Monday, 11 July 2011

Please stop apologizing ...

Source
So, you're a debut author and you've got your first book coming out this year and you want to tell me about it by sending me a direct email. Or you run an online support group that you think I might be interested in joining. Or you've got a short story coming out in the latest issue of Glimmer Train and want to show it off. Sure, go ahead and email me about it. I completely understand. I understand how difficult it is to spread news of your own accomplishments without sounding like you love yourself. It can be embarrassing. BUT ...

... for goodness sake, if you're going to email somebody a plug, DO NOT apologize for it! It just makes you sound wimpish and inexperienced and kinda stalker-ish. Yes, stalker-ish, because then it doesn't sound like a business letter anymore. If you want to plug something in a direct email to somebody, be confident about it. Sell it to them. Think along the lines of a query letter. Connect with the person you are emailing and tell them why you think they, specifically, would be interested in your work.

Forget about your insecurities. If there is any place you can disguise low self-esteem, it's via email. If you really really want to plug something to an individual via an email, you really really need to take advantage of that.

Anyhoo, that's my thought of the day. I like to respond to all the plugs I receive, despite how they're written, but someone else might not.

What do you think when you receive a plug for something from someone you don't know from a bar of soap? Do you read them? Do you cringe? Do you not even bother and delete them? Do you respond to some and not others? Why? What is it about the ones you read that sparks your interest?

25 comments:

  1. Lol, love it. Difficult though, if you're a bit shy and not so good on marketing. I'm always scared to be 'in your face', 'hey, look at me'...

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  2. Very interesting Jessica,
    If anyone would have told me many years ago I'd be writing poetry I would have laughed at them.......it was the subject at school I hated most, well I am writing poetry and loving it, with one book out and hoping for another I find it fun, though some subjects I write about are very close yo home and can upset me.
    Enjoy your day,
    Yvonne.

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  3. If I know the person at all - then it doesn't bother me at all! If anyone can understand, we can. Good advice.

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  4. I don't really get a lot of this type of email. I certainly see people plugging their stuff on Twitter, and I certainly don't mind, but I think I might feel differently if I got a lot of emails like that.

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  5. I don't get emails like this either... I think you do because you've "made it" in the eyes of the writer; they admire you and seek your advice and opinion. How cool is that?

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  6. I don't really get emails like that. Usually it's "be a part of my blog tour, and you can have an ARC." Which I'm usually perfectly willing to take part in.

    I can't afford to run out and buy books unless I know I'm going to love them, but I'm not sure what I would do if I got those kinds of emails.

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  7. Great points! I agree. If I don't know them from a bar of soap, it depends on the subject matter. If it's anything writing or book oriented, I definitely read and respond. But if it's about making a part of the body I don't own bigger or investing the wealth I don't have or anything else irrelevant to my life, I delete it without a second glance.

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  8. I haven't gotten these kinds of emails either. When I read a blog (like yours) asking to be part of a tour and/or promotion, I will participate if I have the time.

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  9. I love it when authors plug and I'm always happy to help them. It's important to support them in any way we can. I've never had anyone apologize before--I think it would be funny.

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  10. I haven't received a lot of this kind of email. I hate it when I get telephone calls like this, but if an author wrote me asking for help, I'd sure consider it.
    Karen

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  11. huh. i've never gotten an email like that. I could totally see myself doing that, though, but it would be because of my passive-aggressive minnesotan nature.

    Actually, i just wrote in my head what i'd say and i was wrong. I wouldn't do any apologizing. So i'm good to go!

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  12. Confidence - check! I've received a few things like that. I'll read it, but if it's not someone I know, I may or may not respond.

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  13. teehee--I don't mind the apologizing much, but I REALLY object to the people who contact me and don't seem to know who I am... I mean they may include my blog title, but it is clearly a form email. Bugs the poo outa me. I am thrilled to get email requests from people I know through blogging, but I KNOW THEM because they COMMENT... if they don't COMMENT regularly, they certainly need to say something about why MY BLOG (or me personally) is what they are approaching. I detest mailing lists that get too big for their britches. I open my emails and skim, and if I smell SPAM, it gets deleted.

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  14. Well shoot, that's good advice! I'd be one to apologize for "bugging" someone, but now that you put it that way, that's a really great point... Thanks!

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  15. Yeah, that totally sounds like something I would do. Yet another reason why I would never make as a self-published author!!
    erica

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  16. Sigh, I get way too many such messages on email and FB these days and I must admit, sometimes it does my head in. Now, I don't mind AT ALL if I know the person even the tiniest little bit -- or if the person contacting me shows any inkling at all they know who I am. But if they don't, I don't mind then 'sorry', because at least it shows they realise they're asking someone they don't even know to support them.

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  17. Sorry for the typos - I'm still hungover from the weekend.

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  18. You have to believe in what you are promoting!

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  19. Interesting post, Jessica because I'm totally one to apologize and I was going to ask you for a plug.

    Hmmm, something to think about.

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  20. If someone sends me a plug and they do it in a way that makes it sound like they have something I genuinely might be interestd in I'm always happy to go take a look. That said, I get annoyed when people replug the same things over and over. Eventually those emails and notices go straight into the delete pile.

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  21. Love it! If I get announcements from folks I don't know I delete it. If it's from people I do know, I get excited! :)

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  22. I'm afraid to say I usually ignore stuff if it even feels remotely like spam. I'm getting to the point where I just don't have time to pay attention to every announcement that crosses my in-box. I might be missing out on some great stuff, though. That's kind of sad.

    I'm going to remember this post, though, and not use the phrase "shameless plug" anymore. :)

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  23. Because I don't get many, I read them all of course! But I'm sure it gets difficult to do that when you are bombarded with requests, so you are very kind to put this out there.
    Loved this post--funny! :-)

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  24. I got one only yesterday. I read her e-mail. It pointed me to a website and so I went to the website. It was amateurish but clean and uncluttered and, although the colour scheme wasn’t one I would have chosen, it was tasteful. The information was obvious – I didn’t have to search for it (the more you ask/expect people to do the less chance they will do it) – and there was just enough to help me make my mind up. Had I not been swamped with books to review I might have said, “Send me a copy,” but I’m even saying to the publishers who’ve been sending me stuff for years that I can’t handle all they want to send me. So I wrote her a nice e-mail and said she could contact me again.

    Now there have been others where I have taken the book. Accepting a proof copy doesn’t put me under any obligation to do a review. I hate it when I get books through the letterbox that I haven’t asked for but once the book is on my shelf the odds are I will get around to it so that can work too. Bottom line: reviewers are doing you a favour. Okay so they’re getting a free book out of it for their trouble but that doesn’t mean they owe you.

    This is a business. Even if little or no money passes hands this is still a business and if you’re businesslike then you stand a far better chance of being treated seriously. Yes, you can just send an e-mail. Or you can send an e-mail with a press release attached even though everything on the press release can be, and probably is, already in the e-mail. But it’s what the professionals do.

    I may not hear from that girl again but she works for a small publishing company and so you never know. She may well remember that she was treated with respect and offer me something else in the future. And then I might not be quite so busy.

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  25. I don't get a lot of promotions on my email but I don't mind if I get one or two. I do read each one of them, unless it's SPAM.

    I love good news from writer friends. So I welcome all sorts of good news, whether it's a short story, a poem or a novel that's going to get published! :)

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