Support for Indie Authors discussion

Archived Marketing No New Posts > Author Mailing List

Comments Showing 1-18 of 18 (18 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by L.W. (new)

L.W. Tichy (lwtichy) | 19 comments Hey, so I was curious about how effective/ helpful other indie authors find having a mailing list, and how you use it.
I don't think I've ever actually signed up for an author mailing list myself. Occasionally, I'll follow an author's blog.
However, I've read a few articles that talk about how helpful/ useful a mailing list is to authors as a marketing tool, and I was wondering how other authors feel about it, especially those who have one? It seems a bit redundant to me if you have a blog, but maybe I'm missing the point/purpose?
I'd love to know what others think or have experienced regarding having a mailing list.

message 2: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments L.W. If you have a blog that is self-hosted, then you have a mailing list. If you are using something like Blogger, then your "mailing list" is not yours, but bloggers. You only have access to that list when you post a blog update. That is fine as long as blogger doesn't shut you down. But being able to have control over your list is an important thing for many writers. Especially if you write in different genres.

I am using my blogging list to build up an email list. I switched from blogger to self-hosted back in December, and lost half my followers (talk about depressing.) it has taken me some time to build that list back up.

Part of the reason that I made the switch is that some of my followers complained that my posting 3 times a week was too much. I had others who said they were only interested in book updates from me. I also had people say that they were only interested in one of my series.

I have an urban fantasy series, a paranormal thriller series, and a YA contemporary fiction series. There is some cross over, but not a lot. Being able to separate my list by interest has been beneficial.

I have run one promo since then, but didn't find that it had any sales. Of course, my list is still pretty small (300, when they say you don't see a lot of results until you get in the 10-15K figures)

But I like being able to offer my subscribers options, something that Blogger didn't allow. I have a couple of bloggers that I follow who were posting every day and that is just too much for me. two gave me the option to go to a weekly summary of the content on the blog and I love it! I wanted to be able to offer the same thing to my subscribers.

Ultimately, you have to do what is best for you as an author. If you are happy with your blog list, and trust that you won't lose privileges (which I have only seen be an issue for authors of hotbed issues, like Erotica) and you don't foresee yourself needing/ wanting to offer more customization to your readers. (multiple genres, different topics that may not be an interest to all readers.) then by all means, keep rocking your blog and blog list.

One of the things I have learned in my 6 years as an author is that writing is your thing and how you do that is entirely up to you. The joy of self publishing is that you don't "have to" do anything you don't want to.

Good luck with your writing endeavors! And, if you would like to subscribe to my weekly e-newlsetter with author interviews, book reviews, and funn book news, just go here:

Tara Woods Turner Can you recommend any good sites where authors can blog for free and control/keep their mailing lists?

message 4: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) 2,000 subscribers & 12k emails/mo for free

message 5: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments Tara wrote: "Can you recommend any good sites where authors can blog for free and control/keep their mailing lists?"

Tara, I use Wix, although I do have the paid feature. It is only $99 a year. I just didn't want to have my website have "wix" in the title anymore. I believe you can blog for free on the free wix sites, but I paid for my website before I decided to move my blog over, so not really sure.

You can also do a free site on wordpress until you are ready to pay.

As Alex mentioned, you can use Mailchimp to email out and it is free until you hit 2,000 members.

Tara Woods Turner Thank you guys for the info. What are the paid perks of wordpress?

message 7: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments From what I could tell, when I was doing research in December, the big thing about a paid version of Wordpress is the customizability and adding plugins. A free wordpress site is a lot like Blogger, in that you don't have to do a lot of work to create it, because there are free templates to choose from. But if you don't want your site looking like everyone else's, then you want a paid site which gives you more customization. You can add plugins like mailchimp (for emails) and buzzsumo (for content marketing and SEO) and thousands of others (some free, some paid.) to add custom features.

I am not super tech savvy, which is why I went with Wix. It gives me a bit more customization than blogger (and I own it!) but I didn't feel overwhelmed like I did looking at wordpress.

Tara Woods Turner How did you come to choose Wix over Weebly?

message 9: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments Honestly, it was six months ago and I don't remember a lot of details of Weebly, Squarespace, Yola, shopify, Wix and Wordpress. I know that I did a lot of tech research abd narrowed it down to Wordpress and Wix because those two offered the most customization and I didn't want a cookie-cutter website. The other sites either had less customization, less quality of image, higher cost, or less bells abd whistles. I know that the vast majority of tech sutes out there would say to go with Wordpress, but I found it daunting and it didn't offer the same free tutorials that Wix offered. I have had a few disappointments with Wix. for example,literally a month after I decided on Mailchimp for my e-newsletter, Wix discontinued working with them. Apparently, Wix is the fastest growing self-hosting site and as such, they are pulling an Apple, trying to make everything available in one service. I am not quite ready to commit to that.

