This is a tricky one, because you’ll risk alienating real readers that do contact you–but if you explain to them beforehand why you’re responding to them this way, it’ll go over easy.
A few years back when I was releasing work and marketing it, I’d get emails asking for autographed copies of my books. The sender would go into detail about what books they read, what they liked about them, and would give me their opinions on the artists I worked with—on any given title. It was more than a stock, hey I like your work can I get an autograph.
Since the start of the summer, I’ve gotten a few emails telling me ‘I’m a fan of your work’, and then asking, ‘Can I get your autograph?’ For writers it’s a no-brainer, just send them an autographed copy of whatever title you have set aside for things like this—I did this twice in three months, and noticed that both books ended up in Amazon Marketplace (poor fools, no cares about an autographed copy of anything I’ve written!). I still sell whatever stock I have left in my studio, on Amazon Marketplace. I offer to sign it, as incentive to buy from me, as the author, and not the dozens of other sellers, selling my books. :/
This sort of scam, takes money from me.
I don’t fault book dealers that buy copies from readers, or my distributor Ingram, and sell at Amazon Marketplace—because those channels pays me. Preying on a creators sense of accomplishment (taking advantage of their pride or ego), isn’t cool. There’s scores of indie authors out there too that have no doubt fallen for this. It’s stealing pure and simple.
Going forward, I reply:
Thank you so much, I appreciate the compliment. Which works of mine is your favorite, and why? What artist that I’ve worked with do you like best? Do you read BL/yaoi, who is your favorite mangaka?
I’ve done this four times now, and got no reply. I haven’t seen any twitter, tumblr, or LiveJournal posts, complaining about what a narcissistic asshole I am for twenty-questioning someone that just wants an autograph.
I’m going to assume they weren’t truly interested in the first place.