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.
My friend Saveau has a great saying. “You Deserve The Gods You Worship.”
Likewise, I’ve long said that you deserve your social media streams, email inbox and many other areas of your life that you forget that you control. But let’s focus on one of these input streams in particular – your artistic diet.
The art on your walls
The music on your playlists
The books on your shelf
The background on your desktop
That thing dangling from your rear-view mirror
The colors and embellishments in any personal spaces you alone control
Essentially, all the art in your life that you consume on a regular basis.
“What kind of dining set defines me as a person?”
These things say something about you, in the same way the lines in your skin speak to a palm reader. It reminds me of what the main character of Fight Club says,”What kind of dining set defines me as a person?”
But is this Nature or Nurture? Prescriptive or Descriptive? Do you define your artistic choices, or do they define you? And how can you use this to make your writing better? [Read more…]
For such a small movie, Ant-Man carries a lot of weight.
As someone who grew up on a steady diet of Marvel comics, it’s hard not to be a fan of the Marvel series of movies. The latest entry, Ant-Man, did not disappoint. In fact, it had all the light-hearted, actiony fun of Guardians of the Galaxy. Disney would be proud.
But as someone who enjoys (and writes) kick-ass heroines in my fiction, it’s hard not to be ticked off at Marvel (and DC, and Hollywood in general) for leaving the ladies on the back burner. Sure, Black Widow, Rogue, Storm, Gamora, Scarlet Witch, et al. are definitely included, and they do kick ass, but by now it’s blatantly obvious they are in supporting-roles-only, and they don’t get their own movies.
Fans have been begging DC for a Wonder Woman movie for over a decade now. Instead Warner Bros coughed up Catwoman. And Marvel isn’t helping.
“There are no bad words. There are bad thoughts, bad intentions… and words.”
If you don’t believe that, then you should stop reading this post. Right fucking now. Because having been both an angry young man and served time in the military, I’ve grown and sharpened a fairly salacious tongue. But even I know that there’s a time and a place for swearing, and it’s useful for authors to know when and where it’s OK to do so. [Read more…]
In addition to all other inalienable Birthday rights, I hereby add – The Birthday Purge and the Birthday Ungift.
Birthday Ungift (noun) – Something you give up on your birthday that makes you happy to have it out of your life.
Birthday Purge (verb) – The act or process of choosing and removing Birthday Ungifts from your life.
In addition to receiving gifts on your birthday, you are allowed to get rid of a thing you no longer want, without question, regardless of the value or source. That thing that you are giving back to the world is your Birthday Ungift. The process of ungifting it is called a Birthday Purge. [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.
Don’t let this happen to your book! Make a will for your intellectual property estate.
A local Minneapolis artist passed away unexpectedly last week. I’d done some website work for him over the past several years. Because of the nature of the work I was doing, I have access to much of the deceased’s “digital estate.” I have usernames and passwords for his website, registration, and even some financial accounts.
He wasn’t the kind of person to write down all those passwords and put them in his will. The obituary only shows who he is survived by, which may be quite different from whom he is leaving things to in his will.
My immediate thoughts were “Who did he leave everything to? Did they get all his account info? How can I contact them?”
And more important to the rest of us, “What can we do to prevent this kind of situation?”
The Power Of Low Compels You… …using a slow, minimalist drone.
Low’s Rock the Garden Show A Little Too Low For Some
The fans and critics loving/hating on Low’s extended drone interpretation of ‘Do You Know How To Waltz?’ have been hard to ignore. Listen for yourself, then ask yourself how you’d feel if you went out to the Rock The Garden concert at the Walker Art Museum and paid $55 to get in.
Despite the message from the band, “Drone, Not Drones,” the reaction at the performance was mostly negative, and devolved online into a social media pissing contest. Twitter accounts broke out for and against the performance. Radio station 99.3 The Current (sponsors of the event) raised the question What Does A Band Owe Us When We Pay To See Them Perform? The comments/responses made the exact same sound as Low’s performance – a vaguely annoying drone:
Old fan…never heard ’em before…loved it…hated it…taking chances…ruined a great opportunity… [Read more…]
After a hiatus, Voltage: Fashion Amplified returned to First Avenue, Minneapolis. The combo of up-and-coming local bands crossed with up-and-coming local fashion designers was the brainchild of Minneapolis fashion maven, Anna Lee. While Anna is no longer involved with this project, the fashion committee she gave birth to, MNFashion.org, hopes to carry on the 8th installment in the tradition of runway fashion show crossed with a rock concert. [Read more…]
Since 2003 I’ve been writing blog-reviews here about dark and beautiful things. I’ve used the category Ubercool to reference arts, artists, events and things that I think are glorious. And I never once worried that anyone would read them.
But now, my site traffic and ranking have increased to astonishing levels. My inbox is filled with requests for reviews and offers for paid advertising. You read that right. Paid. Advertising.
“You should have an award. You know, like a seal of approval!”
Ten years ago, I felt like the weird kid sitting by himself and reading Lovecraft while listening to Marilyn Manson. Now I feel like some kind of Dark Fiction Authority. The Goth Guru? The Hipster of Darkness? [Read more…]