The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins

new-mailchimp-logoWhat happens when a reader finishes your e-books? What’s the first thing they see? What’s the first thing they do? Back-matter is extremely important. Presuming you have done your job as a writer well, it’s a golden opportunity to draw readers into your world.

The basic components of effective back-matter are fairly straightforward: blurbs for and/or links to your other books, links to whatever social media presence you have, a short note requesting reviews, and, most important of all, a link to your New Release Mailing List.

If you don’t have a mailing list already, you need to set one up immediately. It’s one of the most powerful tools at your disposal. Without an effective method for collecting readers’ emails (which I’ll get to), every time you have a sales spike, every time you go on a free run, you are missing out on a huge opportunity to build a sustainable future for yourself as a writer.

Authors and publishers regularly gripe about Amazon. They fear depending on a third party. They worry about diversification and independence. But many of them don’t do the single most important thing to build that independence and ensure that their future financial health is not at the mercy of someone else.

Without a mailing list, most of your readers will still find your other books. Amazon’s system does a pretty good job of recommending books by the same author, and they aren’t too hard to find if a reader noses around a little anyway. Outside of Amazon, it’s a little more challenging – given the deficiencies of its competitors – but not impossible.

But even if the various retailers’ systems for recommending other titles by the same author were perfect, having a mailing list would still be crucial. You don’t want to wait until Amazon’s system eventually gets around to recommending the next book in the series to your readers; you want them to buy that new release during launch week to win your book crucial visibility right from the start.

In the traditional publishing world, when a big author like Dan Brown or Stephen King has a new release, it’s accompanied by a big marketing budget, and you will see ads all over the place: newspapers, billboards, and public transport.

The main aim of this advertising is not to bring new readers to these authors, but to announce to existing readers that the book is out. The hope is that enough fans will hear about the new release and buy it during launch week – thus pushing it high in the print bestseller lists, giving the book lucrative visibility from which it will likely kick on and sell a ton more.

The strategy for self-publishers and e-books is somewhat similar, but doesn’t require the same kind of marketing spend – or indeed any. If you have been diligently collecting readers’ email addresses from the beginning, you will already know the power of your mailing list.

Hitting that list when you release a new book can really launch it up the charts, first gaining you traction on the various Hot New Releases lists for your chosen categories, and then hopefully pushing you onto the respective Best Seller lists.

Without such a mailing list, you are merely hoping that your existing readers hear about your new book, and that they buy it relatively quickly.

There really is no logic in ignoring such a powerful tool, but it’s never too late. If you don’t have a mailing list, start collecting names today.

Mailing List Providers

I use MailChimp. It’s free, it’s powerful, it has a good record of avoiding spam filters (which is crucial), it has great tracking (so you can see who clicked what, and tweak successive emails accordingly), and it produces very pretty emails without any graphic design skills needed. The interface can be a little fiddly, but with a bit of tinkering you can get pretty looking emails like this one.

Contrary to what I’ve heard some say, MailChimp does allow Amazon affiliate links, so you can earn around 7% extra on any books sold via your email blast.

One of the only drawbacks with MailChimp is that it’s only free up to 2,000 subscribers. But if you have that many on your list, money is probably not as pressing a concern as it used to be and you can either spring for MailChimp’s paid service, or an alternative provider like AWeber or SMTP – which many consider better value at that level.

Capturing Email Addresses

Once you have set up MailChimp (or your preferred provider), you will be given a link to your mailing list sign-up page. The default form is fairly basic and boring, but you can customize it by following these instructions.

You can place this link anywhere you like: your blog, your Facebook Page (via a nifty app), and, most importantly, in the back-matter of your books.

The latter is the most crucial of all. I strongly urge you to put a clickable link to your mailing list at the back of all your books; it should be one of the first things that readers see when they finish.

The Right Tool For The Job

Some people use their mailing lists to send out a newsletter – filled with all sorts of odds and ends – but I’m not sure that’s the best approach, for me at least. If people want to know what I’m up to, I have a blog, Facebook Page, and Twitter account. They can choose their preferred method of engagement.

