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Communication Policy
 


Novelists (even low-selling crappy ones) become buried in reader mail and out of sheer self-defense for their time they must grow increasingly aloof.Heinlein went through this. So have Umberto Eco, Donald Knuth, and Neal Stephenson. Heinlein is deceased, so you can't write to him. Stephenson explicitly discourages unsolicited contact, and promises not to reply to email. So does Knuth.

Knuth explains:

"Email is a wonderful thing for people whose role in life is to be on top of things. But not for me; my role is to be on the bottom of things. What I do takes long hours of studying and uninterruptible concentration."

Stephenson explains:

"One of the peculiarities of being a novelist is that there is an irremediable numerical imbalance between outgoing and incoming bandwidth. In other words, a novelist writes a single document and sends it out into the world, which is a fairly low-bandwidth procedure. But if the novel is read by many people who try to send communications back the other way, the novelist is quickly overwhelmed and becomes unable to function. There is nothing that can be done about this imbalance, and so I apologize in advance if I do not respond to incoming e-mails. I will not take offense if e-mail is sent to me, but in return I ask that you not take offense if I fail to answer."

For a more long-winded restatement of the above, visit this link.

Eco does them one better:

"I don't even have an e-mail address. I have reached an age where my main purpose is not to receive messages."

Wow. Gee.

The Bach pianist Glenn Gould eventually forsook concert performances and live interviews (telephone only). Look, artists are eccentric (that's Greek for "out of the center"), and they will do anything to maintain the production of their art.

And now, Boston T. Party explains:

"Just because an author has penned some books does not obligate him to spend the rest of his days explaining them and/or himself to strangers. Authors write books. We're nobody's oracle, guru, coach, or spiritual leader. We certainly are not applying for the position of thinking for others. Authors write books; readers read them."

And that's as far as most authors would like the relationship to go. Since both parties have already enjoyed "value received" there is no ethical claim to more from the author (especially when the reader clearly got his money's worth from the book). Imagine an author informing his readers, "I've recently concluded that the information and pleasure from my book is worth considerably more than the $19.95 you paid for it, so please drop a $50 bill in the mail to me at your earliest convenience." Yet readers routinely ask, if not demand, what is virtually the same thing from authors!

I am already in distressingly infrequent contact with people I know and love, so it amazes me when perfect strangers send me 8-page letters full of questions and expect a reply! This sort of thing has become a problem. It's nothing personal. It's just that writing takes an incredible amount of time and concentration. I should be more specific: uninterrupted time and concentration.

 
   


YOU MAY EMAIL BOSTON ONLY TO:

  • Correct any significant factual errors in my books. Typos I'm already aware of. Also, if I was unclear or contradictory about something, then I'd like to fix it.
  • Inform/direct me of/to further/related information/people which may be useful.
  • Inquire about hiring me to conduct a shooting class in handgun and/or rifle.
    (I charge $135/day/person, with a $1350 course minimum, plus travel/lodging.)
  • Ask a concise question (subject to terms below).

If you wish to be put on Javelin's email list for news and upcoming books, then please direct your email to Trent Wilson, our marketing director. I don't handle such things. You can reach trent at:

"Trent Wilson " <javelinpress@yahoo.com>

   


BOSTON'S TERMS FOR PROVIDING
A CONCISE ANSWER TO A CONCISE QUESTION

  • The concise question must be emailed. I no longer lick stamps or return phone calls.
  • Concise means "brief" and "terse" and "to the point."
  • I no longer discuss untaxation, the IRS, etc. After 10 years, I'm tired of all that.
  • There must be no urgency or deadline involved.
  • It must not be a question answered or answerable by my books or website.
  • It must be answerable in 100 words or less. After that, it's consulting @ $150/hour.
  • I must receive something of roughly equal value in exchange (see below). You request something of value from me? Fine, I'm a trader, so I need something of value from you. Otherwise, you're asking for free 1+ minutes of my life (a consumable and thus dwindling asset).

For example, want to know what ammo seems to work best in FALs and where to buy it? No problem, I can tell you. What I'd like, as more of a courtesy than anything else, is for you to first log onto the Amazon.com page for Boston's Gun Bible and post a review of it. Once Amazon has added the review to the page (this will take a few days), cut/paste it in your email to me.There is a positive correlation to the length of your review and the length of my reply. I'm not asking for brown-nosing here, but for a sincere and helpful review. You want a sincere and helpful answer, don't you? (By the way, one answer per review.)

