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Let’s get technical for a minute here, erotica fans.

Many authors and publishers use email newsletters to offer readers special deals, release announcements, and similar publishing news. I have one myself; it’s pretty great and you should sign up for it if you haven’t already.

But here’s the catch: most of those newsletters won’t make it through the spam filter at most major email providers.

spam-filterGmail is especially awful for erotica authors. The going assumption seems to be that anything with a scandalous word like “sex” or “ladies” or even “sale” (much less, god help you, “shemale” or “transsexual”) is 1990s-style virus-laden spam.

There are no exceptions, carve-outs, or “look I’m a real person selling real products that real people really want” hoops that the senders can jump through. That leaves erotica authors with three basic strategies for getting their newsletters through to the people that actually want to receive them:

  • Adopt the same keyword-dodging tactics as actual spammers by breaking “suspicious” words up: “S*E*X*Y* New Title from A. Vivian Vane etc.
  • Water down descriptions and link names to the point that they don’t elicit any excitement from security bots (and, likely readers): “Great New Book About The Things You Guys Like To Read About, You Know What I Mean, Wink Wink” etc.
  • Beg often and repeatedly for users to “whitelist” the sending address, telling their email client specifically to stop shuffling newsletters into the Spam folder.

The last is the hardest and generally least effective, since it relies on other people to take action. But I’ll put the plea out there anyway: if you’re on an erotica-related mailing list, and it’s been a while since you heard from the author/publisher, check your spam folder. Odds are you’ll find plenty of buried treasure.

And while you’re at it, whitelist the sender’s email address so you never have to go digging through the Spam folder again. It takes a couple of clicks and yes, it’s stupid that they make it as hard as they do.

But for reals, listen ye to an erotica author’s plea: whitelist us. Please. We’re never gonna make it through to you 100% of the time (or even more than 0% of the time, all too often) if you don’t.

Because emails that use naughty grown-up words like “sex” are scary, don’tcha know?