I am here to request the opportunity to provide your website with a professionally crafted first-person essay in support of my upcoming novel.

I have an elaborate skincare routine in addition to a few minor areas of moderate expertise, but I understand that for an author who isn’t even on Instagram, your currency of choice is pain. As such, I was hoping you might be willing to consider my short essay on how sometimes I am kind of a little bit sad.

This would, naturally, be provided gratis.

Yes, it is unfortunate that I seem to have written a commercial thriller — and, as such, you are indeed within your rights to question my ability to describe my persistent, low-level unhappiness with the level of agonizing (but relatable!) detail demanded by the discerning reader of personal essays by authors with new books out.

But rest assured, if there’s one thing I’m able to do, it’s ruin a reader’s day.

Nevertheless, perhaps a longer piece — 2500 words of bleak contemplation of the utter inadequacy of virtual human connection in the last, waning days of the Anthropocene — would better suit your needs. I would be sure to mention how all the bees are dying.

What’s that? There are just so many new books out — and all those authors are sad and lonely, too? Well, yes, obviously, that complicates matters.

In that case, might I be able to tempt you with an account of my parents’ divorce? I realize this may seem a relatively mundane topic, but you can trust that my — let’s say five-part — exploration of the dissolution of their relationship would be nothing less than excruciating: My parents are economists.

No, I guess you’re right — I’m not actually that broken up about it. I suppose we can circle back to it when one of them dies.

Well — my marriage kind of sucks, what about that?

It’s not bad. Just, you know, two deeply imperfect people trying to do their best — no, no, wait, don’t go, please, I’m sure I have something that will work for you, life is a corrosive patchwork of misery and alienation and I think about death absolutely every single day, so just tell me what you want!

Oh. Yeah, sure, fine. Of course I can write about sexual assault — you want long-form or listicle?

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Elizabeth Little’s Pretty as a Picture is available now from Viking.