Why Be the Angry Unsubscriber?


Here’s the thing about writing and publishing a book – writing and publishing is the easy part.  For most of us anyway.  If you’re a writer, you write.  That comes naturally.  Amazon and CreateSpace make it simple to publish.  So all that’s left is the selling.

Ugh…the selling…

I loathe this part, but I didn’t write the book so that my friends and family alone could use it to be more happy (although that is a nice benefit), I wrote it so that the whole world could.  Which means I have to let the whole world know it exists.

Which means…ugh…selling.

One method I’ve chosen is to email people about the book.  A lot of people.  People I know, and who know me.  Through high school, college, law school, grad school, countless jobs, the Writers Guild, thousands of hours of volunteer work with half a dozen different organizations…I know people.

So I sent them all an email with a link to where to buy the book.  This got a lot of very nice replies and one or two unpleasant ones, and I realized that if I was going to use this method in the future, I would have to give people the option of not receiving the email, so when I sent a second email – more than two weeks after the first – I added instructions on how to Unsubscribe.  It involved simply replying to that email with the word “UNSUBSCRIBE” in the subject line.

1,700 emails went out, from which 23 people unsubscribed.  I think that’s a decent ratio, so I’m quite happy, but what I was most interested in is how people unsubscribed.  The great majority did nothing other than what was instructed, but a few added comments.

First, thank you to Jordan J., Melissa E., Jeevan S. and Iris R. for your lovely notes, wishing me luck with the book or simply thanking me for taking you off my list.  I doubt you read this blog, but on the off chance you do, you are all good people and even though you took yourselves off my list, you still made me happy.

Now, to the small handful who felt the need to include notes like: “TAKE ME OFF YOUR LIST NOW!!” (after getting exactly two emails from me in a period of 19 days), I have to say that you need my book more than anyone else I know.

I get it.  Spam is annoying.  But let’s start with the fact that I was not spamming you.  You know me, and I thought my book might be of interest to you, like it was to the hundred-plus people who thanked me and said they’d be buying it.  More importantly, why are you letting something as innocuous as an email ruin your day, and drive you to the point of foaming at the mouth?  Did I run over your dog?  Did I poke you with a cattle prod?  Did my email max out your credit cards?

I have eight separate email accounts – eight – and you can be assured that I get plenty of unwanted messages, but who cares?  I have placed filters on all of my accounts that send these into a junk file that I review once a day (it takes less than five minutes, and usually less than one minute), and my day goes on without agitation.  That is a better way to live.

Look around at all the things that you are allowing to get under your skin, and just stop.  Getting unwanted email is not the same as getting your tires slashed.  Chill out. Life is too short.  No, that’s backwards – life is LONG!  Enjoy it.  And if you can’t do that, in your present state of mind, well…there’s this book you may want to buy…

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9 thoughts on “Why Be the Angry Unsubscriber?

  • Writer / Mummy

    I agree that the reactions you received (from people who know you) were extreme, but I have to confess I do get annoyed at people intruding on my personal space. I don’t get upset about junk email – like you, I know how to use filters effectively. But I really don’t like being sold to (I have a family member who keeps doing MLM schemes and then getting upset that I won’t buy the latest Amazing Product).

    I am especially irritated by phone calls, as we’re registered TPS. I know the anger is pointless and often inappropriate but then what right do people have to intrude on my (extremely limited) personal time and space? I wouldn’t go up to someone on the street and wave my product in their face.

    This probably explains why any business I set up tends to fail and why I struggle to sell my book! I rarely talk about my novel in passing, for fear of offending or coming across as pushy, never mind actively selling it to people! This is why your book will be much more successful than mine (and my attitude to unsolicited promotional activity is why I need to get past chapter one of Learning Happiness as a Second Language. I’m still at “I’m happy”)

    • jadereyner

      Hi – just wanted to put my thoughts in on your comment, hope you don’t mind? I just wanted to say that I agree with you with regards to the selling thing, I hate the in your face stuff, it just leaves me cold and I never entertain people calling me. Unfortunately though it is a fact of life and sometimes, those who are annoying, can actually be allies and maybe it’s worth buying that product from your family member as a trade off for a few book sales? I have no idea – marketing and selling is my downfall and I, like you, don’t mention my book when asked but I have realised that unless I tell people about it they are not going to know it exists so I am going to try to get over my issues and have a go. It’s to do with confidence for me and I always think that if I tell anyone I’ve written a book then they’ll likely laugh at me and any confidence I did have will be shattered. If you hit on any magic formula, then please do let me know and good luck with your book sales! 🙂

      • Writer / Mummy

        Thanks (and thank you for coming over to my blog). I agree that it helps to support others who in turn support you. I couldn’t do it with my family because the person wanted me to buy into becoming a seller as part of their team (that’s where the money is in MLM and that’s not my thing). I find it hard enough selling my own stuff! I do plug on Twitter from time to time, and on my blog, but I’m working on building relationships rather than selling. I’ve had one sale through recommendation from stranger to stranger, so hopefully it will work. I follow Kristen Lamb’s blog, which is full of helpful advice.

        Sorry to have this discussion on your post, Valerie!

        • jadereyner

          I also apologise Valerie!

          I agree with you wholeheartedly, and I am doing the same, trying to build relationships and then hope that leads in a positive direction. I do think that I need to try a bit harder to actually get my book out there though, would love to share tips/advice as I think we are in the same boat! 🙂

  • jadereyner

    What a brilliant post and at just the right time! I am at the ‘how on earth do I sell the thing now?’ stage and it is SUCH HARD WORK!! Unlike you, I don’t have a large email list so I won’t be going down that route but it wouldn’t bother me if I got an email along the lines of what you sent. Most email clients now offer viewing of the first line of the mail before you even open it so if you don’t want to read it, delete it and move on. Simple. I don’t get why people have to be so rude and I can only presume that they have nothing else to worry about in their lives – lucky them! 🙂

  • speakhappiness

    I am thrilled to see this discussion on my blog!! Are you kidding? No need to ever apologize for that, especially since it opens up the opportunity to delve further into topics that affect us all, like self-promotion.

    I agree that people who ask me to join MLM teams turn me off, and I just say, “No, thank you,” but I have to share something that changed my attitude a lot. My friend, Claire Risoli, started selling Arbonne about two years ago. It was all she posted about on Facebook, and she posted a lot. She was the convert who became the preacher. Arbonne, Arbonne, Arbonne.

    I thought it was really annoying and ridiculous and wondered how she wasn’t embarrassed putting that out there so much. Then, I noticed that some of her posts were congratulating team members for their success, and I thought, “Okay, she got some people to buy into this…whatever.” Then, I noticed that more of the posts were about congratulating people or welcoming new team members in other states and countries than about recruiting the rest of us. In other words, what she was doing was starting to look like…success. And I admired it. I really, really admired it. And I was not only proud of her, but I saw that that kind of persistence is what it takes to succeed as your own boss/salesman/promoter/publicist, and I decided that I would follow her lead.

    Yes, it is a little disconcerting to me that I post so much so publicly about my book, and there are probably people out there making fun of me, or rolling their eyes, or blocking me in their feed, but so what? I want to sell books, and I can’t do that from under a rock. So, thanks Claire, not only for being one of the top Arbonne performers in the country, but also for paving the way.