Naturally, some people are concerned that you will either clutter their already overflowing inboxes with unwanted crap, or that you will share their information with somebody else.

As such, I exclusively use my mailing list for announcing new releases. I put in a simple line or two (which varies, depending on the book), saying something like “To hear about new books first, sign up to my New Release Mailing List.”

Try and drive sign-ups every so often. Some writers to that by offering discounts, or a free short story. One way I try and entice readers by assuring them that mailing list subscribers will hear about new releases before anyone else.

If you post excerpts of your upcoming releases on your blog, or do things like cover reveals to drum up interest prior to a release, that’s the perfect time to point people towards your mailing list (like I did here).

That post got me 50 new mailing list subscribers straight away – people who are reasonably likely to purchase my next book immediately on release, pushing it up the charts and gaining it crucial visibility, which, as you should know by now, can have a multiplying effect on your sales with no further effort on your part.

Convinced yet?

***

Apologies for the recent blog silence. I’ve been tearing my hair out trying to finish Let’s Get Visible: How To Get Noticed And Sell More Books – which I hope to get to the editor later this month.

It will cover topics like this one in greater depth, as well as all sorts of good stuff like how to achieve greater visibility on Amazon, and how to promote your books in a way that won’t eat into writing time or drive you crazy. The peeps on my New Release Mailing List always hear about new releases before anyone else. To sign-up, click here. (See what I did there?)

***

Finally, a note on something unrelated to publishing and books. It’s the first Thursday of the month when all the galleries in East London open late. My girlfriend has been running a gallery on Vyner Street called House of Vostrovska for the last six months and we have a great exhibition debuting tonight. For any culture vultures in the London area, the fun starts at 6pm, and the show runs until 9pm. Details here.

For those further afield, you can see some of the jewellery she makes here (including brooches made from pigs’ intestines. No joke).

About davidgaughran

David Gaughran is an Irish writer, living in Prague, and author of Mercenary, A Storm Hits Valparaiso, Let's Get Digital, Let's Get Visible and this here blog thing.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

96 Responses to The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins

  1. scm2814 says:

    Reblogged this on Shadow Tower Archive and commented:
    Okay, sensible and practical advice for writers, whether hard copy, Ebola or fanfic. Fanfic writers get a slight edge, as faving and following usually accomplish this automatically. I gotta remember to get one of these… you know, once I manage to finish editing…

  2. Jaye says:

    You’ve been missed, David. Glad to hear it’s because of a new book (and not something awful).

    Terrific advice, as usual.
    As for the pig guts jewelry…? Oh. My, my, my. :D

    • Thanks Jaye. Aside from wrestling with the book (I swear, if Amazon stops changing things for 5 mins, I will actually finish it!), there was the whole Christmas period (I flew home for a bit), and then helping out with the gallery. I think I needed a little break too.

      I’ve been lurking at your blog though!

  3. Great post, David! I’m still a little torn about mailing lists, but I totally agree that if you do them, it should just be for new releases.

    • Torn in what sense, Stan? I can’t think of one good reason not to do a new release mailing list. It’s an incredibly powerful tool – probably the most powerful one at your disposal. If you are worried about readers, the only people that will sign up are people that want to hear about your new releases as soon as possible. You are doing them a service!

      • Well, I’ve signed up for several of them, mostly from big-name authors. And I can honestly say that I’ve read each and every one that came to me, but never — ever — used that email to go purchase a book.

        Speaking purely for myself, they just seem too, I don’t know… Just too “come buy my book” like…

        The ones I’m referring to are from Grisham and Clancy, and for me as a big fan of these guys, it just seems almost disrespectful that they won’t blog or share their lives or tell me how their lives are going until blam, they’ve released a book. Or have upcoming events they want you at.

        And I just have this feeling like, but wait, is that all you care about? You want me to buy your stuff, but you won’t give me what I want?

        Who knows… Maybe I would be super private, too, but I think you need to engage your audience if you’re ever blessed enough to have one.

