Netiquette: Checking Emails, Screaming…and More on Protocol
Guest Post by Irene Watson
I’m getting very frustrated because it seems there is a run on a bunch of authors that don’t bother to check their emails more than once a week or every couple of weeks. I can’t understand why, after publishing their book, they aren’t available to answer potential reader’s queries let alone emails from me following up on their review requests or an attempt to set up an interview.
I’ve said this before, and I’ll say it again…once you publish a book you are now in businesses. Think about it – how would you feel if you were attempting to contact a business and they didn’t bother to respond. Or, if you went to a business and the door was closed with no sign saying when they will open again. This is no different. Once a book is published the author has to be available to their potential readers, possible media contact, or, hey, maybe even Oprah’s producer will email you to see if you would appear on the show. Picking up emails once a week or once in awhile is not a good business practice.
Another thing I’ve noticed is that I get emails from authors asking me to “search” for their book on YouTube, Google, or Amazon.com. Huh? Why would I want to do that? If you, as an author, want to get my attention (or the attention of a potential reader) don’t give me the title of your book and ask me to search for it on the web; give me the link/s where I should go. And this is especially important if you want me to give you something for free. Why in God’s green acres would I spend a bunch of time and effort to hunt for your book just to give you a free review or give you a free consultation. It’s just not going to happen. Be sure to make it easy for your potential reader, which could be me, to find your book and don’t expect anyone to take the time or make the effort to “Google” your book title. This is an expectation that is totally unreasonable.
As well, I find that many of the authors don’t whitelist email addresses that they are doing business with. This is an important step to do because many of the spam programs may suspect or assume it’s a spam and either put an incoming email into the spam box or entirely delete the email. However, I have to tell you, even if you whitelist an email address there is still a possibility that the email will end up in the spam box so it’s important to, at least once a day, do a cursory check to be sure an email didn’t end up there and deleted.
And while we are talking about emails, did you know that using UPPER CASE text denotes screaming/shouting (or confrontation)? I often see authors using upper case when sending emails, or highlighting the title of the book. This is not appropriate at all and against netiquette rules. If you want to highlight the title of the book, please use quotation marks or italics. As well, using red in the email or bold is considered confrontational. An accountant in New Zealand was awarded $17,000 NZD for unfair dismissal after her boss fired her without warning for using uppercase letters in an email to co-workers. The email, which advises her team how to fill out staff claim forms, specifies a time and date highlighted in bold red, and a sentence written in upper case and highlighted in bold blue. Her boss considered the upper case letters too confrontational and fired her. ( By the way, acronyms don’t fall into this protocol so it’s okay to say LOL.)
There is more about netiquette on the Griffith University site (be sure to scroll down to see the Acronyms & Emoticons that are being used in emails.)
As well, here is a great video:
So…is it time to polish up on Netiquette? I’d like to hear what you have to say.
Irene Watson is the Managing Editor of Reader Views, where avid readers can find reviews of recently published books as well as read interviews with authors. Her team also provides author publicity and a variety of other services specific to writing and publishing books.