The One Where I’m Not An Impotent Bachelor

Soft Watch at the Moment of First Explosion by Salvador Dali

Fishing For Love in All the Wrong Places

So, Gmail has this fantastic little gadget called a spam filter. I don’t pretend to know how it works — I just know that my inbox never sees a shred of spam.

The filter is like that little guy in the office down the hall, doing his job in such a quiet, unassuming way that you never really notice he’s there. But if he didn’t show up one day, an apocalyptic avalanche of junk would come crashing down on your head.

I rely on that little guy, and maybe I even take him for granted. But I do check in on him every so often. And when I do, I get a good look at the trash the poor guy has to wade through every day!

Apparently, my spammers think I’m a customer, and they think I’m a customer who’s simply jonesing for their products. They offer me all sorts of peculiarities. They shake their wares beneath my nose and assume that the pleasing aroma of a great deal is just too delicious for me to resist. They think they know me, and they think they know exactly what I want.

The problem is, my spammers have pegged me wrong in three areas:

1. I am female.
2. I use my smartphone to tell time.
3. I’m married.

You see, ladies and gentlehobbits, my spammers are completely convinced that I’m an impotent man looking for good watches and a Russian bride.

These poor, misguided people just don’t get it. Like fishermen casting out lures, they send me all these emails, hoping I’ll bite. What they don’t understand is that they’re casting into a pond that has no fish in it.

Fishing For The Right Readers

When I finished the second draft of my YA paranormal novel Colors of Deception, I gave it to my mom for proofing. My mother happens to be my foremost beta reader, and she makes better every piece of writing I share with her. She also taught English and Literature to teenagers for 25 years.

After reading and marking-up, she handed back the copy of Colors and said, “You can’t write for teenagers like this.”

All I can remember now is that somewhere in the manuscript, I used the word “elucidate.”

Not that I think teens won’t know the meaning of “elucidate.” But that’s not the only adult vocabulary I wrote into the novel. Throughout the story, my style betrayed the fact that I was used to writing to adults. What did I know about writing to teens? I was casting my lures in vain, because the fish I was looking for were in a different pond.

I had to find different ways of expressing myself without losing the flow and feel of the story. Some re-writing was in order. So I did it.

Whether or not I succeeded in hieing myself to the right fishing spot has yet to be proven. Currently, my editor(s) is (are) putting the manuscript through its first paces toward publication, and I’m sure they’ll have some feedback for me on this score. (And, no doubt, on several other scores, too! These are generous but exacting people.)**

But the point is that I’ve tried to narrow my focus to my target audience. Too bad my poor, deluded spammers can’t learn the same lesson.

Yours Truly,

A Female, Married Heterosexual Who Quit Wearing Watches A Long Time Ago

** Since this post went live, Colors of Deception has been published! The genre is listed as “Christian fantasy,” as both my editor and my publisher deemed it adult instead of YA. Click the link to get your paperback copy for $12.99 or your Kindle edition for $2.99!

11 thoughts on “The One Where I’m Not An Impotent Bachelor

  1. My husband, with all good intentions, bought me a watch for Christmas. :o/
    What does one do?

  2. (That face was supposed to be a :/ face, but I guess shocked will do.)

    • LOL, not to worry, Becca. I first saw your comments in my inbox, so the dismay came across clearly instead of complete shock. 😉

      I’m not sure what to do about your watch dilemma, though. Maybe wear it when you go out someplace nice in short sleeves?

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Rebecca Campbell, Courtney Cantrell. Courtney Cantrell said: My latest blog post: The One Where I’m Not An Impotent Bachelor #SHINEonline #blogging […]

  4. Just today I was going to use pander and presumptive, but you made me stop and realize that normal fifteen-year-olds probably don’t say things like that. Perfect timing! Thanks for this post!

    • Sweet! Thanks for the feedback, Jessie! It’s lovely to know I’m already doing some good out here. : ) No, normal 15-year-olds probably don’t say things like that. The only way I could get away with even a smidgen of that in my stories was to make Peter a slang-eschewing word-snob.

      Not that anyone but Peter would use the word “eschew.” 😉

  5. El Edwards says:

    Brilliant analogy and funnily enough, my spammers have made the exact same mistake except, they think I’m bald instead of single. 😉

  6. […] had this in mind when I wrote The One Where I’m Not An Impotent Bachelor. Since I’m female and married, and most of my readers knew that already, that title caught […]

  7. David Bowman says:

    Hieing? Great word!

    “Know your readers” is a common adage for both writers and editors. The partner advice is “Respect your readers.” Without doing these two things, you probably aren’t going to have many readers.

    Two of the “marketing-type” questions we ask of author-clients are 1) Who are you readers and 2) Why would they want to read what you have written.

    For example, in the first question, we’re wondering about such issues as age, social/cultural background, level of education, experience in reading various styles of writing, vocabulary, ability to understand complex ideas, and etc.

    We actually have 4 main questions that we ask, discussed in the article Marketing Questions to Improve Your Writing. Best wishes, and thanks for a great article!

    • David, thanks for stopping by and commenting! I’ll be checking out your Marketing Questions article.

      Just this morning, I blogged about asking yourself why you’re publishing something online. I love that you mention respecting readers, because the whys of online communication have everything to do with respect! If I don’t care about my readers’ thoughts and needs, then I’m probably not going to ask myself why I’m even doing this.

      And if I don’t know why I’m doing something, then I might as well not do it.

      One of the best parts of blogging and networking is finding out how all of these things are connected: writing, commenting, responding to comments, thinking about others’ needs before my own desires, and plumbing the depths of ideas. Thanks so much, David, for sparking further thoughts on these things!

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