Are You Committing These E-mail Sins?

E-mail Sins

I encourage authors to use e-mail as one of the most powerful tools in their marketing arsenal.

But with great power comes great responsibility, right?

One of the quickest ways to turn a potential reader (or influencer!) into an enemy is to send an unsolicited message via e-mail or a social network.

Here are 4 of the biggest e-mail sins.

  1. Sending a regular mass e-mail to people who did not sign up to receive your messages. This even goes for content-based messages or links—something you might think is innocuous. It is not.
  2. Sending a mass e-mail to your entire address book, or to every e-mail address you’ve harvested from your Facebook or LinkedIn contacts. It’s tempting to say, “Just this ONE time.” If the message is that important to you, take time to send a personalized e-mail to each person, or select a few influencers to contact instead. Don’t be lazy.
  3. Sending a regular mass e-mail from your personal e-mail account so people have no way to unsubscribe. The most basic courtesy you can offer is an automated unsubscribe function. That means people should NOT have to respond personally and ask to be removed. MailChimp is a free e-mail newsletter service with automated unsubscribe functionality.
  4. Sending mass messages via Facebook or LinkedIn. It’s just as bad as doing it via e-mail.

It might be perfectly fine to mass e-mail people who know you and love you (e.g., close family and friends), but if you’re doing it with people you don’t correspond with casually or typically, and they didn’t opt-in, that’s called spam, and you should stop.

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Posted in Digital Media, Marketing & Promotion.

Jane Friedman (@JaneFriedman) has 20 years of experience in the publishing industry, with expertise in digital media strategy for authors and publishers. She is the publisher of The Hot Sheet, the essential newsletter on the publishing industry for authors, and was named Publishing Commentator of the Year by Digital Book World in 2019.

In addition to being a columnist for Publishers Weekly, Jane is a professor with The Great Courses, which released her 24-lecture series, How to Publish Your Book. Her book for creative writers, The Business of Being a Writer (University of Chicago Press), received a starred review from Library Journal.

Jane speaks regularly at conferences and industry events such as BookExpo America, Digital Book World, and the AWP Conference, and has served on panels with the National Endowment for the Arts and the Creative Work Fund. Find out more.

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