Is it just me, or is there a growing trend among authors to use their e-mail to spam friends, acquaintances and business associates alike with their writing news?
I'd already seen it on Yahoo groups. Some of my groups are more "I'm blooging about this today!" than the discussions, requests for help, offers of assistance, etc. that I used to enjoy. In the last couple of months, I've been getting LinkedIn e-mails from people announcing this or that event as well. A couple of weeks ago, I gave my e-mail to someone for a particular reason...and found myself subscribed to his newsletter, and another person e-mailed me and (I guess) all his mailing list about a local book signing--never mind that we don't even live in the same state.
The social networking era has given us great opportunities for getting our own personal news out to the masses--however, it's also given us a way-too convenient means to annoy those masses, and thus turn off potential readers.
Yet, too often the advice is: use your e-mail and contact lists! Announce your writing, yes, even your blogs posts! Get the word out! So where's the happy medium? I'd like to suggest some guidelines:
1. FB and Twitter are great places for announcements. People expect them here. There are also venues for announcements on Goodreads, LinkedIn,etc., where people can mark their settings if they are interested in such things.
2. It takes a little more time, but rather than sending a blanket e-mail to everyone on your list about your local event, find out where you can post about your event in your local online newspaper or author events pages (AuthorsDen has something, I think). Find out if there are bloggers who post about events in your area and send them the info.
3. Press releases for the big events!
4. Use your e-mail list to occasionally invite people to sign up for your newsletter, and use that to send out announcements. You can make this even better by providing a couple of ready-made tweets and asking your readers to use them to share your news.
5. Print up some nice flyers and post them in your local businesses for your big events, and if you are part of a big event that is already being advertised, offer to help with publicity for some in return.
Finally--BE INTERESTING. "Come to my signing at..." will work with friends, family, and fans, but if you want to get new readers, give them the payout. "Like zombies? Like to laugh? Like signed editions? I'm signing I Left My Brains in San Francisco at..."