If you’re like me, you get a good amount of email in a day. I deal with email pretty much all day long, so it’s on my mind a lot. But I’ve noticed lately a few folks on Twitter, or Facebook, or in messages to me complaining about unsolicited email newsletters from authors or publishing professionals.
In a nutshell, what usually happens is that a reader was added to a newsletter list that they did not subscribe to, and suddenly start receiving email they didn’t want. In other words, they’re being spammed. It might not seem like spam since the author herself may be emailing each person, but an impersonal “Dear Readers” email with links to buy is spam when the recipient never asked to receive it.
This happened to me, and I don’t think the author meant to be malicious at all. But I received a newsletter at an email address attached to the website that I don’t use for correspondence, which means that it was added by someone other than me.
Also, from my perspective, this is not good PR. Sending email to readers that they didn’t want means they will likely have a negative association with the name of the sender. Uh oh! What author would want to be associated with all those terrible spellers who want to refinance your penis and enlarge your mortgage?
The sad thing is, many newsletter outfits online make it easy to import your contacts, but if those contacts have NOT opted-in to a subscription list previously, any harvesting is against the law. Granted, the CAN-SPAM act has been about as effective as patching windows with Jello Pudding Pops (yum), but still. Not legal, not good.
I’m pretty damn forgetful, and I’m guessing that in a few months I won’t remember this author’s name and think, ‘Oh, Spam.’ I unsubscribed and went on with my day. But the fact that an email address I don’t use was subscribed to a list, coupled with the increase in people complaining about unsolicited newsletters is making me wonder – has this happened to you? Did it make an impact?
Have you received unsolicited email from an author or publishing house? How did you react? Did you report it as spam, or just unsubscribe? Do you use email as a way to stay reminded of upcoming books you may want to buy and don’t mind? Or does receiving unsolicited email bug the crap out of you?