Followers of this sprawling mess of a blog will recall that a few days ago, I responded to an offer from someone who claimed to be a young writer looking for work. I get a lot of these requests, and generally they’re from robots. So when I respond to these messages, I am responding to an email spammer. That can make me rather flip. Apparently it also makes me sound Canadian.
Turns out Cliff is real! And he wrote back! And… he was pissed off. And he hates Canada.
Anyway, in fairness, it’s only right that I present his response here.
Not sure what life did to you that made you this way, but its unfortunate. Bottom line is i’m not a very experienced writer, but I one day wanted to try to make some money doing what I love. I know that day is not close, and likely there are some stages in between, one of which is gaining experience wherever I can and just getting my name out there.
So to keep it short, I knew the best way to try to gain experience was to offer to write for free, and since really i’m just looking for experience and to get out of my comfort zone a bit, I’m open to write about pretty much anything. So I made a catch all template and compiled a pretty decent list of websites that in some regard I thought were cool or at least decent enough to attach my beautiful and regal name to, and reached out. I’m sorry I didn’t personalize the reason for Muddled Ramblings making the cut in my template, if I did it might sound like this
I think your site is pretty cool. I’ve always been a fan of blogs that are about nothing and everything at the same time, that contain good writing, and manage to post at least somewhat consistently. I thought maybe my writing, although not on the level of yours (I guess it’s easy to write well when no other humans will talk to you), might be close to a decent enough caliber to get published on your site. I have lots of ideas, but probably the one that’s going to fit best with your site that looks like actual poop, will be a recent interaction I had with my new puppy that deals with me pulling a piece of feces out of his rectum while not in the process not getting and excrement on my prized nike boots. What do you think, would you be into that kind of shit? (see what i did there, with the double entendre for shit, get it, I’m like the Jay Z of crap puns, wink emoji, hehe)
Anyway, hope you’re doing well in Manitoba Quebec or whatever fuckin canadian shit hole you probably hail from, and if you’re not, well i’m sorry about that, I know the effects of inbreeding sometimes manifest later in life.
OF COURSE I had to reply. Like moth to flame, I am compelled to fling myself at boorishness. I have to admit, had I looked up #MAGA before I wrote my reply, I might have answered differently — and his letter only reinforces my opinion of those who chant that mantra. Anyway, this is my response:
You see the thing is that you sent your query to an address known pretty much only to email spammers. I get offers like yours all the time, and they’re invariably from article factories where people are paid to shovel out shit promoting whatever product the factory is marketing that day. Forgive me if I assumed you were one of those. The fact I responded at all is an indication that your pitch was better than most, however; there was at least the glimmer of humanity in it.
Crafting a pitch letter is difficult, but you need to keep in mind whom you are competing against: shit factories and spammers. Links to articles set off the spam alarm, while offering to write is shit-factory move. Personalization is key, as you point out yourself, and is also a good chance for flattery: “I really enjoyed your episode about…” In fact, your response, underneath the anger, contains the seeds of an excellent pitch. Beautiful and regal, even.
Writing and marketing are very different skills, but it pays to have a thick skin when doing either of those things.
I’m glad to hear you’re writing for the love of it, and I wish you success. I’m not sure what it was about my message that flipped your switch — ironically, I thought my reply was most likely to bring a brief smile to a tired shit-factory marketer before being thrown in the trash, as much of the humor was at my own expense. Perhaps next time I’ll try to make it more clear who my assumed audience is. Had you responded with something approaching a civil tone, we might have been able to work something out. I’ve never had a guest writer on the blog, but the idea was starting to appeal to me.