        (Sigh. I’m so torn about hitting post because, I don’t know… This all sounds weird and stupid and probably a lot of people will rip me for saying it, but it’s how I feel…. You asked, and I answered as honestly and respectfully as I could. And David, if people start to rip me or this comment, can you just take it down? I don’t want the drama.)

      • The commenters here are far too nice for behavior like that :)

        Let’s look at your reasoning though. I can understand what you are saying, but it sounds like you thought you were getting one thing when you signed up, only to be hit with another.

        I make it very clear that my mailing list will only be used for new book announcements. If people want to know what’s going on with me in general, I have my blog, Twitter, and Facebook – and there are links to all those at the back of my books too.

      • Totally agree. What I said DOES NOT apply to most indie authors, and certainly not you. Hell, we’ve never met, but I’d drive two hours to meet you and buy you a beer.

        You share, you engage, you even answer foreigner’s comments from far lands! : )

        Maybe a better way to phrase what I’m saying is that new authors would need to do more than JUST do this.

    • Mark Chapman says:

      Stan; I’m glad you did press the post button because what you said makes a lot of sense. I also want to connect in a more personal way with writers I like.

      However, I think the mailing list is a must, and as long as you use it as you say you will use it, then, as David says, you are doing them a favor.

  4. For anyone looking for a solution simpler than MailChimp, there’s TinyLetter, which I highly recommend. (It’s owned and powered by MailChimp.) I didn’t start growing my list until recently. Wish I had done more from the start.

  5. I see there value, and have one – I’ve just sent off a Mailchimp newsletter – but my list isn’t exactly expanding. Can’t wait for your new book!

  6. Thanks so much for this great post and the links to these resources. You are a novice author’s best friend!

  7. Can’t wait for your next Let’s Get Digital book!

  8. laurenwaters says:

    I followed your advice about creating a mailing list awhile back and I’m so glad I did! I’ve collected a nice list of fans and I can’t wait to see how it helps my upcoming release. I also mentioned the new release mailing list on my author bio on Amazon and I saw an increase in subscriptions after that. Great advice, as always.

    • My list is a bit of a hodge-podge of people who like my shorts, my historical stuff, and my self-publishing stuff – so I don’t really know how many sales I’m going to get from it before I actually hit the list. If you are writing in one genre though (esp. a series), you should be able to watch the growth of your list and estimate future sales from it.

      • laurenwaters says:

        I wish I had the mailing list up from the start. I’m sure there are folks that enjoy your book and think they’ll check back to see when you get the next book out but forget about it. This way, you can remind them!

        Even with a hodge-podge list, the most important thing is just visibility! If your book doesn’t get noticed it has no chance of selling. Speaking of visibility…I can’t wait for the next book!

        BTW, David, not sure if you’ve heard of Bookbub, but I strongly recommend it. Worked wonders for me last month.

  9. AGClaymore says:

    Setting up a mailing list has been a stumbling block for me. It’s strangely difficult to find good recommendations for a list program. I think I’ll take MC out for a spin and see how it handles.
    Thanks David, and good to hear from you again.

  10. David,
    many thanks for this blog post. You’re reinforcing my tentative idea of setting up an email list for my writing endeavors. I like how you only send out a message for a new release or an event, that sounds very doable and easy to handle for subscribers.

    I use AWeber (aweber.com) for my other business, and I’ve been very happy with them. MailChimp starts to cost money as soon as you go for a double opt-in, and then AWeber is actually cheaper than MailChimp.

    Oh, and I’m reading “Let’s Get Digital” at the moment, and it’s a huge help for setting up my first ebook on Amazon. Thank you so much for that book!

  11. Wow, that was really useful and hands-on advice, thanks a lot for sharing! Another thing on my to do list, I guess…. And yes, I wish I had known about this before I uploaded my books, because now I need to re-upload them ;)

    Is there a way to create an automated answer email to send out a code for a free ebook, for example, as soon as someone subscribes?

    • Saoirse,

      After people sign up for your newsletter, MailChimp sends them an email, asking them to confirm the subscription. After they confirm, they get a “welcome email.”

