[Reading Rage] Dear authors: If I want your newsletter, I can click “subscribe” myself.

31 July 2013 by 76 Comments


I know that as a blogger who reviews stuff that people want to sell, I am going to get some solicitations. I know this. I’ve mostly come to peace with it. (Mostly.) I’ve even come to peace with the fact that not everyone is a Super Marketer and that they will frequently do it wrong. Some will do it really, really wrong.

Breathe. Breatheeeee.

Despite the fact that I’m becoming somewhat Zen about the whole solicitation side of book bloggery, there are still people who contact me that I just can’t even. One group of people in particular still makes me grind my teeth: people who assume that I am perfectly okay with them signing me up to receive their marketing crap just because I’ve listed my e-mail address on this page.


emotional rollercoaster gif

One author I had a run-in with recently got under my skin by doing exactly this (and a few other things). If you’ve read this blog for more than twenty seconds or so, you might have noticed a few things about us: we’re not overly feminine (especially Tony and Neal . . . who aren’t women at all, ahem) and we don’t like most of what is classified as “chick fiction;” we don’t actually read a ton of popular fiction at all, tending instead toward the literary; and, despite having the word “sluts” in our name, Insatiable Booksluts do not review erotica, unless we stumble upon some Anaïs Nin-esque amazingness. You can imagine the massive eye-rolling, then, when an author who self-publishes chick-fic erotica started e-mailing me press releases, because we all give two shits about it.

I got my first “Good news, everyone!” e-mail from this author on Facebook. (Isn’t it grand that people can send private messages through your PAGE now? SO AWESOME [NOT RLY].) Not wanting to be rude, I just ignored it; anything I would have said probably would have conveyed the overwhelming feeling of “Oh Jesus, not another one” that I was having. Then, her friends started leaving spam on our Facebook wall, at which point I got a wee bit testy. Then, the kicker: I noticed that I was getting frickin’ newsletters from her. I guess when she sent a review request for her BDSM erotica masterpiece, she thought it would be prudent to add me to her newsletter mailing–never mind that I’d never even responded to her first message concerning the SUPER EXCITING NEWS!!1! that she was self-pubbing a sexy, sexy book.

I got two newsletters from her just this month (before I unsubscribed, cos sometimes you only have time to delete shit, yo), and I’ve never talked to her, never signed up for anything, and I don’t even read the kind of stuff she writes. Why the hell would I want her newsletter?


“Well, what’s the BFD? If you’re not going to review it anyway, it’s worth a shot, isn’t it? So what if you get annoyed?”

You know what book bloggers do? We talk to other book bloggers. And if I see someone asking around about this author, or if this author comes up, I’m going to talk about how rude she was. Whoops!

Also, were you born in a goddamn barn? Or raised by people who write infomercials? How would you like it if I just randomly added you to be subscribed to my blog? Or, idk, my furry fetish site? Or my gardening club? (Note: I only have one of these things, I will let you guess which.) You know, just as a “courtesy,” because I’m sure if you knew about it, you would sign up. I’m just doing the hard part for you!



In fact, I’m pretty sure I’m just going to make a list of all of the people who sign me up for their newsletters and start subscribing them to a buttload of bizarre sites. Any suggestions? The more obnoxious, the better.

Maybe I’m giving these authors a hard time. Maybe they don’t realize how incredibly rude they’re being, and don’t know how to find their target audience, and don’t know how to start a dialogue with people who might review their books. Oh, guess what? If you don’t know how to do the business side of self-publishing, maybe you shouldn’t be self-publishing. I can’t think of any other business where people can get into it completely green about what to do and actually expect to make money. You might be a good cook, for example, but if you don’t know how to talk to customers, price menu items, or run a kitchen, you can’t run a successful restaurant unless you learn or you hire people who do know. Publishing is a business and it requires business skills to be successful. Basic business skills include not pissing off the people who might, if angered, get in the way of you getting good word-of-mouth.

If ONE MORE person clogs up my inbox, I'm gonna ragequit the internet.

If ONE MORE person clogs up my inbox, I’m gonna ragequit the internet.

The TL;DR for this post: DO NOT SUBSCRIBE PEOPLE TO YOUR NEWSLETTER. Let them subscribe themselves. If you run across someone you think would really dig your work, you can start off by talking to them like a real, live person. If they still don’t subscribe to your newsletter, they just don’t want your newsletter, dude. Let it go. Can’t win ’em all.

