The latest trend in online marketing is building a “personal relationship” with customers and readers. Sending newsy emails about your fab summer vacation isn’t enough anymore. Now you have to ask them about their fab summer vacations.
As an author, it all makes me want to cry. How can a working author find time to be pen pals with thousands of readers—even with robotic help?
As a customer, I feel bullied. I don’t even get a say in whether I want a personal relationship. I’m especially irked with authors and vendors who try to get up close and personal even before I decide to buy a book or service.
I can so relate to Anne’s struggle. The way I see it, there’s nothing wrong with offering updates by email to those who opt-in, but the whole “you should develop a personal relationship with everyone so they’ll feel obligated to buy your stuff” trend grosses me out.
As someone still learning how to market her books, I’m hesitant to do a lot of email marketing. I’m fine sending email when I have actual news, especially when I’ve got a new release. But I have long gaps between emails, and sometimes I feel like a bad marketer because I’m ignoring the advice of the experts. Am I a terrible business woman because I only sent out four emails to my list last year?
Of course not. But it’s easy to feel self-conscious when you’re ignoring the loudest voices in your industry. Judging by the comments on Anne’s post, I’m not the only one who has been feeling this way!
My Author Marketing Manifesto
I probably waste too much time worrying about what the so-called experts are saying. So to put my worries to bed, I wrote out how I want to handle the social media/email marketing thing:
My goal is to write books that you’ll enjoy. If you want to stay in touch, you can follow me via my blog, mailing list, or social media. In fact, I’ll post book news in all those places, so you can choose whatever method you like best. And if you don’t want to stay in touch, I won’t be offended. We’re all busy, right?
When talking about my books, I promise to be myself, not a chirpy marketing shill. I won’t suck up to you, pretend to be your bestie, or ask you inane questions to “drive engagement metrics.” And while I welcome your replies and comments (because they’re fun!) you don’t owe me anything. It’s my job to entertain you, not the other way around.
Lastly, because it helps me out to have a mailing list of readers, I’ll occasionally offer perks (like coupons and deleted scenes) to my subscribers. It’s my way of saying thanks for letting me poke my nose in your inbox every so often. But I won’t be filling up your inbox for no reason. Because I respect your time. Mine too.
Does that sound reasonable? I hope so, because it’s what I intend to do. 😉