Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Nick: you make me sick

This is an actual transcript, word-for-word, of a horrific bucket of swill that just appeared in my inbox. I'm still trying to believe it happened, and decided to address it right away before my fury abated. My comments follow Nick's nice intimate little message.

Hi Margaret,

You know better than most that putting your writing "out there" takes a tremendous amount of courage; readers will find and comment on even the simplest mistakes. At Grammarly we know the feeling - and we've made it our mission to improve writers' confidence. Putting our money where our mouth is, we'd be honored to sponsor your next blog post with a $20 Amazon gift card.

In case you haven’t heard of us, Grammarly is an automated online proofreader that finds and explains those pesky grammar, spelling, and punctuation mistakes that are bound to find their way into your first draft. Think of us as a second pair of digital eyes that can spare you the cost of hiring a proofreader. If you'd like to join our 3 million users and try the premium version of our proofreader for free, let me know and I'll make it happen!

Please send me the expected publishing date and topic of your next appropriate blog post (ideally something about writing) so I can give you all the details you need in time.


P.S. Let me know if you ever find yourself in foggy San Francisco; I’d love to grab some coffee. :)

I have no idea what-the-fuck this is, or even if it's on the level. It may well be a hoax perpetrated by that old Gandalfian wag, Matt Paust. But I have a queasy feeling that it's real. 

I don't even know where to begin! "Hi Margaret" is a good start: who ARE these people, and why do they feel so completely confident to address me as if I'm an old friend? But it gets worse. That first sentence offends me in the way that only patronizing, ignorant bullshit can offend me. "You know better than most" is meant to massage my brilliant writer's ego: oh, we know you've been there, you've taken your lumps. "Putting your writing 'out there' takes a tremendous amount of courage." No it doesn't. I have no courage whatsoever, and I've been "putting it out there" since I was eight and hand-wrote ten copies of my first novel for my friends and relatives. It's a little like saying to a woman, "You know, it takes a tremendous amount of courage to wear that dress."

"Readers will find and comment on even the simplest mistakes"? What universe does this asshole live in? My blog receives relatively few comments (except the 43 I got for the "I See Dead People" post that garnered over 73,000 views), and since Matt makes most of them, he knows better than to pick at my  "pesky" grammar, spelling and punctuation mistakes, not that I make any. (Or hardly any.) But it seems their mandate is to "improve writers' confidence" by helping them spray toxic chemicals on those squirmy little errors and wipe them out. 

This Grammarly thingamabob, whatever it is, is supposed to save me "the cost of hiring a proofreader". I have published two novels which received almost universally positive, even glowing reviews, so do you think I need a fucking PROOFREADER? This sort of invasive, mind-polluting trash is just what makes the internet such a dismal swamp, when it could be so much more. But Mr. or Ms. Patronizing Asshole saves the "best" till last. "Please send me the expected publishing date and topic of your next appropriate blog post (ideally something about writing) so I can give you all the details you need in time." 

OK, Nick or whoever-the-hell-you-really-are, THIS is my "next appropriate blog post" and I hope you see it! And I would LOVE to see what would happen if I tried to hunt you down in San Francisco so we could "grab some coffee :) " My personal theory is that you don't exist, that you are in fact a corporate mirage, an evil and impersonal force out to squeeze the impoverished blogger dry of his or her last few dollars. 

From the first fake, cheery "Hi, Margaret!" to that last noisome verbal oilslick about "grabbing a coffee", this thing sucks like a vampire with 100 insatiable mouths. It has the fixed, sociopathic grin of a Great White shark moving in for the kill.

But hey, Nick baby, if you'd send me that gift card for $20, maybe I could afford a few ropes, whips and chains and a box of condoms for my next trip to San Francisco. 


  1. Looks like some guy trying to start a new online business, fishing for clients. He could use a writer to polish his pitch, obviously, but I wouldn't let this pump up my blood pressure. The guy's clearly an amateur.

  2. God, this irritated me, the chatty tone which was so goddamn false. An ordinary ad would've been irritating, but not as bad as this, so bloody condescending. I don't need some freaking machine to correct my spelling. I think I'll fly to San Francisco and look him up.