Rant in the comments about rude-ass people on the internet, or tell me who your favorite 80’s band is.


Susie is the Bitch-in-Chief at IB and is also a contributor at Book Riot. She's an ice cream connoisseur, an art fanatic, a cat-mommy of three, and a wife. She runs the @thebooksluts Twitter account and may be slightly addicted.

76 thoughts on “[Reading Rage] Dear authors: If I want your newsletter, I can click “subscribe” myself.

  1. So what you’re saying is that I should sign you up to receive my posts in the mail because you don’t have the time or the skill (I got that correct, right?) to do it. No problem!

    The reason people think they don’t need to know anything is because many of them don’t need to know anything. A woman I half way know wrote a 50 Shades knock off this year, self-pubbed it, and sold 20,000 copies in a few months. The book is crap. She had no clue what she was doing. And, yet, she sold enough books that it makes me sad that I’m not willing to sell out and do something similar but with a dash of quality involved.

    That kind of thing makes it difficult for people to remember that here are such things as courtesy and professional behavior.

  2. My favorite 80s band, during the 80s, was Def Leppard. I still get all nostalgic-y about them, but I wouldn’t say that I really listen to them anymore. So… I dunno, like maybe The Cure?

    And, yeah, people signing me up for newsletters would make me rage-y.

      • My brain is mush right now – this kitchen remodel is making me crazy. Must be all the dust and fumes. And noise. And people in my house. I’m really starting to wish that I had just moved instead.

        Although I still love Def Leppard for nostalgia purposes, now that sj has reminded me off a whole bunch of stuff that I like, I’m going to say The Clash is my favorite 80s band to listen to now.

        And you know who else can stop bothering me? Luminosity. I went ahead and signed up for their free version because everyone kept talking about how great it was and how it would help stave off Alzheimer’s and stuff and it’s super boring. I couldn’t imagine more boring, repetitive games if I tried – I felt like my brain cells were going to actively commit suicide if I didn’t stop trying to “train my brain” with their lame stuff. And now they keep trying to get me to upgrade to a paid membership and reminding me that I haven’t trained my brain today. Aaaaaaaaaaargh.. go away, Luminosity.

        • Yes, sj definitely wins at friending and that graphic cracks me up because almost all of my rants sound just like Samuel L. Jackson in my head.

          I’m afraid that I’m actually going to yell “Enough is enough! I have had it with these motherfucking snakes on this motherfucking plane!” one of these days during a frustrating, but non-snake related incident.

  3. Great post. You said it all. It is so offensive when the first thing you hear from someone isn’t a conversation but spamming you with BUY MY BOOK solicitation. This post is a keeper.

  4. [sips wine slushie to fortify self for rant]

    Twice recently I’ve been signed up for shit (with my blogging email address) without my permission. One was an audiobooks wholesaler (?!) that I ragequit by telling them I was deaf. The other was for some happiness nonsense that I ALREADY UNSUBSCRIBED FROM ONCE, but they keep harassing me.



    Um…Pixies, Dead Milkmen, Hüsker Dü.

    YAY CORY! <3

    I'm off to drink lots of wine and watch Josie and the Pussycats.

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  6. Neopets.

    Sign them up for Neopets.

    I kid you not, my account with them was created when I was about 13. After I lost interest in a couple of years, I walked away, thinking I’d never hear from them again.

    My 25th birthday is in a couple of days. And I *still* get emails and newsletters from them, even though I have REPEATEDLY unsubscribed.

    Seriously. Want to annoy and endlessly hound someone? Well, there sure as sweet fuck is no hiding from Neopets. Those people are in league with the Devil, or something.

    Also good are newsletters from VH1 or MTV. In a moment of reality-show-induced weakness, I signed up for their weekly news almost five years ago and have regretted it ever since. Once again, I have hit the unsub button multiple times. And I’ll be damned if that shit doesn’t still find its way into my Inbox, refusing to be silenced.

    • “Well, there sure as sweet fuck is no hiding from Neopets.” HEE! Ahem, I mean, I’m sorry you’re so annoyed by them.

      Wait, does this mean you have the same email address from when you were 13? Cos I’m pretty sure even my hubs can’t beat that record! How do you keep from going spam-insane??