This may come across as heartlessly Ayn Randian, but I have learned that things given away for free tend to have nearly zero value to the recipient. In my earlier years as an author, I gave away many books to friends and even acquaintances. A sadly high percentage of those books remained unread. Why? The recipient had nothing invested in the gift. Evidently it's just human nature. So, by requiring value-for-value I am confident that my time in helping you will not be in vain. Also, if posting a review is not worth your time, then you've saved me the time of replying to your unsolicited question. Fair's fair.

Think I'm being mean or harsh or heartless? Hey, at least I am still willing to provide strangers with up to 100 words of my time! Many authors won't/can't even offer that.For your convenience, here are the page links to all of my books at Amazon.com:

Now, with all that said and understood, my email address is:

"Boston" <javelinpress@yahoo.com>

DO NOT send me your PGP key unless I've requested it. I do not send email from my home or office - only from public terminals (which don't have PGP installed, unfortunately). Hence, I cannot use your PGP key unless I took home your email on diskette and cracked it open there, which is an obvious hassle. Won't do it. Mailvault is SSL and PGP secure, and it works from public terminals. It will/must suffice. If you have anything to say which requires more security than that, then I would be naturally reluctant to hear it. I may be extremely private, but that does not mean that I am "up to" anything (or ever want to be).

 


HOW TO GUARANTEE THAT I WILL NOT REPLY

  • Fail to include a SASE (self-addressed stamped envelope).
    Note: I discourage letters, because they take an inordinate amount of time to reply to. However, I'm occasionally quite the softy. For example, I can spot pre-1946 penmanship on an envelope from across the room, and I consider it a personal sin not to reply to veterans of Iwo Jima or Omaha Beach, or to their widows. Many elderly readers are not Netizens. Since they won't be with us for too much longer, I happily make exceptions for them. At a 2001 gun show I met a gentleman who is a vet of the Battle of Britain. After flying Spitfires over the English Channel, he went on to fly in Jimmy Stewart's bomber squadron. For me, it was an honor to help Burgess with his bags.
  • Ask me for advice/answers that I have already covered in my books or website. (My public email address is found only on our website, so by receiving your email I know that you know of www.javelinpress.com, and thus the answer.)
  • Ask me about untaxation, the IRS, the Internal Revenue Code, etc. Yes, I know that such were the focus of my first book, Good-Bye April 15th!, but after 10 years I'm thoroughly tired of it all, not to mention all the hand-holding people seem to want. Do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Some newer websites to visit: www.freedomabovefortune.com (Joe Banister, ex-IRS Special Agent who saw the light) www.freedombound.com (Brent Johnson, sort of my untaxation "son") and www.wethepeople.com
  • Ask me for what amounts to free consulting, such as "how do I get alternate ID?" Or, "how do I set up a trust for asset protection?" Puhleeeze. Look, if your question can't be answered in 100 words, it requires consulting. Don't be greedy. Note: If I cannot answer your concise question under the terms stipulated below, then my fee for one-time phone consulting is $75 for a half hour. I'll pay for the domestic (not foreign) call. Send cash - no check or M.O.- at least 30 days in advance, along with the date and weekday evening time you'd like to talk, and several questions you have in mind. Include your day and evening phone numbers and email address, and I'll contact you to confirm or to suggest an alternate. If we cannot agree on a date, I'll immediately return your money. I won't spend it unless and until I actually earn it by having consulted. Until then, it stays in the envelope it came in.
 


WHAT ABOUT READER PRAISE AND KUDOS?

I greatly enjoy and appreciate unsolicited kind praise from my readers. I can't imagine an author who wouldn't. Books should touch lives, and those affected have an understandable urge to reach out to their authors. I've had many readers contact me to say that I am their favorite author, and that is very humbling.

However, I've an idea. Instead of merely emailing or writing me with an "Atta Boy!" why not post it on Amazon.com and send me a cut/pasted copy? Why tell just me? Why not tell millions? That helps me and others. (If you don't know how to use the Internet or or send email, then now is the time! Simply go to your friendly library and ask how to surf the Web and how to set up an email account at Yahoo. It's all free!)

In summary, I thank you all for reading and enjoying my books, and for respecting my need for uninterrupted time in order to write. I hope to continue to author many more good books in the future! I wish you all health, wisdom, courage, and joy.

JAVELIN PRESS
Gillette, Wyoming 82717

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