We’ve all experienced the highs of finding a new-to-us author. We read their latest book, connected with it on every level, and wrote the review to end all reviews. Then we promptly go out and stalk them on every social network. Oh, and we subscribe to their newsletter.
When the email comes welcoming us to the newsletter, we feel we have arrived! We are on the inside! We are THE ‘need-to-know’ of the infamous need-to-know crowd. We’re informed our email addresses will never be shared or sold, and we’ll only receive ‘1-2’ mailings a month.
Which is how it begins. But it takes no time at all for ‘1-2 mailings’ a month to become 1-2 mailings A WEEK…if not more. And we’re not “getting just the facts, ma’am” – we hear about the author friends with new releases/group giveaways/new anthologies. We see the snapshots of the renovated office/bathroom/deck. And vacation photos are shared with us – Thank you!
What’s wrong with these types of mailings? Not. A. Thing. And to be fair, some readers are EXCITED to receive these types of ‘updates.’ The issue is eight mailings have been received instead of 2, but ONLY TWO contained any real author information – release dates, sales, boxed set specials, new projects and author appearances. Now multiply those six ‘chatty’ mailings by ten more authors, (and that’s a LOW figure for the average avid reader), and SIXTY emails have been delivered from KNOWN/READ authors. Add into that all those contests/Rafflecopters/Facebook parties where subscribing to newsletters and mailings is another way to earn entries, and sixty easily becomes a drop in the bucket. This is in addition to all the other emails from the dentist, the kids’ school, Overstock.com, and Aunt Grace’s detailed treatise about having her gallbladder removed.
Seriously, are all these mailings truly necessary? Are they important enough for readers to wade through the madness just to see when the book they’re dying to read comes out? And of course, that information is NOT in any of the mailings received.
Many, MANY newsletters now come with invitations to join authors’ READER GROUPS. Special sales, giveaways, excerpts, teasers and the like, are promised ONLY to group members. What I want to know is when does the reading portion begin? Haven’t seen any in the groups I belong to. Maybe I’m hanging out with the crowd. Maybe they read only when I’m not there. *Glare* But, when will I have time to join in if I’m stuck in my email opening multiple mailings? Um, and I’m also supposed to be reading books…annnnnnd, I have something called a LIFE!
I get it. Facebook is the big, evil monster devouring posts and limiting access between authors and readers in a bid to “encourage” paid advertising, but remember, “He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster…” (Nietzsche). Perhaps in an effort to circumvent Facebook’s silent strong arm tactics, readers are being inundated with info…whether they want it or not.
The author platform is critical to an author’s success, and newsletters/mailings are necessary components of that platform, but wouldn’t it be better to streamline mailing lists and curtail “miscellaneous” mailings, than to just throw it all out there and let the readers sort it out? I know of an author who has multiple mailing lists sorted by pen name AND genre! It’s a win-win situation as readers have a say in what they receive, and she’s getting her information to the readers who want it, with little or no worries of unopened emails or getting unceremoniously dumped in the Spam folder.
I have no idea what it costs to have, maintain, or expand mailing lists…haven’t gotten that far. But I do know as important as it is to have one, every effort should be made to make sure, 1) the people on it want to be there, 2) that their information is well guarded and updated, and 3) that the listed are RESPECTED and not subjected to one never-ending infomercial.