      • Yup! I’ve had it slightly longer, actually. My dad got me my own website and everything when I was about 12, I think. Wanted to make sure I had a domain settled before they became all cool and trendy–which they did. And everyone snapped them up and overcharged for them and whatnot and he and I just sat there smiling quietly. Anyways, as for the spam, I don’t know really? To be honest it has finally started to get to me a bit in about the past couple of years. But really, I’m just super-duper careful about who I give it out to, and always have been. (My dad, who has had his same email about as long as me, is not nearly so discerning and gets like 300 messages a day I think.) I don’t sign up for stuff very often and if I know that the site I’m registering with is going to get spam-happy, I just use my Gmail dump account. So a combination of luck and being extremely antisocial ftw? =D

      • I’ve had the same e-mail account since 1995, and I don’t really get a whole lot of spam unless it’s something I signed up for. Every once in a while I go through an unsubscribing purge and kill all the things that I don’t want to get anymore, and they don’t usually bother me after that.

        I might be the only person left in the world with a Hotmail account because I opened it back when Microsoft was awesome and then didn’t want to change my e-mail address after that.

        • You’re NOT! My husband has a Hotmail account! (Hence the reference above.)

          You guys might be the only two, though. He has always had the same email address (probably also since 1995 or so) and he doesn’t want to change it now.

          • Hey! I have hotmail, I’ve had it for so long I can’t be bothered changing. It practically has my life history on it… also have a gmail account for junk stuff.

            Favourite 80’s band? Probably no-one’s ever heard of “The Church” outside Australia, but I love “Under the Milky Way”.

            P.S. A friend and I are seriously thinking of writing a naughty novel for ladies over 50 with brains. We’re planning to have lots of fun writing it and maybe make a shitload of money, enough for each of us to not have to work for a little while and do some serious writing. Judging by the comment above about the “50 Shades” rip-off, we might actually have a serious proposition there!

            • :raises hand

              I’ve heard of The Church – I even have two of their albums that DON’T have Under the Milky Way on them. I’m thinking that, after reading the comments section, I need to set up a playlist of all my awesome 80s stuff on my iPod and give it all a listen again.

  7. It seems like a read more blog post from you guys that bitch about authors than I read that actually reviews books. Getting contacted by authors is all part of the game. You should change your name from The Insatiable Book Sluts to simply The Cunts. All the best.

    • LOL. You are adorable.

      Also, if you don’t like this blog, GUESS WHAT? Exciting news–you don’t have to read it!

    • I feel like Mitch has been dying to call you a cunt for weeks and chose this particular post to trot it out upon. Like…”Look everyone!!! I called her a cunt ON HER OWN BLOG!!! THE POWER!”

      The criticism seems to indicate that you should have been aware that authors will contact you…that being contacted by them is in fact…”part of the game.”

      But that criticism seems like it sorta ignores the opening sentence of this particular post which was…” know that as a blogger who reviews stuff that people want to sell, I am going to get some solicitations. I know this.”

      So Mitch seems to have had this slow boiling rage finally bubble over the kettle of his keyboard and tickle the ol’ C-word in one final farewell…along with a cute graphic.

      Farewell Mitch…I’ll miss you dropping the c-bomb on other people’s posts…CLASSIC comment! Unprecedented in the annals of blogdom…THE C-WORD!!! Genius.

  8. I swear to you that the same thing happened to me LAST WEEK. All of a sudden I’m receiving this author’s newsletter. NO! Stahp! I think it’s rude and incredibly presumptuous. Ack.

    • It is SO RUDE. I can’t even understand how people think that is a good idea. I can’t imagine the thought process that would arrive at that conclusion.

  9. I work for a couple of nonprofits and we have weekly eblasts we send out… I’m vaguely certain that there are legal issues with adding email (or other) addresses on your send-out lists without the owner’s permission (opt-in or prior consent or something). I’m not a lawyer, and I’d have to do some research. But I know at my jobs we don’t put any emails on our lists ourselves—people have to opt-in for our eblasts. But ya know, online privacy seems like a free-for-all these days, derp. :-/

    • YAY YOU for having people opt in! It seems like it would be so common sense… and then it’s not for some reason :|

  10. I hate spam. I have a long history of hating spam, dating back to the time when my mom would bake it in the oven with a pineapple on top. I don’t like it on my plate. I don’t like it in my inbox. This is MY dance space, that is YOUR dance space, spammers. Quit stepping on my toes. Johnny Castle you ain’t.

