How Not to Lose Friends

Or how to not lose all the friends on your email contacts list.friends

Once the final full stop in the ARIA Trilogy was hammered home, I knew there was work to do. Yes, the critique group, the publisher’s editor, who removed many commas, and their proofreader who put most of them and more back in again, but I’m referring to promo. Many writers refuse to become involved in the marketing of their art. Others become over-anxious and ill doing so. Mine is more the laid-back variety where I spend maybe an hour a day on forums, blogs, network media while attending conventions a little, and book readings and signing a bit.

Apart from the odd appeal for votes for the P&E Readers’ poll, and in encouraging writers to submit shorts to the now-departed Escape Velocity magazine, I’ve not tried a mass email plea to all my pals and acquaintances in my email contacts. For one thing over the last 12 years or so and with the way yahoo adds to contact lists, I now have over 1300 individual email addresses. To help sort them out I was able to export them as a csv file to Excel spreadsheet. I probably should have put them directly into a word processor but hey ho. Then I found I could delete hundreds – for example all those publishers starting with the word submission, editor, competition, and no-reply! I found many emails were from companies I’ve either bought from or argued with and again I could delete all those starting with support and all those from national and local government departments. I was down to 900 – yeay. I found many of my genuine friends were listed several times mainly because they keep changing their email addresses. Why would Karen need a yahoo, hotmail, gmail, googlemail, btinternet and msn.com email addresses? It must be a nightmare for her! Then how do I know which she doesn’t use anymore? Down to 850 addresses so that’s the list of unfortunate pals who are to receive news from me about ARIA. Yes, some already knew about the first book Left Luggage but I’ve left it until the trilogy is complete before bothering everyone.

ARIA Trilogy Box Set

ARIA Trilogy Box Set

I took inspiration from Sam Smith’s approach. He’s a marvellous poet, author and BeWrite editor who has on occasion to inform his contacts of his poetry and other publications. His posts are a delight to read. Instead of hammering a ‘you must buy’ in the first line, he apologises for taking up your time and computer electrons and invites you to delete even before reading the rest. I like his style and told him I was doing something similar. My first foray into writing was making up jokes and skits for stage comedians – not real ones, just other pupils at school. One of my jokes was told to a Christmas play audience including a Bishop of Gloucester. He must have used it to his colleagues because I heard it on Thought for the Day on Radio 4 a few years ago. I nearly fell of the toilet! So I use the gist of that joke in my mass email to my friends in the hope they don’t immediately put my post in their spam folder. Here it is:

Dear friends,
You might know my joke about a priest who on his first jittery sermon said that last night he took solace in the arms of a beautiful woman but that … he couldn’t remember who she was!
This note is rather like that. Many have told me to keep them informed when the final full stop of my infectious amnesia trilogy, ARIA has been punched. Ingratiating apologies if you are not interested. Just delete this post now, hopefully not with the spam button although worse has happened to me in the cardio suite in a Liverpool hospital last month so I’ll live, again.
If you are interested then all three books of the ARIA trilogy are now published as ebooks and paperbooks. Directly from the publisher or from Amazon and other online bookshops. Links are below.
Publisher’s site with purchase options http://www.ll-publications.com/aria3.html
Geoff’s UK Amazon author page http://www.amazon.co.uk/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY
And for US readers http://www.amazon.com/Geoff-Nelder/e/B002BMB2XY

BOX SET ebook of The ARIA Trilogy for UK readers http://www.amazon.co.uk/ARIA-Trilogy-Box-set-ebook/dp/B00LQACNZS/ £7.20
for US readers http://www.amazon.com/ARIA-Trilogy-Box-set-ebook/dp/B00LQACNZS/ $12.35
If you occasionally stumble into facebook please consider viewing and liking http://www.facebook.com/AriaTrilogy
Coffee & doughnuts,
Geoff
* the beautiful woman was, of course, his mother.

Well, what do you think? No matter because they’ve gone now. I remembered that when I sent masses of emails inviting people to submit stories to Escape Velocity mag yahoo mail often hiccupped with blocks because they don’t like us sending lots of posts at once. They might be spam! Really. No one knows how many you can send at once. Yahoo won’t say. Some forum users reckon as little as 15 at a time and no more frequently than every 30 minutes. I found no trouble in sending to 22 addresses every 20 minutes or so. It took a whole day. Not doing it again! I’ve only received two complaints – one was asking if we’d met. Well, in fact we’d met at FantasyCon and swapped business cards so she was all right but in future not to send her unsolicited posts again please. Fair enough. Another was from a publisher who didn’t like people trying to sell him books he didn’t publish – haha.
Luckily, I’ve received a bunch of warming emails from people on the list who say they’ve often wondered how I’ve been getting on – what’s all that about your cardio, and then tell me all their new. Wonderful.
If you know of a better way of not losing your friends please let me know but all in all it worked pretty well.

Note: Sam Smith’s web page, well worth a visit is here.

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7 Responses to “How Not to Lose Friends”

  1. Maria Says:

    That is very nice but did it achieve its goal? For me it solved an issue. I bought the first book as an actual book, the second as an ebook. With the third I want the actual book again, something to do with knowing the author and having it on my book shelves, seeing books by my friends makes me smile. I was going to go buy the second book also but now I will just buy the box set.

  2. geoffnelder Says:

    Thanks Maria, marvellous comment. I know Sam Smith says if he sells a couple of extra books as a result of his buik emails then he’s satisfied. Like me I suspect he takes comfort from the thanks and catch-up-news from old acquaintances after such a mailing. So yes, it worked in that I’ve made contact again with ‘old’ friends and there have been a few mentions of sales 🙂

  3. Sally Jenkins Says:

    Geoff, I understand exactly where you’re coming from. Selling is hard. No one wants to make a nuisance of themselves but if we don’t tell people how will they know!

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  7. shaun Says:

    Good advice, Geoff. I have tried to be cognizant of not stepping on the toes of friends and more importantly former news media colleagues in promoting my new title even if it meant limiting the number of email promos I sent out. This perhaps was wise because while a few friends have bought the book, very few colleagues gave a hoot — although one did correct my grammar!

    Best of luck, Shaun

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