Oct 1, 2010

A Time to Market, A Time to Just Be Yourself

by Tanya Parker Mills

"To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven." (Ecclesiastes 3:1)

Lately I've had plenty of cause to turn off my automatic e-mail signature and tagline. You know--the rather lengthy one that touts me as a writer of "Fiction that bridges cultures," an award-winning author at that (listing the particular award), and then finishes off with links to my website and blog.

I've turned it off for personal family emails dealing with my mother's recently diagnosed cancer. I mean, we're discussing life and death possibilities and all of that author stuff just seems so out of place. I've turned it off for messages to my daughter at college. She wants to hear from Mom, not Tanya Parker Mills, yada yada yada. I've definitely turned it off for the queries I've been sending out. Agents want the basics, particularly the gist of the story. If they like that, then they'll ask for more. And if they like my manuscript, then (and only then) will they be likely to check me out online, leading them to my website, which features everything in that lengthy signature tagline.

Now, I've decided to turn it off for two more groups of people: you, my ANWA sisters, and my friends over at LDStorymakers. Why? Well, for one thing, we're already acquainted so why should I keep marketing myself to you. When we join we have an opportunity then and there to introduce ourselves to each other. If you're new to ANWA (and missed my introduction) and you come across something I post that you like, your natural curiosity will lead you to check out my website on your own. Granted, you may not have the time, but I figure that I'd rather just be plain old me around all of you. My other reason? It takes up a lot less space on the e-mail lists for both groups. I think I recall several postings from Marsha asking us not to include taglines after our names on these postings, but I still left mine on and I know I haven't been the only one. That ends today.

What do you think? I know we're told we have to market ourselves as writers, but do you agree that there's a time and a place to market...and there's a time and a place to just be you?


  1. Tanya,

    You bring up a great point. I've also been guilty of having a lengthy tagline/email signature. I've shortened it a little, but my rationale was "I want people to know what my latest release is and where my blog & website are".

    I have had the experience where I've emailed a new acquaintance--or even business associate--who brought a discussion about my books, which I like.

    Your post makes me rethink this. I am considering using my tag once a year for about a month--just as a reminder--and then turning it off the rest of the time.

  2. Great food for thought, Tanya. I've never created a tagline for my email--I use that same address for everything, including church communications, so I wouldn't be comfortable having it there, plus I'd be too lazy to turn it on and off!

    I think sometimes it's a balancing act--getting the word out so people know we're authors versus not marketing when it would be better to hold back. I think each author finds that balance he/she is comfortable with.

  3. Thanks for the comments.

    That's an interesting compromise, Terri, and I may want to consider it...maybe for one month just after a new book comes out or something.

    Stephanie, I have two different emails--one for my writer self and one for everything else. The problem is, I prefer the Mac mail system I use for my writer self, so I've ended up using it for family, too. The other hotmail account is too slow. You're right...it is a balancing act.

  4. I think you make a good point. I believe marketing yourself can be over-done. It's kind of like your relative who has signed up with Amway. You can't talk to them without being solicited.

    I agree with the others--balance is everything. People first, salesperson second.

    Thanks for bringing this up.

    Karen Dupaix

  5. I know I hate seeing the real estate or financial planning marketing lines at the end of emails I get from church aquaintances, etc. I'm sure others who get author's tag lines when it's an email about church, family or personal issues probably don't like it, either. I plan to start a writerly self email if I ever get to the point where I have something to put in a tagline.

  6. I know I often clip mine when sending to friends and family. What none of us want to be is annoying!

  7. This is where my stubbornness comes in. I'm out here because I want to meet people. Maybe I should be marketing myself, maybe I shouldn't but right now I'm simply enjoying meeting fellow writers.

  8. Thank you for insights, Tanya. I forgot that I have a signature tagline. I put it on years and years ago. Once in awhile, I will get a comment from someone about it, or someone will ask about me being LDS and I wonder how they knew that information. Now I wonder if I should get rid of it.


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