Michelle's Pillow Talk
Author Michelle M Pillow's take on important events. *cough* Yeah, that's it.
Saturday, August 26, 2006
Mailing Lists and Finding New Authors
Recently, someone was asking about mailing lists, and adding readers to them. I was curious to hear your thoughts on it.

Here are mine...

I only add people if they request it. I HATE when I'm added to lists and didn't ask to be. It's a pet peeve. My inbox is flooded enough and I equate unasked-for newsletters and mailings to spam. A lot of readers go to groups, blogs, yahoo, or websites to keep up with authors and books. Then others like the mailing list. At most, I'd simply send them a request to join or to say 'hey, if you're interested, check this out' and leave it at that, but not automatically sign them up. Mailing list sign-ups (unrequested) happens to me a lot and I tend not to buy the book/author (or even read the message) because I keep track of that info elsewhere--like websites. I think other readers might feel the same way.

Then again, some other authors might have had luck doing this and I'm just not 'aggressive' enough, lol. Maybe it's because I spend so much time on the computer, that I like things as streamlined as possible. I don't do it, but would be interested if someone out there has and has gotten great response by sending out such mailings. (and no, I won't personally hate or ridicule you if you do it, lol--so don't get the wrong idea) If you have, how do you go about it--aside from contest sign ups?

IMO If you run a contest, I'd make sure they know they're being signed up. Or, send a confirmation email so they know what they're doing. If they get back and say, yes! then add them. (also a good way to weed out bad emails depending on who you go them (IE paper sign ups) ) I guess spam just annoys me personally to the point that I will not buy the medication/book/special enhancement/computer software more out of principal than desire, LOL. Weeding out the inbox already takes a long time.

So, how do I personally get people on the mailing list? Post the link everywhere--website pages, myspace, occasionally sig lines, during interviews or online features, contest posts (separate from contest--unless it's a join my mailing list contest). Make mention of it when answering fan mail--because they already like you :). Then, I offer the alternative Yahoo newsletter group so they can decide how they want to do it. I can either send them the mailing list email personally each time a book comes out, or they can go through Yahoo and manage it themselves. (but not everyone uses groups or yahoo, so it's nice to have an alternative)

I'm curious to hear reader and author thoughts on this. Feel free to give ideas, rant (do not blast an author by name, please), or just give an opinion.

Readers, have you ever found a new author by mailings? How do you find new authors? What are your thoughts on Mailing lists and what information do you like to recieve? Do you have other preferred methods of being reached by new authors?

Authors, what methods have worked best for you in gaining new readership?

Michelle M Pillow
  • Sign up for Mailing List(book notifications): michelle_pillow@yahoo.com Subject: Add me to your mailing list
posted by Michelle Pillow @ 11:32 AM  

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  • At 12:54 PM, Blogger Erin the Innocent said…

    I hate hate HATE being automatically added to lists/groups. I also HATE when people use lists of members of a group to auto invite. That drives me crazy and 99% of the time I delete them or unsubscribe myself.

    I find new groups/lists by going to favourite authors websites (often by looking through their favourite links pages *s*) and by watching the groups I'm on. A lot of authors use their group addresses in their signature lines. Many groups also invite authors to participate in party days. That is a fantastic way to get new people in your group. Contests are good too, I agree that there should be a disclaimer on the contest page that people who enter are added to the newsletter though.

  • At 1:27 PM, Blogger Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said…

    Usually when I run a contest, I will then follow up by sending a newsletter invite to the participants. I've gotten some sign ups that way. I hope it doesn't annoy anyone. I figure if someone wants to participate in my contest they might be interested enough to join my Yahoo announcement group. I never do auto-signups and I delete messages from anyone who has auto-signed me.

  • At 3:21 PM, Blogger Christine said…

    Great subject! Authors and other loop owners take note!

    I have to tell you it pisses me off when authors (and/or other loop owners) add me to their lists without my consent! They are just as bad as any frickin spammer IMO!

    I've been added to several different lists within the last month - of authors I've never even heard of, which is why they are adding people unsolicited I'm sure.

