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Should You Build an Author Mailing List?

Do writers maintain a mailing list, and if so, what service do they use?

Question from Jackie Lea Sommers on Quora

Janalyn Voigt

Jackie, I’m not certain how you are letting people know when you publish your blog posts. Are you just posting notices on social sites, do you use a feed service like Feedburner, or are people signing up through a third-party blogging site like Blogspot.com or WordPress.com

Own Your Author Mailing List

The reason I bring this up is because if you are using any of the above options to reach the people interested in your blog, you are probably not the owner of your list. This means that if you decide to move your list, you may or may not be able to. Also, if the service or social site goes out of business, you will lose your list. Many people saw this happen with Google Friend Connect, and it wasn’t pretty.
Should You Build an Author Mailing List | Live Write Breathe

People Open Emails

How often do you check your email account, on average? For most of us, the answer is frequently. Landing notifications of your posts in subscribers’ email inboxes is a more effective way to reach them. Here’s a post from Forbes on Why Email Is Still More Effective Than Social Media Marketing.

Invest in Relationships With Your Readers

When you have an email list, you know who is reading your content and what content they are reading. This helps you develop topics they enjoy. Knowing who your readers are means you can follow up with them. You can go to their websites, connect with them at social sites, and find ways to let them know that it’s not all one-sided, and that you care. As a result, you’ll gain more reader loyalty, and when you need to put the word out about your writing, you’ll be able to ask your subscribers for help.

Email Management Services

I use  MailChimp* for my email list. I have also used Aweber.com, and others recommend Constant Contact. However those two options are spendier for someone starting out. Mailchimp has an awesome free plan that lets you send 12,000 emails to up to 2,000 subscribers for free.

Ways to Provide Content to Your List

There are a lot of different ways to provide content for the people on your email list. Here’s how I do it, using my two active websites as examples:
  • I send blog posts from my Live Write Breathe website for writers to email subscribers at that site.
  • Creative Worlds of Janalyn Voigt is where I provide a newsletter for readers of my books. This newsletter contains content that no one but subscribers see. It also includes some of the posts I publish publicly at my website. I could send blog posts separately to those who want to subscribe only to them, but when I offered the option none of my subscribers wanted to go that route. That site benefits from the intimacy of a newsletter, The blog is really there to draw search engine traffic and to interest casual visitors to my site.
I highly recommend that you build a mailing list.

Have something to say? The comment link is at the top of the post below the title.

©2014 by Janalyn Voigt

*Note: The Mailchimp link is a “monkey rewards” link that allows me certain benefits if you sign up for a Mailchimp account after clicking it. I never recommend anything that I don’t personally use and admire.

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Written by Janalyn Voigt

Janalyn Voigt

© Janalyn Voigt
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I’m Janalyn Voigt, an author, speaker, and former social media mentor. DawnSinger and Wayfarer, the first two books in my epic fantasy series, Tales of Faeraven, released with Pelican Book Group and will be followed by at least two more installments. I’m also working on a romantic suspense novel set in an Irish castle, but then historical fiction has a grip on me too. Being unabashedly multi-genre makes me into what some might term a reluctant rebel, but I prefer to think of myself as a storyteller.

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