I manage the Inbox for a client of mine who is an indie author. Almost every day this person gets at least one email announcing the launch of a new book and most of the time my client doesn’t even know the author.
These emails usually start out with a distribution list of about a thousand email addresses, not entered in the BCC (An old world term that means blind carbon copy.) field, but staring every recipient of the email right in the face.
It looks as if the person sending the email has been collecting email addresses for years in anticipation of this huge event (their book launch) and they’ve copied in every single person in their contact list including their veterinarian, dentist and the guy who emailed a quote about fixing their roof.
Is this a case of being desperate or clueless?
The email then proceeds to excitedly announce the publication of the brand spanking new book, or e-book, or audio book or whatever.
Now keep in mind that these books are often from very unique genres with topics like exotic encounters with ghosts or how to embroider mobile phone cases, and what the sender and presumed author never quite gets is that their book, their pride and joy, might not be something that the guy who fixed the roof lies awake at night salivating about in eager anticipation of its release let alone the veterinarian and the dentist.
There are many definitions for desperate, but I like this one from Merriam-Webster online dictionary: done with all of your strength or energy and with little hope of succeeding.
And clueless? Merriam-Webster defines that as not having knowledge about something : unable to understand something.
I believe many of these authors think, or perhaps hope or pray, that everyone who receives the email will either buy the book, or forward their email aimlessly out to everyone on their contact lists who will buy the book. I’m guessing. There doesn’t seem to be a lot of strategy put into sending out these emails so I’m really not sure what the thought process is.
First, let me be clear on something. I am not criticising and I really don’t know if the guy who fixes the roof is on the list though I could find out as all the email addresses are there to be seen. I’m telling you about this because I don’t want you to make the same mistake.
How Should You Do It?
- Do market research well in advance of (months or maybe even years before) the publication of your book to determine who will read your book and then announce its release to only those people who are going to be interested and, perhaps to your family and friends who will want to congratulate you.
- Establish an author platform (again, months or maybe even years before the release of your book) through a blog/website and sites like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. and create a network of potential readers and other people in the industry through your author platform who are likely to want to know about, spread the word about, read and/or buy your book.
- Start a subscription list on your blog so that you can contact your subscribers with the exciting news of your book’s release. Sign up for an account with MailChimp or Aweber or another similar site to manage the list for you and send your announcements through your account. These people have already expressed an interest in what you’re doing so it’s acceptable to contact them with your book news. They are likely to share your enthusiasm and might be inclined to forward it to some of their contacts, unlike the guy who fixes your roof!
- Send out book review requests but only to those reviewers who welcome and review books in your genre.
- If you have to send an email to multiple recipients to promote your book or for any other reason it is good form to use the BCC field to protect the privacy of each individual by not making their email address available to everyone on the distribution list for the email.
It’s not rocket science but it is work, a lot of work. And, it’s your book’s best shot at success!
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