Sometimes I ask myself if Nigeria is the real cradle of civilization. After all, it does seem that all of us have at least one wealthy relative living there, though perhaps ‘had’ would be more appropriate given we only find out about them after their passing, when we inherit their massive fortune. All we need to do is pass on our full name and bank account details…
I have recently been promised fortunes from long lost relatives all over the world. Just today I discovered poor old long-lost-uncle Ali in Hong Kong kicked the bucket and I’m his sole heir (don’t know quite how I managed to shoulder my parents out of the way). Luckily I had my email address publically displayed on my website so they could easily find me to give me the good news. In fact most of my junk email comes from my publically displayed email address.
So how do you make yourself accessible to your readers without drowning in spam (yes, any promised fortune IS spam)? Easy, when displaying your contact details remove things that a computer can read, and replace them with something only a human can read. Put square brackets around the parts of your email address that are not words, and turn those same parts into words: natalie[at]nataliejepotts[DOT]com –I am sure this is not foolproof, but it will cut out a huge chunk of junk from your inbox.
You are probably wondering why, if I know the secret, am I still getting the promised fortune emails? The truth is I love these crazy emails, so I haven’t changed my clickable email address on my site. I have a Russian bride email that makes me laugh out loud every time I read it. There is a lot of material in these scams which is begging to be turned into a story, and that quirky almost Yoda-esque English they often use sets off my imagination like you wouldn’t believe.
Besides, I’m a struggling writer. I could do with a huge fortune! I’d better contact Uncle Ali’s lawyer and find out if there is somewhere I can send a wreath or something.
Happy Writing, and NO you do NOT have a relative in Nigeria, at least not a wealthy dead one that you didn’t know about!!!!!!!!!!!!