I know, I know… way too long since my last update. But I’ve come across something odd that I wanted to share with folks.
Over the last couple months I have gotten about a half-dozen “fan letters” asking for my autograph. The cover letters are weirdly generic and non-specific – as if it was written by ChatGPT, with random details changed, or based off a plug-and-play template.
The cover letters all give a brief bio (age, occupation) and then talk about how the sender is collecting autographs with a group of friends. Also included is a pre-addressed return envelope (including postage) and 10-12 3×5 glossy cards for me to sign. None of these requests have come from the same person or address as far as I can tell, though the last two did come from the same state. (Different cities, though.)
At first I thought this was some sort of weird scam. Maybe they are trying to get copies of my signature to forge something? But my autograph is a simple “Drew K”, not my signature for legal docs. (No way in hell I’m writing out “Karpyshyn” every time I sign a book!). And why would they need 12 versions if they were just going to forge it?
Then I thought it might be some weird game or internet challenge I’m too old and out of touch to understand. Or maybe it’s an automated program that glitched and keeps sending stuff my way – the IRL equivalent of spam email.
So I jumped on Google (sorry, Bing!) and started digging into it. Eventually, I figured it out (I think).
Apparently there are numerous people out there who send letters to “barely famous” celebrities and request numerous autographs in the hope that one day down the road the celeb strikes it big, so they then can sell the autographs for lots of $$$. All it costs them is a couple bucks for an envelope, stamp, and index cards. Basically, I’ve become a lottery ticket for random fans.
On the one hand, it’s kind of cool. People are speculating that I may one day rise to heights of fame so lofty that they will be able to cash in just by having my name on a glossy index card. On the other hand, it’s a bit insulting… they clearly think I’m obscure enough that I’ll just give away my autograph for free! (I mean, I do give it away for free… but it’s still a bit insulting for them to assume that.)
I guess it’s not as bad as the e-mail scam I keep getting from China. That one’s interesting. First, I get an email alerting that someone is trying to purchase the “drewkarpyshyn.cn” domain in China, and asking if I approve. If I respond saying I don’t approve (what “celebrity” wants their identity stolen for a Chinese domain name?), then I get a follow up email saying my only legal option is to register it myself first. Of course, they offer me the opportunity to do exactly that for a very convenient price.
Don’t get me wrong – these are very small annoyances I pay for the price of my rather limited fame. But I can’t help but feel a bit bad when this happens. It shows how I’m a truly “mid-list” author – well-known enough to be a target for scammers and folks hoping to get rich quick, but not well known-enough to profit solely from my name and fame.
That’s partly my fault. I don’t work hard enough to engage with my fans or build a following. Time Kings of Las Vegas – my Kickstarter novel from last year – was my first full-length book since 2015. I’ve done a lot of contract work for games the past few years, but nothing as high-profile as my time at BioWare. And I’ve been involved in a number of TV pitches and pilots, but none of them have turned into anything that saw the light of day.
Even my current gig at Archetype Entertainment is still mostly under wraps. Eventually that will change, but right now we are still keeping a low profile.
So for the time being I’ll just keep chugging along in semi-obscurity, hoping that I strike it big… and all those folks hoarding my autographs can finally cash in. For their sake, not mine. 😉