Direct advertising to an interested audiences is one of the most effective marketing tactics, so DON’T skip setting up an email list!
Starting a Mail List
When choose a mailing list provider, consider what features you need most. Many authors find features such as automation, website integration, social media sharing, and easy to use templates essential features.
Popular providers include MailChimp, MailerLite, ConstantContact, ConvertKit, Aweber. Prices typically vary depending on the number of subscribers, though most start out with a free account that has a small subscriber limit so you can test the service and its features.
Be sure to create a public email account, through your website preferably, that you can use as your contact email. This prevents email newsletters from being marked as spam and looks more professional than using a personal email.
Legally, you MUST provide an address at the bottom of emails you sent out through a list service. Use a PO Box if possible to protect your privacy.
Sending out emails
There are two main types of emails authors typically send out, a weekly/monthly/quarterly newsletter and email blasts for special deals or new releases.
Newsletters should be sent regularly regardless of special deals or sales. If you don’t have any book news, share updates on your writing progress, personal life (don’t get too personal!), hobbies you enjoy, or interesting research you’ve done.
The frequency of newsletters varies by author. Some send them out weekly, monthly, or quarterly. It largely depends on what content they have to offer and how much time they have available for putting together and sending out a newsletter. Whatever schedule you choose, stay consistent so readers know what to expect and don’t forget about you.
Blasts are sent out in between regular newsletters to announce new releases, sales, promotions, special deals, contests, giveaways, and other exciting information that can’t wait until the next newsletter. These can be great attention getters, but should NOT be over used. Too many emails lead to unsubscribes.
Email List Tips
Use high quality graphics to catch the reader’s eye. Include your author logo (if you have one) at the top of the email so readers immediately recognize who the email is from. Make sure images are a manageable size so they load properly. Email service will usually advise you to compress an image if it’s too big.
Keep text short and sweet. Don’t use big blocks of text. Stick to one-liners and brief explanations whenever possible. The goal is to catch the reader’s attention and get them to click on something.
Share more than just book news. Engage with your readers on a personal level. This doesn’t mean airing all your dirty laundry. Stick to interesting anecdotes or facts about you or your writing and let readers know you’re still working away, but you also have a life outside of writing.
Start building a list as early as possible. Don’t wait until you’re ready to launch a book. Get readers interested in your writing as soon as possible, so when that book is ready you have a base of interested readers ready to buy.
Write strong headlines to encourage opens. Be concise with your wording and tell readers exactly what you’re offering (new book, free book, updates, giveaway, etc.). Avoid using excessive punctuation, as this can get your email marked as spam.