“You’re invited…!”

Blurgh. These invitations always dump into my inbox, which greatly annoys the beagle because it’s her job to manage my email. When she’s feeling particularly snarky, or hungover, she leaves these invitations in so I can share the annoyance. What am I talking about? Those irritating spam-mails that come from authors who sign up with those spam-mail services in order to create blasts about their upcoming event.

“Come to my book launch party!” – Wha’? Who ARE you? If I really stop to figure that out (and yes, I’m embarrassed to say that I have), it’s invariably someone who queried me a millenium ago.

One an author told me she sent me one of these irritating ditties to basically shove it in my face that she managed to get published quite well without me and that I was “a fool” to have rejected her.

Ohhh…a “shove it – watch me gloat” invite. How nice. Makes me want to get off my yacht and fire up the Lear just so I can make the event. And I’m certain she has a Nobel awaiting her just as soon as AuthorHouse sends in her book.

The gist of it is this; even if these event scheduler sites are free, they’re nothing more than spam.And what do we do with spam? Hello, Spam, meet Ms. Delete Button. She’s feeling a bit cranky today, so she will attend to you with great prejudice.

This is an extremely ineffective way to “promote.” And that’s my point. There’s effective promotion and there’s promotion that makes the recipient hope you see the undercarriage of a bus.

Vanity presses do the same darn thing. Just yesterday I got another one. “Who is this guy?” I kept wondering. The spam-mail was linked to iUniverse. How lovely. So is this iUniverse’ idea of “promotion”? So during my lunch break, I looked up the book because the name was familiar. Ahhh…the pieces were coming together. I’d rejected the book several months ago. So I guess that’s how it works. The author supplies the addresses, and the publisher or whomever goes to work annoying a lot of people by filling their in boxes with garbage they don’t want.

Book promotion is supposed to be meaningful, not a race to see how many people you can irritate in the least amount of time. You want more hits than misses. You want to attract your core audience in a manner that will have them slobbering over you and your book.

Spam-mail does none of those things – it’s like throwing a dart blindfolded and hitting your mother’s favorite lamp. And what’s sad is the spam-mail I receive is always from authors who pubbed with a POD or vanity press – so they don’t know any better.

Please, dear authors, take this into your dreamstate:

Do Not Spam-mail.

Attracting an audience takes time, sometimes lots of time. Get on Twitter, Facebook, whatever social media that floats your boat. And don’t direct all the attention to you, as in, “Hey, I wrote this really good book…!” because that just makes people pull out their bug spray.

In order to receive, you gotta give. It’s impressive how many authors I meet who do nothing but talk about their book their editing, their publishing experiences – and not give a rip about a two-way conversation. I see this a lot in social media as well. Authors only talk about themselves, or their latest post, or their upcoming book event, and never take the time to establish relationships – as much as one can do with 140 characters, right?

It’s easy to ignore these people…just like their spam-mails. And this isn’t an effective use of their time.

So rather than playing Let’s Spam My Address Book, put some thought and heart into promoting your book. Channel those old telephone ads – Reach Out and Touch Someone. But do it in a personal manner. Touch those you know. I know writing is a solitary endeavor and this gives us the luxury of being incredibly selfish. But now it’s time to look beyond the end of your nose and network with people. Create honest relationships.

It’s not always about how many people you know, but how many people know you in a good way. Take a look at your promotional efforts – and your personal efforts – and analyze whether you’re giving 50% to the relationship or you’re just spamming your way through life.

Don’t be the noob sending out the “Hey, you’re invited to celebrate the ever-fabulous ME!” spam-mails. Conduct yourself in a manner that makes people happy to see your name in their inbox and would be delighted to attend your book event. Or drinks. But the beagle insists that you pay…

11 Responses to “You’re invited…!”

  1. Marisa Birns says:

    “It’s not always about how many people you know, but how many people know you in a good way.”

    Oh, yes to that!

    You are always so wise in your posts. I toast you with my drink. Coffee. After all, it IS morning.

  2. Sally Zigmond says:

    Wise words.

    But you’d come to my party, wouldn’t you? I promise not to talk about myself all the time.

  3. Cath Murphy says:

    “Reach Out and Touch Someone”
    What makes me think that ad wouldn’t play the same today?

    Great blog Lynn – networking is networking, spamming is a pain in the *ss. Let’s not confuse the two.

  4. Sally, dear, I’d come to your party anytime. Now…where did I leave my passport?

    Thanks for the kind words, Marisa and Cath. And you’re right about the phone ad, Cath. Ah, how times change, eh?

  5. NinjaFingers says:

    I think inviting people who rejected you is tacky *unless* they rejected you in a manner that helped you fix the book and get published…

  6. kimkircher says:

    Great post. With the proliferation of social media and blogging, spam emailing is so last decade. Why create shallow interactions when the opportunities abound for deeper, more meaningful connections? Self-promotion isn’t car salesmanship. It’s about reaching out to a potential audience, and becoming an audience member yourself.

  7. Becky Mushko says:

    I hate that certain promotional companies are ripping off the clueless by charging them big money to send e-mails to gazillions of people who don’t even know the author. I’ve even looked up a few authors and e-mailed them a “Look, I don’t know you, but I’d never buy a book that X company promotes and here’s why.”

    I’ve gotten e-mails from individuals I don’t know, but who’ve joined organizations in order to get email lists of all the members. I usually e-mail back asking, “How do I know you, and why do you want me to travel 150 miles for your book signing?”

    There’s promotion, and then there’s promotion. . . .

  8. Frank Mazur says:

    “Once an author told me she sent me one of these irritating ditties to basically shove it in my face that she managed to get published quite well without me and that I was “a fool” to have rejected her.”

    Amazing that some people have sold themselves the idea that they have a significance in the lives of others.

  9. Digital Dame says:

    Kind of reminds me of those relatives you NEVER HEAR FROM, until their six kids start graduating high school, then college, then getting married, and all of a sudden you’re invited to every occasion where a gift is customary, preferably the cold hard cash kind.

  10. I’m going to send this to every single person I’ve ever met! 😀

  11. Digital, you got a huge laugh out of me – and that’s saying something because I never laugh. Ever. Really. Ok, that’s a lie. I laugh a lot. But that is SO true.

    Ebony, dearie me…what do we do about you? 🙂

    Frank, you hit on a important point. Authors can be a selfish lot because they are absorbed with their creativity. They spend oodles of time writing, and many forget to transition back into the real world. They remain consumed with getting word out about their books. When you couple that with bad advice, you have spamail. And we all know there are companies all too happy to make a few bucks off an author’s bad decisions.

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