Literary spam from Geraldine Rodeger and Xlibris

Every author loves to receive fan mail. So the other day I open my e-mail account and what pops out but a message with the title of one of my short stories as the subject heading. My first thought is someone must have really loved or hated that story.

Then I opened said e-mail:

Dear Jason Sanford,

A very nice exchange of thoughts and statements ensue in your "One more Expert Speaks to a Jury" which was posted in It would be a shame if your writings were not shared with a wider audience: how about coming out with your very own book?

Self-publishing is your best venue for getting your first book out. You become the master of your own work, having full creative control over editing, printing, and marketing processes. Full ownership rights, you also get to keep. This can also be your stepping stone into getting noticed by the traditional publishers who may want to pick your book up for future editions.

Do e-mail me for more details on how to get started self-publishing.

Sincerely yours,

Geraldine Rodeger
Xlibris Corporation

Wow. Just . . . wow. I was tempted to simply delete the message, but something I'd read in the most recent issue of the SFWA Bulletin came to mind. In their joint essay "The Clueless(Part 1)," Mike Resnick and Barry N. Malzberg rant against the belief that self publishing is the route to literary success. As they say, money flows to authors, not the other way around. Those who believe otherwise are usually naive and inexperienced authors looking for any way to succeed at their chosen field. Unfortunately for them, self-publishing is rarely the path to success.

The reason I'm outraged over this obviously spammed letter is that its plays on the hopes and dreams of people who may not know what that this same e-mail was likely sent to thousands of writers around the world. My suggestion: Run as fast as you can from Geraldine Rodeger and Xlibris.