First, here’s the cover to Your Hate Mail Will Be Graded: A Decade of Whatever 1998 – 2008:
As Bill Schafer notes at the Subterranean Press site, he’s the one who lobbied for this particular cover, and who was I to refuse him? Some would say it captures my natural essence. And while not every piece in the book is me breathing fire (“Being Poor,” “The Speckless Sky” and “The Child on the Train” are all in there, as examples), it’s not entirely out of character for the overall tenor of the book. And wait until you see the back cover. Bwa ha ha ha hah ha! Yes, we’re having fun with this book.
We’re having so much fun, in fact, that we want to include you in the fun. So we’ve decided to have a contest. And here’s the contest, which I’m sure you’ll agree is in keeping with the title of the book:
THE OFFICIAL “HATE MAIL” CONTEST: Write a particularly choice piece of hate mail to me, about me.
Yes, yes. Now’s your chance to tell me what you really think of me. I know you’ve been waiting.
Make it good — and by good, I mean, really nasty. But in a creative way. Just mere profanity won’t do. Make it memorable. Make it worthy of my time. Make me give it an “A” for its overall excellence in the form. Make it good enough, in fact, for us to feature in the book: The winner of the contest will be lovingly enshrined on the book jacket, while up to five additional finalists will have their contributions printed in the back of the book. And all six will get a copy of the book for their very own.
Need help figuring out what I consider excellent hate mail? As it happens, I wrote an entry on how to write me hate mail, and included a follow-up with further discussion as well. Read and learn.
And now: Rules!
1. All entries most be posted in the comment thread for this entry. Do not actually mail me your entry.
2. One official entry per person (you may otherwise comment in the thread about entries, etc).
3. By entering, you agree to allow me and Subterranean Press to print your entry in the book.
4. By its nature, this contest will feature offensive language, and the more creatively offensive the better. That said, remember that the focus of the hate mail is meant to be me, not other people (or races, or groups, etc), and remember that what you write does reflect on you, even if what you’re writing is fake hate mail. Which is to say, you’re better off focusing on me, and trying to keep it amusing. For excellent examples of how to do this, I invite you to check out the “write a scathing review” contest I ran last year. The entries there are full of win.
5. The contest runs through 11:59:59pm Eastern, June 25th, 2008. Winners will be chosen by me and Subterranean Press (or our chosen representatives) and will be announced on this site. We reserve the right not to pick winners if all the entries, you know, stink. So make them awesome.
Got it? Good. Then get to writing that hate mail, damn it. I’m looking forward to all the ways you’re going to tell me I totally suck. Impress me, people.
(And now, what I hope will be a totally obvious and unnecessary warning: The following comment thread is very likely to be full of words, phrases and concepts that will offend lots of people, even if they are offered, as most of them will be, in jest. If you are the offendable type, you’re probably best not reading any further. And if you’re the type whose co-workers or bosses or corporate policies might be offendable, you might wait until you get home to read this. Okay, now you’re on your own.)
Update: One final note for contestants: it’s entirely possible that some of your language (if it’s particularly, uh, vivid) might accidentally trigger a spam or moderation filter. If your entry does not appear immediately, don’t panic. I check the spam and moderation queues fairly frequently and will release the entries as I come across them.