As a blogger, I get hundreds of emails a day. Of those, approximately one is a real person emailing me to genuinely correspond.
If I’m lucky.
I adore emails from real people.
In the stack of emails, there are definite patterns that can be found.
PR Firms sending me press releases, hoping that I’ll write a glowing blog post about their newest product in exchange for hi-res images of said product!!
Because there’s nothing more exciting than the promise of hi-res images. I MEAN. I live my life to be able to zoom in on your product as tightly as I could possibly want, taking in every detail with wonder and excitement.
As do, I’m sure, my blog readers.
…Or PR firms offering me even more exciting perks in exchange for writing about their product.
“YOU will be honored to get an exclusive sneak peek at the ‘Our Stupid Movie 2’ MOVIE POSTER!!!”
Seriously?! A .jpeg of a movie poster?? And all I have to do is spend a couple of hours and all of my credibility hawking the inane sequel to your straight-to-DVD movie??
I. CAN’T. WAIT.
I get thrilling offers to share 25 cent off coupons with you guys, invitations to give away smocked clothing (marketers: why not try searching key phrases before attempting to sell – you might find you are hawking smock to the World’s Foremost smock mocker), and even press releases written entirely in Danish.
(Those are the closest to my heart because I can pretend they’re offering me a Lego Factory Tour and want to give me one of everything they make, when in reality it’s just about some new freakish punk rock band called Fhrztengäggich with a feral cat for a lead singer.)
After I sift through all of the PR Firm emails (which would take approximately three days per day to accomplish if it weren’t for the cute little trash can icon on my toolbar), I still have the strange and mysterious guest post requests to deal with.
I get emails at least weekly and sometimes daily from almost assuredly fake people with these not-at-all believable stories about why they want to guest post on my blog. They never tell me what the subject matter would be, and there’s always the tiny stipulation that they’re going to place an undisclosed link (or ten) somewhere within their blog post that points to their “client’s” site.
And if I don’t answer them promptly with a giant flashing NO, they email me back – to check in.
Sometimes they offer to pay me in exchange for this guest posting opportunity, and other times they simply explain that the benefit for me is the post in and of itself. Here’s a direct quote from one of my favorite spins on this strategy:
“I was wondering if you would let me write a post for you? I am looking to get my work placed on high-end sites such as yours and would be happy to write a unique article just for you. I can come up with a title – or if you have something that you would like me to cover I can work from a brief. What’s in it for you, you are probably thinking? I place a sponsor in the post, which could take the form of a linked word to a reputable client relevant to the article. Your free article would be 500 words or more in length and completely unique to you.”
500 words that are all my own?? How could I ever resist such a priceless gift.
(I especially appreciated that his next sentence after what’s in it for me was actually what’s in it for him. But hey. Technicalities.)
However. Even my collection of Guest Post emails deliver me a special jewel every now and then, as was the case recently. Read carefully and slowly, out loud perhaps, savoring the beauty of this document.
On my first read-through of this email I knew it was something fantastic.
On my second read, I caught the fact that he changed identity from Steve to Andy back to Steve again, and I giggled with glee, then shared it with you on Facebook.
After riding the beautiful wave of your responses all day long,
I finally responded back.
The next morning, I had a response. I shook with excitement.
“…sorry to use as Andy as because I generally use Andy which is my alias when writing blogs.”
But besides that gorgeous sentence and the fabulous use of unnecessary parentheses, the real present was that tiny little picture I got next to his name.
It just didn’t look like the mental image I had of the AndySteve I know and adore.
So I clicked through to his Google+ profile and then clicked on the picture.
Oh AndySteve…don’t you know that when you steal a picture of an actor to claim as your own, you should at least change the file name?
Naturally, I continued my investigation by looking Ben Wright up on imdb.
Turns out, AndySteve is also a stunt guy! Who knew?? He is SO DANG TALENTED.
So I responded to his email, hoping to sound interested enough in his project that he would answer me again, but also referencing his acting career.
And then I waited. Because of course AndySteve only emails me in the middle of the night, as it is obvious that he’s not exactly from around here.
But alas. I apparently went too far with my caustic attitude. AndySteve cut off our relationship, leaving me saddened and alone, and once again with an inbox full of nothing that made my heart pitter patter.
I miss AndySteve. Desperately. I have many regrets about the way I handled our relationship. I was clearly not ready for a commitment and sabotaged what we had together.
I keep going back to my draft that asks him to come back to my inbox, to open up and tell me who he really is. Not to leave me without a word. We meant more to each than that.
But I never can hit that send button.
And every morning, when I open my email and read my latest request to hijack my blog, I am reminded of the hole in my heart.
Every morning, their grammar is too perfect, their consistency of name too exact. They don’t overuse the word “as” or have eternal run-on sentences.
There will never be another AndySteve.
And I let him go.