Late last year, I requested an interview from someone about their community book drive project.
I didn’t get the interview, but I did get signed up for their email list – one that shoots out updates faster than the broken Xerox on 9 to 5.
This year, others were kind enough to automatically sign me up for their personal musing blogs – online diaries that also flood my Inbox with information that would be interesting – if I had asked to read it.
Another person who is launching a new "professional blog" signed me up for that publications email RSS as well.
Some of these emails don’t have an opt out option, so they continue to flood my Inbox.
Every morning when I get up, I have a hundreds of messages just waiting to be read among the plethora of junk and digests that I just could not resist signing up for.
These unwanted missives clutter up an already clutter space and go straight to the trash can.
Not only is this poor etiquette, it is against the law. You cannot sign up people randomly for emails if they do not request it. You also must give anyone on your list an opt-out option.
Whenever I see one of these messages, I just want to scream, "Who do you think you are? My email address is not for your spamming pleasure!" (This is usually when the chocolate comes out.)
There is nothing more frustrating than spam. It is even more frustrating – and maddening – when you know who signed you up without your permission – especially if you cannot unsubscribe. I am an extremely blunt person and have a hard time trying to find the right, tactful words to tell these folks they screwed up and made me angry – and likely angered other folks as well.
Tony Eldridge did a fantastic post about the CAN-SPAM law at his blog, Marketing Tips for Authors.
If you want people to subscribe to your RSS, or sign up for your newsletter, there are ways to do it that would make Emily Post proud – and not break the law:
Sign up sheets. At book signings, conferences or other events, have a clipboard with a sign up sheet where fans and fellow authors can sign up for your newsletter or RSS. Be sure to keep these sheets for future reference.
Online sign up. You can add an email subscription or RSS via Feedburner to your Web site. This gives readers the option to sign up on their own.
Ask them. On social networks and in blog posts, you can ask them to sign up. This method works great for newsletters. Don’t do this so frequently that people get tired of hearing it.0