[Reading Rage] Dear authors: If I want your newsletter, I can click “subscribe” myself.
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.
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.
THIS IS NOT OKAY.
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.
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.