give it a personal touch

Authors Announcing New Releases In Mass Notifications

I’m going to tread very lightly here because I don’t want to piss anyone off. I’m not even sure I have a set opinion about this…I’m talking more in a general sense right now and I’m wondering how other people feel about it.

On any given day, I have at least 75 regular e-mails in my aol account. I’m not going to mention my yahoo account because I use that mainly for yahoo groups and to e-mail people in Italy. My aol e-mails vary between readers, my publishers, other authors I know, family, and a few personal friends with whom I’m in constant contact. And then there are e-mails from people asking about promotional things and advice regarding a book they are writing. And I answer each e-mail the same day.

Lately I’ve noticed a rash of mass e-mails being sent by authors regarding new book releases. I’ve had other authors I know tell me they are receiving the same mass e-mails. Most of the time these are notifications from social networks and they can fill up an in-box faster than my mother asking questions about her new iPad. These notification e-mails take time to open and read and they always have that same fake-cheerful used car salesman tone that leaves me questioning the sincerity with which they were written.

I don’t do this to other authors. When I have a book released I post about it here on the blog and then post about it on social networks. I’ve always believed that announcing a new release is more about giving out detailed information than a sales pitch. I’ve never sent a private message out to masses of strangers (spam?), and especially not to other authors. It’s not a big thing in the grand scheme. It’s just as easy to delete these notifications, dismiss them, and move to the next e-mail. And when it happens once in a while, I don’t think anyone cares. But when it starts happening constantly, I can’t help but wonder how other authors feel about it. Or for that matter, how readers feel about it. Like I said, most authors I know don’t do this. They find polite, subtle ways to promote their new releases that doesn’t include spamming everyone in the universe. I don’t mind notifications in Yahoo groups; that’s what Yahoo groups are for. And I respect authors who play it safe this way. I also respect them for knowing and understanding that just because you have a large group of friends on facebook and goodreads, these people aren’t really your friends and you don’t know them personally enough to contact them with a mass notification.

Maybe this form of spamming works and I’m not getting something. Maybe people don’t mind mass e-mails and notifications from strangers announcing the release of their new books. But I do know that if an author contacted me privately and told me about his or her new book release, taking the time to give this personal touch, I’d have a great deal of respect for them and I’d look forward to buying and reading the book. I personally love one on one interaction with other authors and can’t wait to help them promote their books. But the mass notifications seem so lacking in so many ways. And I don’t think I’d want to take a chance doing this myself.

Pushy is okay sometimes. Pushy works sometimes. I’ve always been attracted to pushy people. But then there are times when pushy becomes obnoxious and out of context.