      You can customize the beginning text of the email, so it’s a good place to insert a Smashwords code to a free ebook or insert a link to an article/short story only accessible to subscribers.

      The process is automated–just make sure that you customize the welcome email when you design your signup form.

      PS For anyone in the “hodge podge” boat, you can also customize your MailChimp signup form so that readers can choose their segment of interest: ie self-publishing tips, romance novels, contests, etc. Then you can send email blasts to one particular group or to all of them, depending on the situation.

      If interested, I’ve done a post showing how to do exactly that — with screenshots — http://cindafernando.com/2012/author-websites/how-to-embed-mailchimp-form-wordpress-website/

      The tradeoff with using this method is that your form may come across as more complicated than it is…which may make people less likely to sign up.

  12. * Bookmarked * Another solid post, David. I’ve admittedly been procrastinating on this front. Even after setting up a Mail Chimp account several months ago, which I used to announce my latest book releases, I’ve not swapped out my old method for collecting reader info (having them email me) for the new sign-up page. So gracias for the kick in the ol’ pantalones. Also, do you know of a good resource for setting up a Facebook author/fan page? Been dragging my feet here as well. Oh, and welcome back to your blog :)

  13. Hello!
    Good to have you back after so long. I’m Romanian, so when I’ve decided to try and selfpublish you were my main resource of ideas and advice. I’ve followed your advice, I’ve joined Absolute Writer and started bloging more frequently and now I’m trying to build a readership and thanks to you, it works. Small steps, but definitely a progress.

    I’m stll not at the stage where I need a mailing list, but I’ll keep in mind to set one up a few months before publishing.

    I’d need some pointers, if you don’t mind: I have more than 600 haiku in English and only recently I’ve started to share these on my blog, due to National Haiku Writing Month, challenge I entered to only to learn discipline in writng. I’ve also started writing prose again recently and it’s kind of a mix on my blog. My questions are: 1. Do I need 2 blogs or can I keep only one? and 2. Do you think publishing my haiku poems months before my novella would help? 3. do you think having both prose and poetry published would disorientate readers?

    Waiting for your answer. Good luck with your book and have a pleasant evening!
    Adriana

  14. Brit Darby says:

    Reblogged this on Brit Darby and commented:
    Some thought-provoking points…

  15. sharkbytes says:

    Just set up a list. Now we’ll see how it works.

  16. Pingback: Why Hitting the “Bigtime” is a Myth

  17. Karin Cox says:

    Great post, Dave. I’ve linked to it from my recent “Why Hitting the Bigtime is a Myth” post on IRT. Looking forward to seeing LG Visible soon.

  18. Wo3lf says:

    Thanks, David. This is an important article for me. It’s been almost a year now since I started following you. For most of last year I stood outside the game, watching, learning, and writing. Well, I did it, I finished something and published it on the last day of 2012. I’m in the game now, and I even received some praise from people I don’t know. I was surprised at how big an impact a compliment on my writing can have on me. It is scary. And it’s thanks to you and Konrath and a dozen others who shared their valuable time and hard earned experiences with complete strangers. I want to thank you for that, sincerely.

    But I forgot about the mailing list. At the time I thought it arrogant of me to even consider doing something like that and wanted to wait for the second book. That was stupid of me and makes no sense now. I didn’t do a launch for the first book, but I will for the next one, and this time I will have a mailing list in place.

    Thanks again and have a great evening.

  19. I’ve been offering free bonus chapters to my series as a draw to get people to join my list – and I had a good number of people sign up before I published my first novel! I also give my list the heads up on new books first. I just gave them the first glimpse of my cover and the description before I gave any of that out on my blog or social media. It’s exciting to see the response from my list.

    If they feel like they’re in an exclusive club, they’ll stay! I know that’s why I stay on the lists that I do.

  20. Great post, David. Any pointers on gathering email addresses? With so many people using Facebook and the like, the thought of compiling one is a bit daunting—though I see the value. I guess I’ve been figuring that my blog takes the place of a list. Thoughts??

