The Mail I Get

This email is the opposite of a persuasive pitch:

I bought one of your “Monk” books and your mother’s book.  I don’t honestly know why I kinda like you, but I do. […]My new book is historical fiction about a little town in Kansas next to a Pawnee Indian reservation and the things that happen to the people who live there.  The year is 1875.  So I had to do a lot of research.  It’s an easy read and I think you’d like it.  It’s only $1.99 on Kindle.  Sooo, if you are bored between 1:00 a,m, and 3:00 a,m, or are stuck on an airplane, it’s a good read.


Here are a few useful tips if you want me to read your book, Connie. Don’t think that because you bought my book (or my mother’s) that I feel any obligation to read yours. Don’t imply you can barely tolerate my existence. Don’t say that the main reasons for reading your book are that you worked hard on it, it’s cheap and it beats being bored on a sleepless night. And, finally, don’t expect me to read it if you neglect to include both your full name and the title of your book in the email.

UPDATE:  I’ve heard back from Connie:

Don’t think that because you are a published writer you have the right to be rude. winnie-connie-a-neal-paperback-cover-art The name of my book was in the subject line of the email.  You can be assured I’ll never purchase another one of your books.  And, the one you wrote with Janet is boring.  You need to find a sense of humor somewhere.  In no way was I implying that you should read my book because I read yours.  My email threw you, didn’t it?  I believe you have taken on Monk’s personality – close minded and degrading.  Please do not read my book –  It’s much too clever for you.

She’s right about one thing — the title was in the subject line. My bad. Sorry about that. The book is Winnie (Life in 1875). So I took a look at it. The cover looks like an ad for Excedrin, but I don’t think they had that medication in 1875, though judging by the writing in the sample, you will need a bottle if you decide to read the book. I’m sorry, was that rude?

10 thoughts on “The Mail I Get”

  1. Great advice Lee. I’ve learned that writing a monthly article for the high school newspaper did not make me a writer. Thinking seriously of taking a class on screen writing. My project is a one time deal. Writing to me is like painting, only with words and right now I am having trouble finding the colors. At the rate I am moving my daughter will be old enough to portray me in the movie! lol This is not meant to be a non or persuasive intent. 🙂

  2. Very bad sales pitch. Not unlike you wouldn’t want to buy a vacuum (or whatever) would you?
    Wait your mother writes too? And your brother? What do they write.

  3. Connie, if you don’t mind me saying this, no matter what the other person says to you, the best way to respond is with a smile and a ‘thank-you, at least you were honest.’ Then you re-explain yourself, adapting it to the other person’s likes and dislikes. In this way, you don’t make the second mistake because the other person (for you) made the first mistake, and you might, but not always, succeed in getting what you want. The rule is, and I’ve learned it from my teaching experience and customer service experience, that you have to be willing to explain yourself up to 7 times to ensure that your message is understood. Most persons are great, it just takes one time. But to be able to stay patient and not get annoyed for seven tries, those persons are really emotionally mature—or that’s the way it seems to me. Just mentioning….

    Lee, I read “The Heist,” and found it be a very pleasing story. If you and Janet set out to please your readers, then you succeeded hugely. It was well-researched too and had a terrific sense of place at all the locations. The plot was a text-book example of a certain kind of caper plot, and I’m reading the book again to map the plot out for myself. My only quibble was the flirting in Act 4. You guys can take it up a notch, if you like. Otherwise, I’m really looking forward to the second book. It’s the kind of entertainment I really enjoy.

  4. Sorry to disappoint poor Connie but she’s a deluded soul…of course she was implying you should read hers based on her reading yours…she included those lines for a reason, which is known in the marketing world as the “touch” — explaining that it isn’t really a simple cold call, we have a realationship, after all “I read your book”. It’s designed to set up a sense of reciprocity, a meeting of the minds, a “hey this isn’t just spam, I’m emailing you cuz I read your book”. She may not have thought of it as “I read yours, you should consider mine” so much as “I read yours, therefore you should give more credence to what I say, cuz apparently being one of your readers is relevant to what I’m about to say i.e. please consider my book”.

    Basic psychology alone would reveal her motives, and claiming otherwise afterwards shows the depth of her ability to know people. I too read it exactly the way Lee read it — rude, poorly based, etc. My only difference is that I did think she was trying to be self-deprecating and humourous in her actual pitch, which is really hard to do well by email — self-deprecation is heavily dependant upon tone, the most difficult thing to convey in a cold email to someone you don’t know well.

    And separate from that, even if you weren’t Lee, the email is basically spam. You don’t blindly send a pitch for your book to someone who hasn’t opted in to your list, or on a list that isn’t designed for BSP, etc. It’s incredibly RUDE. So considering Connie started with the most basic of errors in self-promotion i.e. spamming someone who doesn’t want your spam, why would she expect a different response? His response is a bit over-snarky, but the message is pretty clear.


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