Authors who give the impression of trying to blackmail their loyal readers into buying more risk forever alienating their readers. For example, I have in front of me a brochure sent by a self-published author who writes and publishes books in a very narrow niche (i.e., the railroad history of the state where he lives).
I had originally written the author a note of praise about one of his earlier books. (And, incidentally, never received a response. Which is OK, I guess.)
Recently, however, I received a copy of his latest catalog containing descriptions of current and forthcoming books. The catalog began with the following sentence: “Due to the rising cost of postage and the printing cost of catalogs, please place an order to remain on our mailing list…”
Death of a relationship
In a single sentence, the author had evaporated any possibility of ever selling me another book–even if if was a book I really wanted. The “blackmail paragraph” goes on to say that although he “values me as a customer,” etc., I have to buy something or I will be “dropped from our mailing list.”
He concluded: “Please remain a loyal customer.”
The negative experience, the appearance of blackmail, could have been eliminated if the author had simply offered me an alternative, such as subscribing to his catalogs for $5.00 a year, or whatever. This is a common among several of the niche markets that I am interested in.
Even better, the author could have invited me to subscribe for $5.00 a year, then offered to subtract the $5.00 from my first purchase! The net result would have been the same, but I wouldn’t feel so manipulated, the way I do now.
Takeaway: Are you unintentionally doing anything that might weaken the enthusiasm of your readers, or are you intentionally trying to reward your loyal readers?