For a long time, junk mail annoyed me. It often came with my name and address printed on multiple sheets inside, so I couldn't just throw it away. Not in these days of identity theft. No, I had to handle it somehow. And I didn't like it. I resented that these businesses made me responsible for their paperwork without my consent! I was outraged. I lamented the time it took out of my day to shred these unsolicited materials. At times, I even seethed. I could find no purpose for this pile of paper, other than recycling. Even that annoyed me because it was my electricity used to shred the stuff, my gasoline used to transport it to the recycling center, and my time wasted dealing with it.

But then, I had a change of heart. An idea formed in my mind. I decided to stop being angry at the producers of this junk mail and use it to my advantage. I began looking at my junk mail in a new way, with new eyes. I began to see every piece as a marketing opportunity. With this attitude, I started actually looking forward to receiving junk mail. In fact, the more the better.

Instead of grumbling as I sent it through the shredder, I took the extra minute or two to review the material. I took the sheet or form they helpfully enclosed for my response and thanked them for their offers, each of which I politely declined. But while I had their attention, I took the golden opportunity to tell them about my products: the books my co-author and I have written. It was great fun! I included a link where they could purchase our novels and short story collections, should they so desire. I figured if they were kind enough to tell me about their products or services, the least I could do is return the favor and tell them about mine. I looked at it this way: I am not pursuing them. They are the ones who initiated the correspondence by sending me unsolicited mail. I am merely replying to their letters. It was with satisfaction that I sent off my information in the handy postage-paid envelopes they had thoughtfully provided for my responses. It was relatively easy too, since I already had stickers printed up with our book info on them. I was delighted to find a way to use these and smiled as I sent the envelopes on their way.

Then, something happened. The junk mail began to fall off. Now, I hardly receive any. But why? I don't know the answer for sure. I can only guess. I suppose the junk-mail-senders don't really want to correspond with me about great products after all. They only wanted me to be interested in theirs. It was a one-sided relationship, I soon discovered. When I tried to make it into a two-sided affair, they dropped me like a hot pan. Sigh. Oh well. It was fun while it lasted.