Tara Woods Turner Thank you Heidi, very informative and helpful.

message 11: by Alex (last edited Jun 21, 2016 12:07AM) (new)

Alex (asato) Tara wrote: "Thank you Heidi, very informative and helpful."

did a little research on mailchimp. you can actually integrate w/twitter and a host of other hosting services. so, do you even really need your own website anymore? or maybe all you need is a free website w/o your own domain name just to host your subscribe form.

you can even connect up to surveymonkey to run polls.

i believe that someone in this group said that you should use a p.o. box b/c you have to disclose your physical address as a FTC req.

interesting. amazon also has its own email service (you have to have your own domain).

on tumblr, you can get use your own domain and they have a github integration:

there's also constant contact (my daughter's school uses it):

Tara Woods Turner Omg I'm bookmarking this entire thread!

message 13: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments Alex G. you are right, one doesn't have to have a website. But I like having a website, and the marketer in me says I do have to have one. I can run mailchimp seperately and just add my bew subscribers from Wix once a week. (Which is what I have been doing.) It meabs more work, but so far I like mailchimp (either that, or I have invested too much time learning it, and am not ready to chase down how to figure out Wix's equivalent, Shoutout. I am really only technically proficient with a lot of effort.) Anywho, as I said earlier, the joy of self publishing is that you can do marketing your way. These are all just tools at an author's disposal.

message 14: by Alex (new)

Alex (asato) Heidi wrote: "the marketer in me says I do have to have one. "

it's cool. it's an open question for me too. i have my own domain and wordpress-customized website, but it's personal. i have another domain that i haven't worked on that much. i fooled around w/drupal too.

but this question has time and time again reared its ugly head since the beginning of the year b/c of my exposure to so much social media & interaction-enabling publishing platforms (like patreon, kickstarter, wattpad, inkitt--and just the other day, i was clued into (sp?)). wordpress also seems to have its own ecosystem as well.

why don't i just make one of them my home? and there's a whole audience already on any of these platforms. i just show up in the "trending" or "what's hot" or "featured" areas if i get popular; their search tools also search my blog/website and they handle search engine discoverability/SEO as well. so i don't have to work hard at people finding my isolated website.

message 15: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments I just had the weirdest experience. I was applying for a marketing job at Adobe (because, why not!) and it asked for my "professional website".

Everyone should have a website that no one goes to. Not just businesses or author-preneurs, but even marketers who provide their services for other businesses, even if they do so as an employee of said business.

Now I feel dirty for having a website, like it is just trendy.


Tara Woods Turner I would love to do a monthly newsletter and that's about it. Am I weird? The way I see it is this: I am an avid reader. I mean I read a lot a lot and I think I have only visited an author's website maybe twice. Ever. I can see the value of having that platform - legitimacy and professionalism but in order to provide real content you have to invest time in upkeep and maintenance. I really would just rather write. Can you guys imagine J.D. Salinger or Ernest Hemingway tweeting about their upcoming release or asking people to like their latest blog post on fb?

I know I'm behaving like a dinosaur and I know these things are necessary evils but how far will we have to go to chase the elusive reader? What new hoops will we have to jump through in the future in order to catch the interest of people who only read 12 books a year (and mostly within their preferred genre)?

message 17: by Heidi (new)

Heidi Angell (heidiangell) | 241 comments Tara,

That is a good point. But I think that one has to consider age as well. I myself only visit author websites because of my blog (I am... somewhere in my 30s) But my sons (15 and 11) are all about going to author websites. Websites aren't the way they find these authors, but it is where they go to learn more about the author when they have read a book that they really liked. They are big on reading series and seem to think all books are part of a series.

My mother, who is also an avid reader, gets annoyed when Facebook ads about books pop up, because she only uses Facebook to connect with family and keep up with what the grand kids are up to, but she absolutely loves Amazon's "If you liked this" feature and follows authors on Amazon all the time.

I find most of my book referrals on Goodreads, because I grew up with forums, and what better forum to have than a place to talk about books!

My boys could care less about Goodreads (although, I see a lot of teens in here, so maybe my boys are just weird.) and prefer to get book recs from friends, facebook, and movies coming out.

So, what is an author to do? Well, one can try to be everything to everyone, but one will get worn out pretty quick that route. Or one can pick the ones they like, and work on those really well. Hopefully it will help you build an audience, but at least you aren't dreading marketing.

I love doing my weekly newsletter. I like interviewing authors, writing book reviews, and sharing that with people. Will those people buy my books? IDK, but at the end of the day, I am enjoying this form of engagement, whether they buy my books or not.

message 18: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 787 comments If you want to know how to create a solid author mailing list check out Mark Dawson and Nick Stephenson. Mark Dawson is an expert and self made millionaire all from Facebook Ads and building his e-mail list. He and Nick Stephenson have a mailing list where they give out tips on how to build a list, why your books aren't selling and they also do webinars on topics all the time and they always talk about about building e-mail lists.

back to top