Monday, October 24, 2005

SBD: Romance Expert Redux...

We’ve started a sign-up for a romance emailing list exclusive to my store. In it the customer will receive advance warning about street dates (and changing street dates), chances to win Advance Reader Copies, information on hot new titles, and discounts specific to our business only. In future months, if anyone is interested, I plan to expand it to include short author interviews, as well as listings for local romance signings.

It’s perfectly free, all you have to do is sign up your email…

…Which I will then harvest and turn over to the company, so they’ll stop threatening to lower my store standing and take away my raise.

And you thought I was doing this out of the kindness of my heart, or for my love of the genre.

Or perhaps it was my deep my desire to be the Romance Expert slipping free once again?

Ha, Ha! Poor, innocent consumer, don’t you realize that the name of the game is email collection these days? My company places more importance on that than sales and percent over last year combined! If I do not collect one or more emails for every hour I work, I’m a loser who is “not trying hard enough.”

I obviously don’t love the company.

So I better watch out,
I better not cry,
I better not pout,
I’m telling you why,
The company is watching my asssssss.

Shades of Big Brother, comrade.

The sad fact of the matter is that I would love to do this for my customers under normal circumstances. It’s an idea that I’ve been kicking around for awhile to provide them with an extra level of customer service (and the first step to building my book empire). It just angers me to no end though that I have been forced into following up because I want to save my raise (not that it will be that big anyway).

Sure, it will be useful. The Romance email that the company does professionally always seems to be a couple weeks behind with its picks and announcements, even though the buyer has access to this information months in advance. And my ladies seem excited (although I’ve got to come up with a snappier signup sheet because the one I have is just blah). I just hate that it had to come to this.

Don’t they read Fast Company? Don’t they know that email collection is rapidly going out because people are getting wise to the schemes? Or, at least, couldn’t they make it a little easier for them to sign up because having people write? Not pretty. Handwriting, especially legible handwriting, has gone the way of the dodo bird thanks to computers. All of which means that even if I get someone to submit their information, the brain trust in charge of entering it into the system may not be able to read it (and considering that these are the same people who have come up with eight million different ways to abbreviate words, names, and titles that bear absolutely no relation to however they did it before, I don’t have a lot of faith. Is it too much to ask for one set standard guideline? Do I need to spend five minutes trying to figure out what they did to shorten “America” this time?).

Argh! This isn’t particularly funny or even ranting on romance, so much as me just being frustrated (or flustrated as my father says). I really want this email list-serve—or however we end up setting up—to succeed, but not because I need it to so that I get my their email. I would have done it without the threats hanging over my head, but now I don’t have a choice.

And it’s tainting my experience.

Don’t they know it’s practically the season of giving (they should, they’ve been shipping Christmas books to me since August), and instead of focusing inward, they should be looking outward to help their fellow (wo)man? Not slamming her down with unrealistic goals regarding email collection.

Is that too much to ask?

I mean, it’s not like we don’t have enough to deal with, what with the holiday season, and a person quitting, and three weeks worth of deliveries that we can’t put out because they won’t give us a comprehensive returns list!

At least give a girl an office hour and an internet connection so she can do this at work, or chip in for the Comcast bill I’ve got to pay in blood every month.

You’ve got to give to receive.

Even if all you want is an email.

Soooo...wanna help a girl out and hand over your email address?

*blinks innocently*

I'll tell you about all sorts of cool romance type stuff...


Kate R said...

If you need numbers to impress the boss and show the world that you can kick ass when it comes to being an expert, katerothwell @, but I probably won't make it into your store. It's all about the numbers.

and happy SBD. Sure it fits because romance = marketing and that's what you're ranting about. Kind of.

Beth said...

Go ahead and use my red herring email - the one I give out every time someone asks for my email address and I know they're going to use it to market to me: It's active and messages won't bounce back or nuttin.

I also have many, many, many Gmail invites, and you can set up accounts whenever you fall short of quota. Ya know, like or, etc. I'm all about sticking it to the man.

Bookseller Chick said...

Yay for sticking it to the man! Thank you, ladies. My company would love to have your emails.


Bonnie said...

Here are a few of mine that you can ration out over a three-hour period, or when you're slow: