Updated: May 2
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 puts you in a time out and will 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.
You can choose whatever service you may want. Here are list that I often hear people mention they use.
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 isn'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 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 your 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 1 -2 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.
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.'
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.
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 Bookfunnel subscribers Jan 6th to Jan 10th. This way I always know what group of new contacts I have downloaded from Bookfunnel. (I am not an affiliate, I simply use the product.)
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.