A Writer's Guide To: Mailing Lists

I don't know about you, but for me mailing lists are the most intimidating aspect of building an author platform. The truth is, I can quietly sign up for any social media site and I don't have to tell anyone about it. If I sign up and realize two weeks later I hate it, all I  have to do is delete the account. Or simply never go back.

But a mailing list requires a bit more commitment. If people sign up for your list, they are going to expect content on a fairly regular basis. I know, scary stuff. So here are some great links of advice to help us all take the plunge into mailing list.

You've Got Mail!

If you've never looked into mailing lists, it can be confusing to know where to search. I'm familiar with MailChimp enough to know that it is a free and very user friendly site. This great post by Jeri Walker-Bickett provides a step-by-step guide on getting started with MailChimp.

Once you have your list set up, the next step is to get people to sign up for it. After all, you probably don't want to put in the effort to write a email update for no one. The lovely ladies of DuoLit put together this article for IndieRecon that includes 5 tips for growing your mailing list.

Now that you've got a list and actual live people signed up for it, the real task is writing content your readers want. After all, your readers didn't sign up so you could spam them once a week with buy links. They are looking for a reward, great content interspersed with the occasional book plug.

The marketing minds of web.search.social. put together a handy guideline on types of content that will keep your readers interested in you and asking for more. And here's another post from DuoLit with specific newsletter content suggestions that engage readers and help you become a better author. That's a win-win if I ever heard one.

If you still aren't sure exactly what to do with an email list, I would recommend signing up for some. Check out the websites of your favorite authors and sign up for any email lists available. This is going to flood your inbox for a while, until you start unsubscribing. The benefit of getting tons of newsletters is that you should be able to pick up right away on the kind of content that feeds your need for more versus the kind that feels like one big commercial. Keep that in mind when planning your own content.

Now it's your turn. Do you have an email list? What kind of updates do you send? How often do you email your list? Any tips or tricks you'd like to share?