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February 4, 2015

Yes, That’s My Real Email

Filed under: Main — admin @ 12:01 am

Putting my email in a book wasn’t an original idea. I credit Roger Parker with my inspiration.

Parker wrote the tremendously successful book, Looking Good In Print. It was a necessary title back in the 1990s due to the surging popularity of desktop publishing.

At a conference I was attending, Parker mentioned providing his email address in the book. It was no big deal to him. I expressed disbelief, but he assured me that the feedback was good as it helped him hone future editions of the book. I knew that feedback would benefit me, but I was still nervous about unveiling my holy email address.

I don’t recall which of my books first had the email address in it. It was a test. And it was successful. The feedback was generally good. I replied and jotted down notes to help improve the book’s next edition. So I added my email address to every book I wrote.

Back when the books were selling thousands of copies a month (before Google), I found myself spending about an hour a day answering email. Most of it was easy to answer, but a lot of it consisted of generic questions or troubleshooting. I replied to each message, even to those that had nothing to do with my book.

Eventually I added a notice in my books to say I was happy to answer email, but couldn’t troubleshoot or address questions beyond the book’s subject matter. That helped stem the tide, and also provide me an out when someone just wanted free help. The change, however, did make a few people angry. You can read such “hate mail” here on Wambooli.

While I do list my real email address, I do not include my home address or phone number. Despite this omission, a few intrepid readers were able to obtain my phone number. They phoned, and I was polite, but I explained that I’m an author and not a PC troubleshooter. Most understand, but one woman told me her husband would beat her if I didn’t help. So I did. That was crazy.

After nearly two decades of placing my “real” email address in my books, I continue to receive email and feedback. I reply to each message, although sometimes it takes me a while. I take notes and keep the note files so that I can improve future editions of the books. So the system works well. It was a good decision.

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