Friday, December 7, 2012

Scrivener, NaNoWriMo, and Twitter Trolls.

This is going to be a bit of a departure from my regular blog post direction. Instead of talking about writing itself and my daily life around it, I want to talk about some of the organizations and people that I've encountered in my journey so far.

NaNoWriMo and the Office of Letters and Light are highly responsible for me being where I am on my journey today. I'd heard from many podcasts and professional writers guides that the key to being a successful writer is to "write every day" and to "finish something". NaNoWrimo 2011 was instrumental in helping me believe I could actually write a full length novel to completion (or at least a really awful first draft).

Until I hit that 50K mark on my first NaNo I had only written short stories to completion and had started several novels that never got past about 30K. Not only did I Win my first NaNo, I went on to complete the draft I was working on. It's been torn apart and rebuilt from the ground up into the work it is now solely because I found the hunger to follow my dream of being a writer re-ignited.

They are a non-profit organization that subsists entirely on donations, their store and supporter funding.

Scrivener is a sponsor of NaNoWriMo and one of the big prizes for participating or winning NaNo is a 20% or 50% off code for their product. I grabbed the Scrivener demo near the end of October to see if I'd like it. It had an incredibly easy learning curve, helped along by an awesome tutorial, and an intuitive interface. I don't see myself using anything else to write on for the foreseeable future.

There was a surprise at the end of NaNo. Their winner code redemption on their site had a little bug that took not 50% off the purchase price, but 100%. I didn't even notice until I'd finished checking out and it hadn't asked for my credit card. In a panic I sent them a Tweet telling them of the issue without spelling it out for all of Twitter-dom. I also fired off an email in hopes that they'd be able to correct the problem before they lost too much potential revenue.

You see, I'm not one to balk at free software, I'm too cheap. Their offer wasn't meant to be free though, and the last thing I wanted was the folks at Scrivener, or the folks at OLL/NaNoWriMo to end up unhappy with how their relationship was working. On top of that, Scrivener was a great product that actually improved my writing experience and made my life so much easier that I figured they deserved my money. It's not like they were asking for much.

I received several responses. I was very impressed and awed at the speed and graciousness of the responses from David at Scrivener. I received a few personal responses thanking me for my honesty and quick action at reporting the issue. When I asked if there was any way I could give them the money owed I was told they'd be sending out a form response later in the day. I've copied that below (bold is my emphasis).

Hello Scrivener User,
As you finally got united with your much deserved NaNoWriMo winner coupon code for 2012, you may have noticed a slight glitch in our web-store when you secured your Scrivener licence. Our clumsy fingers meant you acquired Scrivener for absolutely nothing, rather than the 50% discount we promised. Many of you have already been kind enough to approach us, bringing our attention to the matter and indicating a willingness to pay for Scrivener. You're under no obligation to do this, nothing underhand will happen to the registration details you received, but we'd naturally appreciate your support!
We're trying to make this as painless as possible, so going via PayPal is probably the cleanest solution. If you have an account, please sign in and make your $20.00 (Windows) or $22.50 (Mac) payment to If there is going to be any cost associated with you making this transaction, please deduct this from what we'll receive. Under no circumstances should you have to be paying more than 50% of your Scrivener licence rate. PayPal have provided this fairly helpful link
Once again, this was a mistake on our part so you are under no obligation to pay now for the 50% of the licence fee that our systems failed to ask for. Our sincere thanks to all those who have contacted us to inform us of this issue and to offer to pay the balance.
Many congratulations on completing 50,000 plus words during November! We hope you'll be able to complete many more as you continue to use Scrivener.
All the best, David

Um, wow. Talk about stepping up. Kudos to David and the folks at Scrivener and thanks for yet another reason to love the product and the company.  Needless to say, they received my payment shortly after receiving that email.

There was a darker side to this story though. For pointing the problem out to them on Twitter someone clearly took offense.
The tweet was removed before I could respond, and they had several other tweets (also removed) directed @ScrivenerApp complaining about how they were being ripped off by not getting the software "free" like everyone else because they were "late to the game".  Clearly whoever is "responsible" for this Troll account needs a bit of a reality check.

I'll have another blog post later today covering some of the other organizations and people who had given me so much needed support and help along the way. This one is getting a bit long and I have to get back to doing the job that pays me for now.


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