Part of the Please Stop Series
Important note: All opinions expressed within this post are 100% wholly my own. I did not consult, confer, discuss, or in any way contact my clients for their thoughts / opinions / comments on this post. I take full responsibility to statements made within, and acknowledge that I am probably an asshole.
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Contacting Authors (and/or their PA’s) is not uncommon in our community. Whether it’s for an interview, to get involved with promotions, or to request involvement in a giveaway / blog / event, there are MANY reasons one might reach out to an author (or their PA / PR / Agent / Etc) and I’ve put together this handy guide (ok – a series of requests!) to help navigate this process to ensure the best results.
*Please note for simplicity purposes all forms of communication (DM’s, Emails, IG comments, etc) will be referred to as ‘msgs’ throughout this post.
STOP using greetings that are overly familiar
Honest-to-God this one makes me, and many of my clients, cringe. So hard! It’s one thing if you personally -know- the person you’re contacting (and know means you’ve had an actual conversation, or have sort of an actual relationship with the person – not you’ve exchanged tweets once or twice) – I receive emails from bloggers I’ve had the pleasure of hanging out with on a couple of occasions that start with “Hey Sweetie” or “Hey Hun” and that is perfectly OK. Why? Because I would consider us “friends”.
If you DON’T have that sort of relationship with the person you’re sending a msgs to, then STOP and make sure that your greeting is appropriate. It doesn’t have to be “To Whom It May Concern” or “Dear Sir/Ma’am”, BUT you can never go wrong using someone’s name (“Hey Natasha”).
STOP assuming whatever random medium you’ve chosen to contact us at is the best place to have this conversation.
Ok… I know this one sounds random, but hear me out. What I mean by this is: I’ve seen tweets go out to people “Hey sorry to hear your day was shitty. BTW: I’m doing a thing on my blog next month, let’s talk”. NO JOKE. Same thing with Facebook DMs “Hey Sweetie (cringe), My blog is going to do a giveaway every day for the next year and ….”, I’ve even seen requests publicly posted on an authors page – YIKES!
A LOT of authors don’t regularly check their DMs, and a lot have promo teams or PAs or someone who handles their interview / takeover / promo requests for them. Some even have forms they ask people to fill out so they can make sure they get all the info they feel they need before they can give an answer to anything. One of the BEST suggestions I can make when it comes to contacting an author with a request for something is to start by asking what the best way is for them to receive your information (see example @ end of post).
STOP being so vague about why you’re being in touch
I’ve both received and seen others receive msgs that either go along the lines of “Hey – I’m thinking of doing something for my blog, let me know if you’re interested” or on the flip side: it’s a 6 page history of the blog and why I (or a client) should take part… but there’s still no real information on what they’re asking for / have planned / any real details.
Before I, or my clients, can commit to anything, we really need to know what we’re signing up for. Details should include date, time (if applicable), if it’s going to involve a custom post, live takeover, or sharing provided material, and if a giveaway / donation is being asked for – pretty much all the relevant* info.
*Please note: when I say relevant I mean all the info that should be known before making a decision. I know a lot of people like to get people signed up and then give all the ‘how this is going to run’ info, and that’s fine if the little details are going to show up later, but enough information should be given up front that an author knows what exactly is being asked of them.
What do I like to see in contacting an Author / PA?
Well.. here’s an example of a message I would send – whether it’s by DM, Contact form on a website, or a direct email (PS: these really should be the only way you put a request to someone. Don’t comment on one of their posts, or post directly to their page, etc).
Hey (name of person contacted)
I’m Natasha and I’m the owner / operator of Personally Yours. I’ll be celebrating my first year of being a registered business in October, and I was wondering if I could send you, or the person who handles your promotional requests, more information on my event as I’d love to have your participation. Please let me know the best way to provide you with more info.
^ Now this is very generic, but it’s short, it’s not cringe-worthy, and it has a purpose. If I receive an email like this, whether I know the person / blog / whoever or not – I’ll admit, I’ll at least look into it. I’m -hoping- when they send me more information the message will be more tailored to why they reached out to me – everyone hates generic form letters (let’s be honest) so I really like seeing reasoning: “I’d love to see (My client) be involved bc her work really hit home for me when (event / thing / whatever)” or “I know this topic is one that means a lot to you, so I thought you might be a good fit”. NO Author / PA wants to feel like they’re being asked just for free stuff – so make sure if there’s a reason you’re asking them (and there should be!) that you include it!!
Hope this helps and please… stop messaging people like you’re trying to hook up with them, for business reasons.
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