I don’t sign up for many email lists. Once I do, it takes a lot to get me to unsubscribe. But I wanted to share a recent experience of how one fellow author succeeded in upsetting me enough to make me unsubscribe:
I won’t name her here, but she’s awesome. I love her posts and she has a lot of great courses for authors. So I signed up. For several weeks, I got quality authorly tips.
Today, I opened my inbox to discover an email from someone else, not the person I subscribed to. Turns out she needed to take a medical ‘leave of absence’ from authoring/blogging/emailing. So she had someone else come in to take over emailing her list while she is out.
When I hit the Unsubscribe button, I was asked for a reason why. Here’s my response:
Don’t like getting emails from someone other than the person I subscribed to. If you need to go on leave, then go on leave. Or batch a bunch of posts and drip them out while you’re gone. Or rebrand as “Writers Tips” instead of [Author’s Name Removed] But handing the keys to my email inbox over to someone else is a violation of trust.
I understand the author wants to keep reinforcing her brand. She is using repeated contact to stay on “top of mind” with her audience and not let that connection atrophy. But there are two problems with the way this was handled.
She’s not just running a writing advice website. She’s running a site where She give writing advice. She’s branded herself as an authority to give writing advice. Her name is in large, capital letters on her website, email list, and all things surrounding her brand. In her training videos, she looks right at you and tells you how she is going to help you succeed.
I signed up to her email list. To get writing tips, sure, but to get writing tips From Her. There are about 50,000 writers tip lists out there. I chose her list because I trusted her, and she violated that trust.
Keep this in mind when you start any kind of online business. It’s called branding. And it needs to be consistent, or you’re going to lose people.
Consistency is more important than being top of mind.
You might be thinking, “Why you mad bro? That’s just like ‘guest posting’ on a blog, right?”
No, it’s not.
Your blog is your own playground. Fill it with the toys you want. Change the colors. Change the graphics. Let people post and comment away. It’s your house. When I come to visit, I’ll see whatever content you’ve chosen to decorate with, even if it’s not your own.
But my inbox is mine. And I’ll decide what goes there and what does not. And if I trust you enough to let you add content there, that doesn’t mean you can just let other people add things to that space. That would be like me inviting you over to play cards on Friday but instead, you send someone else in your place. Very not cool. Especially from someone who gives marketing advice to authors.
Respect the inbox of your email subscribers.
I don’t email my list unless I have real news to share, and there is definitely plenty of exciting news and free stuff coming soon. Sign up here for free ebooks and updates! I promise I won’t hand your email over to anyone else.
If you’re looking for a quick, dark, well-writ-read, look no further. My sister in darkness, Carole Lanham (USA Today Bestselling author of The Reading Lessons) is re-releasing her awesome collection of short stories – The Whisper Jar.
The revised version of The Whisper Jar includes creepy pictures and a new cover which out-creepifies the old cover, and that is no small task.
Review of The Whisper Jar
The following is an excerpt from my original review:
The Whisper Jar blends dark and sometimes paranormal situations into the really-real everyday world with clever writing, an Edgar Allen Poe sensibility, and a splash of Neil Gaiman’s Fragile Things. Carole Lanham writes in her own carefree but intuitive voice. Audiences will slip into these short stories as easily as they would a warm bath, only to be surprised at how quickly the waters deepen. Those looking for a variety of dark character studies, whimsical situations and disturbing relationship dynamics will enjoy The Whisper Jar.
Fellow Minnesota Author Michael Merriam asked if I’d participate in a virtual blog tour about writing process. Actually, he told me if I didn’t do it, “terrible misfortune was certain to come my way! Very soon!”
Fortunately, I know Michael is a liar. The man makes up stuff all the time. Good stuff. Check out Michael Merriam on Goodreads if you don’t believe me.
But it sounds like fun to participate. (And why take a chance, right? I mean “terrible misfortune”? Yikes!) So here is some info about my current work and writing process:[Read more…]
2013 was an altogether odd year. Keep in mind that we weren’t even supposed to HAVE a 2013. The world was supposed to end on 21 Dec 2012, and… well, it didn’t. Kinda like that old roommate of yours from college who dropped by to stay “for a couple days” and now he’s been living with you for several months…. Yeah, it’s kinda like that. No one really knew what to do with this bonus year, and I can safely say that few people made the most of it.
This is not a “Part 2” to Goblin Secrets, as some reviewers are saying. (Since William Alexander told me this himself, I’m inclined to believe him.) Ghoulish Song is a “companion” to Goblin Secrets. Both books are set in the same world at the same time. The city of Zombay, its magic, witches, Goblin-acting-troops, squidskin coats, and clockwork guards are revealed through both novels. The two books can be read in either order, and you can read either story without reading the other, but reading them both offers synergy and depth to the stories.
William Alexander’s writing is “Neil Gaiman Good” which is about the highest praise I can give to writing. The words on the page are simply a pleasure to read. Pacing never lags, and the story is fantasy with a refreshing splash of steampunk. I praised William before for balancing his fantasy with realism, and once again, he delivers. [Read more…]
A few disclaimers about this review before I get started:
I know Joel Arnold personally. He is a fellow member of the Minnesota Speculative Fiction Writer’s Group.
I purchased Northwoods Deep from Joel directly.
I do not owe Joel money from an old gambling debt involving Jagermeister, a Trampoline and a Super-Soaker. No matter what he says.
I was not compensated for this review. (But I do get some love if you follow my links to Amazon, which helps offset my webhosting fees and various addictions which may involve Jagermeister, Trampolines, and Super-Soakers…)
File Under Horror
With that out of the way, I can tell you it’s been a while since I’ve read real Horror like this. It was refreshing to read something that was not chilling, dark, or edgy, but actually horrifying.
If Twilight read Northwoods Deep, it would die of fright. [Read more…]
If anyone ever asked me how I got started writing, I’d tell them, “Well, I had this idea for a story, and I decided to write it.” That first part is easy. The second part, not so much. Lots of people have great ideas, but they don’t decide to…you know, like Nike says – Just Do It.