If you’re looking to really take your writing career to the next level in 2018, you need three big things: a website, a mailing list, and a social media strategy. We’ve spent the last four weeks talking about the major social media platforms, now let’s talk about mailing lists for authors.
As an author, your mailing list is the key you need to continue to grow your writing business. So let’s talk about where you even begin.
1. You Need a Mailing Provider
There are plenty of free providers like Mailerlite and Mailchimp. There are also paid ones like Active Campaign and Convertkit. I’ve used all four in the past. Right now, Laura Teagan is on Mailerlite. Until I need to pay, I’m in a cost-cutting mode so I want to keep Laura Teagan (And Ginger & Co.) lean and mean. Starting out, you don’t need to pay for a mailing provider, but you do want to pick one that has automation.
Automation is a fancy word that means when someone signs up for the Laura Teagan email list are going to automatically get a series of emails that introduce them to Laura Teagan and her books. I won’t get too in-depth over automation now (that’s a post for next year), but you want to at least look for something that you can build your way into.
2. When You Sign up
When you sign up for your mailing list provider, you’ll need to create a main list. Depending on which provider you pick, you have different ways to organize it. This is all things you can worry about later on, the point is that you want to sign up and have a place to collect emails. You’ll need a signup form and a list to attach it to. Many of these services let you build a landing page on their website if you don’t have your own site, but you need to have your own website.
3. Where Do I Find Those Emails?
Social media is a place to start. During all the social media posts, I kept mentioning how you want to drive people to your mailing list. If Facebook and Twitter broke tomorrow, you’d still be able to export your mailing list and take it elsewhere. You need a fan base that can move with you, regardless of what happens on the internet.
4. You Got the Emails, but now what?
Now you have to talk to them! Whether it’s once a week or you contact them once a month or anywhere between, be consistent. Tell them how life is going, what books you’ve read, and keep them updated on the books you’re writing. As with all the social media platforms, you want to push people to your books, but don’t do just that.
Find a routine that works for you (I like once a month) just to give people an update on what I’m working on. On my website, I do quarterly reading and writing goals, and the newsletter expands upon those and focuses on a month-by-month basis.
At the end of all my newsletters, I take time to ask people they’re reading because I’m always looking for good book recommendations.
Your newsletter needs to have some humanity and something to connect you to your readers. Don’t just be a robot pushing books, have a conversation. Engage with people on your newsletter and remember, they gave you their email.
They want to hear from you.