/book at linklinklink (and my motivation for doing so is what, precisely?)
- Hi! I know automated messages are awful, but I so want you to see this! (Listen. Acknowledging that auto messages are awful doesn't make it okay to send them. If you know, why are you doing it? If anything, this makes it worse).
I've also had my share of links to pleasesendmeyourmoneynow.com, or gofundme or whatever it's called, as I am sure you have. But today I got an absolute peach. It was a long message from this guy asking me (and no doubt everyone else who'd followed him back) for money to get his book edited and illustrated. He claimed it was something he'd wanted to do all his life - so why hadn't he managed to save up the cash for it? He sent the links telling me how great Kickstarter is, and how I could send him money. He even very kindly said that if I would like to spread the word for him, I could include the link in my tweets.
|I hope you don't mind me using this, Agent-X comics, it's so perfect!|
I couldn't resist - says it all :)
He didn't even send a genuine, non-automated hello, first.
I couldn't believe my eyes. Are these people completely lacking in any social skills? Would they go up to a complete stranger in the street and ask them for money to edit their book? If you're raising money for a worthy cause, yeah, tweet away (but please don't shove it in my face), and I hope you reach your goals, but setting up one of these online begging (because that's what it is) projects because you're too stupid/tight/poxy to save up the money to pay for an editor - well, either start saving now, or learn to edit your book yourself.
And what of Patreon? Users appear to fall into two camps:
- 1. Those who have been supplying advice/a service for some time, free of charge, and are now asking those who follow them if they wouldn't mind donating to help them carry on doing so. I have zero problem with this, and have in fact become a Patron of a book blogger who has done a great deal to support me. He has earned it.
- 2. Those who think they can get people to sponsor their hobby, with big promises about the rewards to be earned. Inevitably, these rewards are worth little. What they don't understand is that you have to be providing this service/advice/whatever for a while before you start up a Patreon, so that people know what you're offering is worth the outlay. Trying to get Patrons in this way is like going to a publisher and saying, please can I have a publishing contract, and then I'll write a book.