The Weekly Debate (17): Responding to Emails

 good ol' communication // source

At some point in every busy blogger’s life (or anyone that has a presence online), I think we all ask ourselves: should I respond to all emails? There is no doubt that responding to emails takes chunks of precious time, so where is the line between obligation, plain courtesy, and simple preference?

Ideally, I would love to respond to each and every email. I know everyone that bothers to email me takes the time to look at my blog and send an email my way and I feel honored that anyone out there would contact me. (Yes, it sounds like I have abysmally low self-esteem, but it still amazes me that people actually like to hear what I have to say. I literally have a mini-adrenaline rush every time I see a new comment pop-up in my inbox. My fellow book bloggers, do you ever get over that?) But… here’s what I’ve been doing:

OTHER BLOGGERS/READERSI always, always respond. (If I haven’t, it’s probably because I missed your email *is an airhead*, in which case, I’m sorry!) Communication is one of my favorite and, in my opinion, a key aspect to blogging, so it’s extremely important that the connection in the blogosphere and between blogger and reader is established and maintained. I started my blog to share my thoughts, and that’s what I want to keep doing. No homework pile is going to stop me. *dons Catwoman suit*

For the record, if I get mauled by a werewolf, shot by an elven archer, sneezed on by a dragon -- I will die responding. Amen.

AUTHORS/PUBLISHERS – … This is the part I’m really uncertain about. I used to respond to every review request I received, regardless of if I accepted or declined. For ones I declined, I always tried to give specific reasons for why I really didn’t think the book fit the usual types of books I enjoy and/or review. But now that I receive many more requests than, say, I did in early 2010, my most legit reason half-to-most of the time is “I don’t have enough time.Should I email quickly back just to say that? I'm a bit hesitant on this kind of response because I feel like it might be more offensive than me not responding.

The review requests that I’m really interested in (as in I'm 96.5% certain I'll enjoy), I email back almost immediately. However, for most others, I put them in the starred section of my inbox, telling myself I’ll consider reviewing them... then usually forget.  Despicable, despicable me. 

As for when I email authors and they don't respond, I'm not offended. I realize that we are all busy, busy people, and I know that a lack of response isn't from malicious intent. Or I hope not. *bouts of insecurity*


So what do you guys think: 

• Is it vital to respond to all emails regardless of the subject matter -- so is it a question of courtesy or self-discretion? 

• For my fellow book bloggers out there, what do you do?

For readers and authors/publishers, what kind of response would you prefer to see?

communication off trees // source