    • The prime spot is right at the back of the book. Most of my sign-ups come from there. Your website/blog is important too, and I would recommend adding a link to your Facebook Page also. For the latter, MailChimp have an app which works with Facebook Pages very well.

  21. mctiller says:

    You can create several different types of lists as well. One for new releases and maybe another like an “insiders” list. They see blog posts and other content before everyone else.

  22. David, clear and helpful as always. To be honest, I’m continually amazed at the number of self-published writers that don’t request reviews and invite readers to contact them in the back matter of their books. I can’t speak for everyone, but in my experience it’s been the single most effective thing I’ve done. I believe a reader’s interest is fairly perishable, and if they just completed your book and feel good about it, you’ve really a very small window to motivate them to act on that positive feeling. I ask for both reviews and direct feedback.

    Another area that I seldom see discussed much is correspondence with readers. That’s more a personal thing with me, because I’m admittedly not very good at social media. I much prefer to engage readers who contact me in one-on-one correspondence, and I maintain a running correspondence with many of them, based on friendship and shared interests. They’ve become not just readers or customers, but friends.

    The correspondence does take time, but I don’t regret a minute of it, because I enjoy it, and readers in return have been amazingly loyal and supportive. When I launched my second thriller in September, I had two dozen reviews in a week, and fifty before the month was out, and DEADLY COAST was a solid seller from day one. It is a cumulative process, and the list grows slowly, a few each week. But in my view, it’s the old question of quality vs. quantity. I believe 500 fiercely loyal readers trump 5,000 mildly interested readers every time.

    And the entire process starts, as you pointed out, with a compelling invitation in your back matter. Thanks again for a great post.

  23. Pingback: The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins | History Curiosity | Scoop.it

  24. Pingback: The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins | The Writer's Resource Cupboard | Scoop.it

  25. Ryan Casey says:

    Great post, David, and even better to have you back. I hope Let’s Get Visible isn’t treating you too badly, or I’ll have a word!

    I’ve had a mailing list for a few months now, and link to it in the back of all my books. I also link to my Facebook and Twittet profiles, and have had more success with the latter (a flurry of likes after a recent big free promo), but it’s always good to have the option there for people.

    And y’know, it’s a great tool to have for, what, five minutes of work?

    Ryan

  26. thatgrrl says:

    One of the last things I want is another mailing list clumping up in my inbox. I never end up reading them. I hardly even look at the title as I delete it. Or, I never see it at all if I set a filter up to move it to it’s own folder in my email account. Some day when I think about how much junk I have in my email account I just go ahead and delete it all, all the contents in the folder and then I might go to the website to unsubscribe. I don’t trust the unsubscribe stuff though so it’s easier to avoid ever signing up for email lists or just let them pour in to be filtered out and deleted later.

  27. Reblogged this on writingvortex and commented:
    LOL! Late to the party much? Many of us already knew this. That’s how we ended up on the NYT bestseller list…

  28. Can I ask a weird question? What if you need over 2K? What do you do then? Do you just pay a fee? How much does that cost?

  29. Kelly says:

    This is great! Thank you so much. I’d never thought about a mailing list, and am still in the process of figuring out well, everything. x

  30. Pingback: Writing Resources: 9 February 2013 | Gene Lempp ~ Writer

  31. Pingback: This Week in Self-Publishing: Back Matter, iBooks, and Sexting | Suess's Pieces

  32. Pingback: Saturday Fiction Writers And Indie Publishers Round Up 22 | J.J.Foxe.com

  33. Pingback: Monday Mentions: Dogs vs Cats & Write Schtuff « Amy Shojai's Blog

  34. Pingback: Writer Wednesday « creative barbwire (or the many lives of a creator)

  35. Pingback: Back Matter: The Simple Secret to Selling More Books • Ryan Casey

  36. If you’re having trouble getting people to sign UP for your mailing list, here’s a few ideas:

    When you do a giveaway as part of a blog tour, or social media chat (like take a week and chat every day at a certain time on the #giveaways about your, um giveaway, on Twitter) direct people to sign up for your newsletter to enter. This will allow you to capture their information and save you from having to transfer information over from Rafflecopter.

    Last year, this time, I did a blog tour of virtually signing ebook files for each reader, so each reader had a completely unique file emailed to them. My email newsletter form asked them which format they needed (so I know who has a kindle and who has a nook), and one of their hobbies so I could make it clear it was a note JUST for them. In the email I sent back, another individual thing, I explained how to sideload the file. This brought me 249 new signups to my newsletter when before I had NONE.

    Finally, another idea would be for authors in a similar genre to band together and agree that when one has a new release, or runs a big sale (like $.99) and with no greater frequency than once per month, you will all alert your newsletter people, perhaps even including a special message from the other author him or herself. Readers like to be treated like they are special and in the know, at least the ones who reach out to hear from authors do. Never forget, to all of them, we’re ALL bestsellers and it’s neat to say “Oh yeah, this book I’m reading? Yeah, I know the author.”

    Make sure you always make the ASK, ask for people to signup for your newsletter, ask in the email for them to forward their newsletter to a friend they know also reads book like these, ask for the sale “Why not try TITLE by AUTHOR for only 99 cents and enjoy the few hours escape to SETTING?”

    BTW I LOVE mailchimp, David. And the stats after you send out a email are cool to see who opened, who didn’t, who clicked, etc. Lists are great too so you can narrow your focus even more for certain events when you want to reward loyal followers.

  37. Shel Delisle says:

    David, Thanks for this post! Lots of great information and it reminded me to link Facebook with MailChimp. So that’s something I can cross off my list. :) Really looking forward to Let’s Get Visible, because I’m certain it will contain a few golden nuggets.

  38. Pingback: Link Feast For Writers, vol. 41 | Reetta Raitanen's Blog

  39. Pingback: The End is Near (and we deserve it) . . . Valentine’s Dog Kissing Contest « Bayard & Holmes

  40. I am in the process of converting my backlist of three thrillers published between 1990-2002. The film rights for one were sold, and another was an international bestseller. I own the rights to them. Should I upload them all to KDP Select at the same time, or just do one? I know that this doesn’t have much to do with MailChimp, etc., but it’s a question that needs answering.

  41. Pingback: Increase your book sales by using a mailing list: David Gaughran gives great advice | UK INDIE AUTHORS

  42. Ivin says:

    If you have a website with decent traffic, you’re going to benefit from giving (one of) your books away for free. Or you could give away the first chapter that has an amazing opening ending in a cliffhanger.

  43. Pingback: Tips for Successful Listbuilding | Authors Paradise

  44. Pingback: I’ve (Finally!) Set Up a Mailing List! | Jessica Meigs

  45. Pingback: Book Launch: How to Launch an eBook in 2013 • Ryan Casey

  46. Pingback: The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins | J.M. Dattilo

  47. mysticdhaval says:

    I am new to this thing and want to make my own mailing list.. cam you help me davidgaughran and i am also confused between subscribe letters and mailing list :3 please do tell

  48. The author with the biggest mailing list wins indeed. However, It’s not just about sheer number of subscribers. If you have a large mailing list but terrible engagement and open rates then a list isn’t worth much. It’s all about degree of trust and engagement.

    A loyal email list is worth a lot of money. If you can email 10,000 list subscribers and 10% of them (1,000) end up buying a $20 book you’ll generate $20,000 with one email. Pretty good. Amplify the numbers to 100,000 list subscribers and it starts to get scary. You would generate $200,000 in book sales with one single email. All because you have a large mailing list of people who love everything you do, make and send.

    A more accurate statement might be: “The author with the biggest mailing list of ideal fans and customers who adore everything he/she does, makes and sends wins”.