    I'll never look at their loop, site or probably books either because of it. Hey, when I get a spam email I don't go clicking on all the links now do I? Nope.... delete. But I shouldn't have to take myself off an authors loop that I didn't even put myself on.

    Oh, and no, I did not get on those lists by entering into any contests or anything like that, I'd never even heard of these people before, hell still don't know who they are other than authors from the looks of it.

    Let me clarify something... If I came across a book from one of these authors through the publisher site or from someone else's recos. and I thought the excerpt/blurb looked good, I wouldn't turn it away.... I'm not dumb and I love to read! I don't have to like the author, what he/she does for me to like their writing style and stories. LOL

    I do not in any way shape or form appreciate having my choice of being on a mailing list or not being taken away from me so PLEASE do not do it.

    Christine *miffed*

  • At 8:49 PM, Blogger Kate Davies said…

    Good topic!

    I'm running a contest on my website this month, and right below the entry form is a highlighted notice that by entering the contest, you will be added to my newsletter group. I *think* that's clear enough, but I'm sure some people will get the newsletter and go, WTF? I didn't sign up for this.

    So, hmmm. I may have to rethink, since I don't want to #(%&^ any readers off.

    Thanks for giving me something to consider!

  • At 9:29 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I tried to post this earlier, lost my connection (storm came), and then tried again earlier, but the page wouldn't come up, so this time it came up...wish me luck! (If you see this, guess what? It posted!)

    I wrote my response on your MySpace blog, for anyone who wants to read it (it's kinda long, LOL), but in short, I hate being added without my consent. Even when I do want to join a group, I use different email addresses for different purposes, so I may post on a website with one address, and use another for subscribing to a newsletter or group.

    As Kate points out, most authors mention on contest pages that you'll be added to their newsletters and groups by submitting the form, and I'm okay with that. I'm given fair warning, and it's my choice. I'm not in the least offended by that. Unfortunately, she's right, that some people still don't get why they've been subscribed to a group. Frankly, one of the things that really annoys me (and this doesn't necessarily have anything to do with this topic) is to see a group post that says, "Can you please remove me from the list?" The instructions to do so are usually at the bottom, and with Yahoo! Groups, it's particularly easy.

    As I said to Michelle on her MySpace blog, I really like it when I have a choice of joining a newsletter, rather than just a group (for chatting with others). I'm on too many lists as it is, and I can't join chat lists, no matter how much I like an author. Let me enter a contest and sign up for a weekly or monthly (or random, but not everyday) newsletter, and I'm happy.

  • At 6:39 AM, Blogger Jen said…

    I know it's considered bad form to say "me too!", but I have to say I agree with Jen completely.

    I hate being added to a discussion mailing list. The promotional / announcement lists don't annoy me as much if they are only say twice a month. I simply set up a filter and scan them.

    But I get way too much discussion email I CHOOSE to get for someone to add to it with some I do not want. That is spam, for all intents and purposes.

    And to answer the other question for readers - I find almost all my authors thru other readers' recommendations. I have limited time online for anything - and I have more interests than simply reading email. I also game online - so, I'm a big "subject" reader.

    I found Mandy thru a promo post she put on a mailing list after I had already gotten to like her as a participant. In other words, she didn't join the list JUST to promote - she participated. Anyway, I went to her website & fell in love with Daughter of Darkness. Then I met you thru her - and the rest is history.

    Jen Z.
    (no I'm not dead)

  • At 6:52 AM, Blogger Michelle Pillow said…

    FYI, for those of you wanting to see Jen's bigger post on myspace...
    Same subject as this blog

    I think a good solution for the contest sign up is to send a confirmation email, or to say to the new member right on top that 'You subscribed to this newsletter as per the contest for...to unsubscribe...'

    I agree that it's annoying to have to go and remove myself from lists I didn't want--even more of my time wasted.

    Oh, I thought of something else. Once I had someone take me from no mail to individual mail. I wanted to read from the board when I had time, not fill my already overloaded inbox. After I asked why, they said it was to have people participate and since I really didn't have time to get into it, I just delisted. Hey, I've got over 60 active lists, lol. If they were all coming to my inbox, I'd be in trouble.

    LOL, you don't know how much email Mandy and I get saying. I found you from the other. IT'S GREAT!

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