    • Man, I totally started reading your comment with a “Green Eggs and Ham” lilt. “I do not like it on a plate. I do not like it on a date. I do not like it with a fox. I do not like it in my inbox.”

      Wheeeeeeee. I think my brain just went on vacation.


      They are not my most favorite 80’s band but they are up there in the top ten, maybe top five. idk yet if I have a favorite.

  11. Here’s how much I like to promote my own writing: most people in my life don’t even know I write. So I can’t imagine hounding bloggers, sending people messages on Facebook, sending unwanted tweets to people on Twitter (another phenomenon I read about on this blog), etc, about my work. And the idea of one day just deciding to sign people up for a newsletter without permission kind of blows my mind. I guess I just don’t have that killer instinct…

    • Hee! I don’t think that killer instinct probably works out so well in the long run. I mean… there’s connecting with people, and there’s dumping spam on them. Some people don’t seem to see a distinction, I guess?

  12. 1) Boy Meets World is amazing, and it makes me sad that it’s not on Netflix.

    2) Van Halen. I pretty much love any ’80s hair band (I need to get me one of those compilation albums you always used to see commercials for), but due to my own childhood experiences and nostalgia and whatnot… gotta go with Van Halen.

    3) Oh right… rage… grr… argh…

  13. I absolutely agree with you on the ‘permission marketing’ front – if you didn’t sign up for an email newsletter you should NOT be subscribed to it. However, as a PR person whose job it is to pitch bloggers and media, a simple ‘no thanks’ reply to an email pitch is greatly appreciated. It lets me know you’ve received the email and aren’t interested and helps me ensure I don’t continue to pitch you on topics not of interest to you. I’ve been doing this for long enough to know that there are always surprises (there really are such things as slow news days, Virginia). And while I’ve always preferred to make information widely available (broadcasting) while keeping my email pitches highly targeted (narrowcasting), sometimes you just never know. As an occasional book blogger myself (and someone who mostly reads literary fiction), there are always exceptions to my rules. I was curious enough about the whole Pride and Prejudice and Zombies thang to be really excited about reviewing the prequel – although it’s not a book any publicist in their right minds would ever have pitched me on.

  14. People just don’t care. I get constant spam from book tours and all that. I clearly have written on my blog that I do not accept ARCs or anything of that nature. I just can’t stand book tours they are spam to me… Truth. A newsletter would be even worse!
    Angela’s Anxious Life

  15. Duran Duran – John Taylor, just woof.

    I hope to finally get my ass in gear and write a book or two, but I solemnly vow never to spam it all over Hell’s half acre. (Anybody else get the Monty Python skit stuck in their head whenever they hear that word? Spam-Spam-Spammity-spam….)

  16. This right here is why I keep coming back to this site ;)

    Sadly I am completely out of touch with 80s bands *sigh* Mostly because I was only allowed to listen to hymns and classical music through my childhood… I know, I was sadly deprived of something crucial… doubly sad since I teach music for a living.

    I can’t imagine what it is like over here but I start biting off heads due to this issue and I don’t have near the readership that you do. I may have been avoiding my email due to the massive amount of unsolicited information I get.

    • Ooh, I can’t even imagine not having a healthy dose of rock and roll as a child. I met a girl once, in 6th grade, who only listened to classical music. My eyes kinda bugged out; I couldn’t comprehend it. (Not judging, as I like classical music–and opera too–just SHOCKED.)

      You know, I don’t actually seem to get AS MUCH unsolicited mail as other people do. I mean yeah, I obviously get some.. but I think my bitchy demeanor might scare a few people off. #sorrynotsorry

  17. I was thinking how irritating this would be and then I remembered I get something similar from that damn glasses company that just took my email and keeps spamming me (they say it’s not spam, I say it is). You’d think people would realise that sending newsletters and repeat requests makes them look bad and puts the receiver off their product…

    • UGH, yes this, so much. It reeks of desperation–they’re SO URGENTLY needing to get their product right in our faces as much as they think is necessary to make money that they forget we don’t LIKE to be solicited.

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