    For a few dozen more ideas on growing a mailing list check out this post:

  49. Reblogged this on A Therapy Session and commented:
    Thank you, David , for your insight! KathiCounselor@ATherapySession.wordpress.com

  50. Pingback: 15 Ways Amazon Can Improve Kindle Direct Publishing | David Gaughran

  51. Pingback: LynneQuisition: David Gaughran | Indies Unlimited

  52. David, I started with MailChimp but ran into a problem; my home address is listed on the confirmation message and I cannot see how to remove that. My search for a solution has not been successful. Is there any way to remove the address from the confirmation message? Thanks!

    • Hi Melissa, As far as I’m aware, you have to provide a postal address of some sort to comply with CAN-SPAM legislation. Some people choose to get a PO Box or use some other business address.

      • Thanks; that was what I was finding in other forums. However, looks like that’s not the case with TinyLetter, so I will go with them. Great post!

      • Oh that’s interesting. Okay, well, check out their subscriber/send limits etc. to make sure you don’t have to switch too quickly etc. (And let us know what TinyLetter is like to use!)

  53. Pingback: The Author With The Biggest Mailing List Wins | David Gaughran | alex guldbeck, web consultant

  54. High five on a fantastic post. Thanks David! I hope you don’t mind if I copied your mailing list link page formatting. I really enjoyed how clean you made it. MailChimp is slick like that once you turn the dials. Thanks to this post, you helped me learn how :)

    Thanks for putting out great stuff – just finished Let’s Get Digital and your podcast with Joanna Penn. Off to pick up Let’s Get Visible…

  55. Simon Townley says:

    David – HOW does one add a Mailchimp signup form to an ebook? It’s not obvious. Might be worth blogging about this, because I can’t find the information anywhere. (I’m using Scrivener to create my Kindly and epub files, by the way).

  56. Todd Ebach says:

    I believe that there are a lot of new opportunities for authors to gain exposure to their books, especially self-published authors. What I am referring to is subscription-based reading.

    A couple months back, oysterbooks.com came out with unlimited reading for $9.95 per month. Then, this month, scribd.com launched and offered unlimited reading for $8.95 per month. Then another company, NOKBOK.com announced that they are launching in February, 2014 and will be offering unlimited reading for $4.95 per month.

    How good are the royalties? Well, with oysterbooks and scribd, they don’t publish their royalty model however, NOKBOK does. From what I understand, they take all gross revenue from their website each month, from all sources including advertising and 10% goes to charity, 30% to NOKBOK to operate the site and the remaining 60% goes back to the authors in the form of royalties. Sounds like they take this total and divide it by all reads, for all books, to get a royalty per read. Then they pay you the royalty per read times the number of reads your book got.

    The good thing about subscription-based sites is that the reader has no risk. If I am an unknown author, who is going to pay to read my book? They don’t want to pay money and take the risk. However, if the reader can read one book or a thousand books for $4.95 per month, my book has a much better chance of being read and reviewed. If reviews are good, I’ll receive more and more reads which means more and more royalties.

    So in summary, I believe that self-marketing may become less and less important. Authors may choose these sites as opposed to placing their books with a publisher because the royalty rates will be much higher and for $4.95 per month, the readers will certainly be there looking for good material to read.

  57. Pingback: Works to See (December 6th, 2013) | Chris Weston

  58. Pingback: If You Don’t Enjoy Marketing, You’re Doing It Wrong | David Gaughran

  59. I’ve been tearing my hair out over mailing lists. I guess this is the next item on my to-do list. ^_^

  60. clairechilton says:

    Hi David,

    This is a really useful information, so thank you for writing such a great post. I’m having a bit of a dilemma about it all though.

    Are there any tips for avoiding publicly posting your home address on Mail Chimp?

    The only reason I ask is that unless you agree to publicly post your home address, they won’t let you use their service, and they quote ‘international spam laws’ at you instead.

    Which spam laws insist you post your home address in every email you send? Seriously, is that even real? Anyway, The reason I am a tad wary of this is that some BS company in India has already used my home phone number fraudulently, so I had to have it changed and submit police reports to the online fraud squad in the UK. I’d had that phone number for twenty years. It was awful seeing it get stolen like that.

