By Evangeline Jennings
The following is a true story. None of the names have been changed, because no one is innocent.
Last week a person calling himself “John wisniewski” used our Submissions page to leave us the following message.
Interested in speaking about “Cars and Girls” in an email interview for a magazine?
Now obviously I am interested in getting coverage for our book. It’s fucking good and people should hear about it. But equally, I’m not an idiot and I’ve had more than my fair share of dealings with interweb stalkers and weirdos, and there were several red flags here.
- John wisniewski gave his second name a lower case W twice
- He didn’t mention the name of the magazine
- He used the Submissions form to contact me
But publicity is publicity, so I replied:
Sure, and thanks for asking.
Which magazine are we talking about?
Please use this email address – <redacted>- and I will get back to you much more promptly.
There then followed a rapid fire exchange of emails. Almost as if “John wisniewski” had been sitting there waiting to hear from me, or other suckers.
The magazine would be “For Book’s Sake”? Have you done an interview with
thank you Evangeline
Um. Just a thought, but if he was interviewing me for For Books’ Sake wouldn’t he a) be able to spell the name correctly and b) know whether I had already been interviewed by them or not? But publicity is publicity, so I replied:
No, I haven’t done an interview with FBS. They did review the book, however.
John’s messages were now arriving more quickly than I was responding
OK to send me a copy of “Cars and Girls” to read before the interview,if you wish to do it?
Is PANK your magazine?
Is “PANK” my magazine? At this point I was pretty sure I knew what was going on. But publicity is publicity, so I replied:
Which format would you like?
When I hit the SEND button, this note was already waiting for me.
My address is John wisniewski
Is a physical copy OK with you? thanks Evangeline
Actually no. I’m broke. Electronic copies cost me nothing to send. Paperbacks cost real money. And I am already sure you’re a phoney and a chancer. But what the fuck, let’s play along.
I’m out of stock at present, but can order one up. Where should they send it?
My address is John wisniewski
At which point, in the kindest possible interpretation, “John wisniewski” thinks he’s getting:
- a free book
- a shot at using me and our book to get an in at For Books’ Sake
- a shot at submitting work to my magazine “PANK”.
And I go off to do some research.
First, I tracked down the very lovely Jane Bradley, founding editor of For Books’ Sake, who happened to be at a wedding at the time. Our conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey Jane, a guy called John Wisniewski is telling me he wants to interview me for FBS and asking me to send him a copy of the book to an address in New York. All my spidey senses tell me he’s trying it on. Is he by any chance legit?
Jane: No, I’ve never heard of John Wotsit so feel free to send him packing or send him my way and I will!
Me: Thanks, Jane. I can deal with it. He seemed an obvious chancer but I just wanted to check with you before I fucked him off. Have a lovely time.
Jane: OK. thanks love!
Me: No problemo
And then I have a chat with my friend Google, who tells me that there is a freelance writer called John Wisniewski who has contributed to the LA Review of Books, Grey Lodge Review, Horror Garage, Paraphilia Magazine, and Sensitive Skin Magazine. Is this the same “John wisniewski” who is trying it on with me? I don’t know. But my “John wisniewski” is definitely the same guy who has sent the following requests for interviews via the medium of Twitter.
Hi werner interested in an interview for a Film magazine?thanks john wisniewski (Yes, that’s Werner Herzog)
hi how are you alejandro. john wisniewski (Yes, that’s Alejandro Jodorowsky)
hi albert interested in an email interview for a magazine? thank you John wisniewski (Veteran award winning documentary maker, Albert Maysles)
So at least I am in august company. Well, that or “John wisniewski” is now desperate and slumming.
Anyhoo, after I spoke with Jane, I sent John a further message:
Therefore I must decline both your kind invitation to send you a free book and the opportunity to waste my time answering your questions.
That was four days ago and I haven’t heard from him since. Still, on the bright side, publicity is publicity and “John wisniewski” did indeed make it into “PANK” magazine.