2/24/11

Lessons For Authors & Publishers—A Cautionary Tale

A few days ago, someone told me the Whitney Board had sent out a list of novels available to the Whitney Voting Academy as pdfs. These pdfs are guarded very closely and are programmed to self-destruct once you've read them—so they're not easy to get to. I was told I needed to request them.

I diligently checked my e-mail, thinking maybe I'd overlooked or accidentally deleted that e-mail. I needed it bad because despite my very generous offer to trade ad space for e-books, not everyone has taken me up on it and there are some titles I just can't find at my lovely local library.

Anyway. No e-mail. I was confused. Was I kicked off the Voting Academy? Did they not like me anymore? Was I such an opinionated slacker that they were distancing themselves from me? I almost cried.

Then—a lightbulb went off. I'd never let the PTBs at the Whitney Board know that I'd changed from that irritating hotmail address to the seriously awesome and nearly always functional gmail account.

I logged into the old account—something I haven't done since last October—and what-the-heck! there were 310 messages there!!! And thus begins my cautionary tale...

Lesson #1: ALWAYS update your contact information when you're working with an agent and/or publisher. Don't just post it on your blog, send them an e-mail with your new address.

Okay, so yes, about 1/4th of the e-mails were messages telling me I had new Twitter followers or someone inviting me to play a Facebook game. (I don't play those games, btw. Sorry)

And another 1/4th were from Cedar Fort's Chapter 1 Club. (Which is really an awesome idea and I wish other publishers did it because it makes it soooo easy to find their new releases. But CFI, just a tip. Add to every one of those club e-mails an easy link to and/or instructions for joining the club so that when I forward that to a friend, they don't have to google you to sign up.)

(Oh, and CFI is the ONLY publisher that has an easy-to-find, follow and get info from page on their website that features new releases. Some other publishers say they do, but it's either outdated or difficult to find.)

(CFI also has a second website with good info about their books.)

Lesson #2: Every single publisher in the world should have an up-to-date New Releases page!!! And so should authors—with links to excerpts and where to buy.

Okay. Uhm. Where was I? Oh, yes. A few of those e-mails informed me that I'd just inherited £100000000 (lucky me!).

But 32 of them were important and required action from me—action which was never taken because I didn't get the e-mails until last night.

Lesson #3: Occasionally check your old account (like weekly?) in case important people didn't get your message.

Among those 32 important e-mails, I found the e-mails from the Whitney Board. I also found some entries for the 2010 Christmas Story Contest that never made it because they went to the wrong e-mail address. This wasn't the case with me, but sometimes agents or publishers will create a special e-mail for certain types of submissions, and they'll never see the one you sent to their main e-mail address.

Lesson #4: ALWAYS, ALWAYS follow the posted directions and use the e-mail link in the post.

I also found e-mails about new book releases, and contests, and Questions! Fodder for my blog!! I missed them all!

Lesson #5: If a publisher, agent or blogger has a big pink button on the site that clashes so hideously with the colors of the blog in order to make it stand out and be visible to everyone and that button says "E-mail me at:" followed by an e-mail address in very large and visible letters, use that address!

And for bloggers, publishers and agents...

Lesson #6: When you change your e-mail address, in addition to posting large garish notices in your sidebar and changing the links in as many of the previous posts as you think is reasonable (like your FAQs pages), CHANGE THE ADDRESS ON YOUR BLOGGER PROFILE!

And thus ends my cautionary tale. Do as I say, not as I did.
Sorry.

All 32 of the important e-mails will receive a personal response and apology and action will be taken to correct the issue, when possible.



3 comments:

Rachelle said...

Loved your cautionary tale. :) Thanks for sharing these great tips. And I LOVE gmail!!

Anna said...

I knew you changed email addresses, But when I emailed you with a question, I just let the automatic email guesser pick your old email.. Will update it. Thanks.

LDS_Publisher said...

That darn automatic e-mail guesser! It gets me in trouble too.