    Anyway, this newsletter seems to post my home address to every person who signs up for it, and I’m not flippin’ moving because someone steals my house online. So, are there any hints about how to avoid posting your personal information all over mail chimp, or is privacy invasion a cost of using their service?

    • Hi Claire – There are a few ways you can get around giving out your home address. Some people use their business address or that of a relative. Others pay a small amount to a business address service or hire a PO Box.

      • clairechilton says:

        Thanks, David. I might try a PO Box. My relatives would have me shot if I used their addresses lol, but I checked on the Royal Mail site, and the pricing isn’t too bad for a PO Box.

        It is a great newsletter software, I’m just wary of posting my address on it. Thanks again :).

      • I think you’ll run into this with any mailing service. They all must comply with CAN-SPAM legislation – which is in the US and UK (and most countries now I think). Here’s the relevant bit demanding a physical address from the US act: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/CAN-SPAM_Act_of_2003#Content_compliance

      • clairechilton says:

        I understand it on some level, but I guess I don’t see newsletters as spam. You know, if I sign up for one, then I’ve requested it. That’s not spam. Spam is emails that I don’t want. Although, from what I read on Mail Chimp, it seems that some people have unauthorised mailing lists, and that’s probably the problem. Unless the email is unwanted, I don’t see why it needs an address, but a PO Box should do the trick. :)

        I did chuckle at the:
        Content is exempt if it consists of:
        religious messages;
        political messages;
        content that broadly complies with the marketing mechanisms specified in the law; or
        national security messages.

        So, no addresses needed for politicians, lawyers, priests or government bodies because those are always trustworthy… er, apparently :p.

      • I *think* services like MailChimp are uber-careful so that they don’t get flagged as spammy by email providers like Gmail. I don’t know if this is stuff that people like Gmail watch in particular, or whether keeping their nose extra clean acts as a deterrent from shadier types using their service, but MailChimp has a great record at avoiding spam filters (which is crucial) and I imagine they want to keep it that way.

      • clairechilton says:

        I think you’re right. That kind of security does help us out in the long run. Unfortunately, like every other part of the net, someone somewhere has used a good thing to do something bad, so security levels need to be stricter because of it. But at least with Mail Chimp, the emails will land in the right inboxes and not the junk mail.

        In my experience, an email can be blacklisted for all kinds of things. I regularly get blocked from Comcast because I’m British, which can be awkward when trying to talk to my American friends. Usually, I advise them not to use Comcast, assuming they get my email.

        I guess most companies use mailing lists for advertising their wares, and in some respects authors are the same, but it gets a bit awkward when you’re a public figure rather than a company, which I don’t think is factored into the system.

        I imagine someone really famous trying to set up a mailing list and having to use their home address to do it, and just can’t see it happening. But then, they probably have publicists who do it for them. At the end of the day, I guess the system isn’t built for individuals. It’s built for companies, so I’ll just have to adapt and stop complaining :). But thank you for the advice. At least there is a way I can use the system. My next challenge is to see if anyone actually signs up for a newsletter :p. I hope so.

  61. Pingback: Putting Mail Chimp to Work for Me | Diane Tibert

  62. Pingback: Checklist to Market an eBook | Daily PlanIt

  63. donovanmneal says:

    Reblogged this on Donovan and the act of musing and commented:
    Need to sell books? Better learn to capture emails!

  64. Pingback: This Week in Self-Publishing: Back Matter, iBooks, and Sexting | Suess's Pieces

  65. Pingback: NoiseTrade: Build Audience While Boosting Your Mailing List | David Gaughran

  66. Pingback: Mail Chimp: Start Small and Grab the Long Tail - Christina E. Pilz - Christina E. Pilz

  67. Pingback: Building a Killer Email List | David Gaughran

  68. D. says:

    Great article. I’ve understood the importance of mailing lists for some time now but I’m always left wondering the same thing. When is the soonest an aspiring author should get a mailing list created? For instance if they are still working on what will be their debut novel/shorts should they wait until they have competed their works to begin list building?

  69. Thanks for sharing your thoughts about anti aging skin care products scams.
    Regards

Release Your Word-Minions!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s