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What comes into my inbox

Posted by Janice on October 19, 2015 at 6:40 PM


Apart from all the please pay-up type emails I receive from Doctor Whosimewatzit and the endless catalogues for products that I have never wanted let alone signed up for, as well as the Viagra ads and the sexy lady announcements, there is a goodly number of what I might term 'vanity' publishers offering to publish my manuscript. Some do this as a straight offer; others put their offers out as a 'competition'.

I fell for the competition-type years ago, when I paid good money to some US outfit that promised deals too good to pass on. From memory, it was a publishing deal with an advance plus promotion and distribution. I know you are wondering why I would be so naive. Probably the naivety developed via a combination of years spent tapping away at a keyboard, sending off submissions, many returned with not a mark on the paper (that was before electronic submissions became de rigeur), and one-line rejection notes.

Well, I have learnt a bit since then, but it doesn’t mean I am immune to scanning vanity emails before trying to find the ‘unsubscribe’ button, though. Some offer a few tips – hackneyed perhaps, but often a good reminder of something basic. Like this one that popped into my inbox this morning: ‘34 issues that will scare readers away from your author website’*. As I am blogging right now on my author website, a quick scan might tell me something new or reinforce something I already know.

For example, tip 13: ‘There’s nothing to engage the reader. No contest to enter or sample chapter to download. No sign-up for mailing lists. No way to follow you on social media or “like” your site.’ Ouch, that’s me. And tip 16: ‘You have no press kit or information for literary agents who may be checking out your site.’ Me, again. Makes sense, really, so that gives me two jobs to do, just when I was feeling pretty smug.

* Find the entire article here:


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