Updated: Jun 3, 2020
Image by Tumisu from Pixabay
As authors, whether you are traditionally published or an indie author, you will need an email list at some point.
As a traditionally published author, you may have a built-in list from your publisher, but if you ever leave that publisher, what will you have? Nothing. So you need to build your own list that you can take with you.
If you are an indie author, you will need a list, in the event Amazon decides to put you in a time out and not sell your books. (Yes this does happen.)
Having a list of followers that support you as an author, is gold. Building that list is a nightmare. Trust me I know.
I used Mailchimp for a long time. But I have my website through Wix, and they don't play so well with Mailchimp. However, Mailchimp also has some issues I don't like. After a year or so, I finally started using Wix instead of any outside email service. I still have free access. I get 3 free emails a month. That is plenty for me. And I can send up to 5K emails. I am nowhere near that. Making cost no issue for me.
But you can choose whatever service you may want. Here are list that I often hear people mention they use. I haven't tried any but Mailchimp.
Some of you may be asking why you need an email service. I'm no expert, but, having someone organize your email subscribers and allow you to send emails to those people is a lot easier than you doing it yourself.
Now this post ins't about choosing a provider or how...that falls to you. This post is about what to do after you choose your service. How do you collect emails?
And here lies the rub.
First you have to have an email list landing page, on your website, or on a website like Leadpages or OptimizePress. These services, as well as Mailchimp, will provide a landing page for you. You don't need a website, check the pricing.
Okay, you've got your landing page to get subscribers to sign up for you newsletter. If you don't know what to do, how to set up, or what to put in a newsletter, I suggest you read, Newsletter Ninja by Tammie Labrecque. She can help get you started.
Side note: For mine, I send out 2 - 3 emails a month. I include personal stuff. Only my email subscribers get. I usually have a writing tip and something for my readers. Like maybe a new book to try. This is one reason I include something personal. This way it will resonate with everyone. And they can take from it what they need. I also only promote my book when I have a sale, or a new release, or if I am running a special just for my subscribers. This way they don't expect a sales pitch whenever they receive my newsletter.
Back to the topic.
You're ready to go. Got your landing page. You even know what to say in your newsletter, and you may even have a template or one already written. All you need now is someone to send it to.
FIRST AND FOREMOST. NEVER EVER EVER, BUY A LIST. Buying a list will get you crap. You want people to sign up for your list because they want to. They want something from you...they like you. You get the drift.
How do you get those people?
A MUST: You need to offer something to your subscriber. Whether it is a short story, a novella, or a full novel. You could offer bios on all your characters. When your subscriber signs up, they will automatically receive this freebie. (In a hot minute I will tell you what I use to deliver the book...)
Once you have established what to give away, you now need to collect names and emails and give the product away.
I started out trying to get subscribers by:
1. Promoting on social media.
2. Promoting on my website. (This is why you should consider having some kind of website that your fans and followers can go to.)
3. Used Facebook ads to drive traffic to my landing page.
Now these ideas are great and they work. Sort of. But I wasn't really getting anywhere.
Newsletter swaps are great. But you have to have a service that helps you do this. You can't just call up a bunch of thriller writers and say 'hey, want to swap newsletters? I'll promote your book, you promote mine.'
Some of these are paid services. Some are not.
Most if not all, will allow you to give out ARCs (Advanced Reader Copies) join other authors in promoting books of similar genre. You can browse promotions with other authors and you can swap book information and promote their book and they will promote yours to their email list.
The problem I found with Bookfunnel, is most authors want only authors that are established and have a large email list. There are several promos that I found for those like me, that didn't have a huge listing. But they were few and far between.
I have looked into all of these. I chose to use StoryOrigin. It works for me. Currently it is free, but I'm sure at some point he will change that. I don't think it will be expensive, but I will pay the price, because I like it.
Now, these services will integrate with an email service like Mailchimp or Aweber, or they will allow you to download a CSV file of all the subscribers you have. This is what I do. Takes very little effort, so don't let that scare you.
I download the file and upload it to my Wix contacts. I name each list I upload on Wix a name like StoryOrigin subscribers Jan 6th to Jan 10th. This way I always know what group of new contacts I have downloaded from StoryOrigin. (I am not an affiliate of SO. I simply use the product.)
On StoryOrigin, I have joined promos for my reader magnet giveaway. These promos are geared towards giving away the magnet in order to get people to subscribe to my email list.
I have done newsletter swaps. These are geared towards telling your subscribers about new books they can download. Some are free, some are not. The other author offers your book to his or her subscribers. I usually offer my Innocence Taken book. I don't discount it for these swaps. If it happens to be, then great.
By doing the newsletter swaps, I am not necessarily getting subscribers. I imagine some of them signup for my newsletter, but these are used to gain new readers. Which in turn, hopefully, will gain them as a subscriber.
Either way, I am getting exposure. Reaching new audiences that I can turn into fans.
Choose what works for you, but I do believe this is something all authors should add to their tool box. I did not do this when I first started. I was against it. But now, as my audience grows and social media is changing how I can interact with my audience, I need something that is all mine. No one can put limitations on what I can offer my subscribers. I am in full control of this list.
For my current subscribers, look for a video on StoryOrigin and how it works. I plan on doing a tutorial very soon. (Oh, and if you want to see my videos, those are only available to my website/email subscribers. See the perks you can give your followers?)
Please share this post. Leave a comment and let me know what you use and how it's working for you.
About Victoria: She conjures up her murders while binge watching Netflix and drinking copious amounts of whiskey and lately coffee. If you want to keep up with her and her writing, follow her on Facebook @DarkForcePress and Twitter @DarkForcePress. She is on Pinterest too @VictoriaMPatton. Sign up for her email newsletter and keep up with new releases and special content only for subscribers.