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Pay It Forward > Building an Email List

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message 1: by Dale (last edited Jan 14, 2020 08:46PM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments I'm terrible at marketing, so I'm going to make an effort in 2020 to become less terrible at it. Those of you on Medium may have run across a writer named August Birch who both writes fiction and talks a lot about email marketing. He has a free course on the subject, which I decided to take, since it's free.

If you want, I'll point you to it, but I thought I'd use this thread to report from time to time on my efforts at applying what I've learned from him. Maybe my experiences will help someone else . . . or keep them from wasting their time. We'll see.

The first steps August recommends are getting an email service (which some of us already have) and a website (likewise). Then he tells you to create a freebie package that you offer in exchange for email signups. In my case, I'm bundling an ebook copy of "The Fibonacci Murders" with a Howard County Mystery short story I wrote for Medium. (I make the story available to subscribers via a "friend" link.) The next step is to set up a welcome email that is sent whenever someone subscribes, so they get the links to download the freebies.

I've done all that. You can see my signup form on my author website or at the MailChimp page.

The next step is the really hard part: building up an Instagram presence and connecting with readers through the #bookstagram hashtag. Before you can make any offers, you have to become a known quantity, a part of the community, playing nice with everyone by both sharing and reading/responding to posts.

-There are a number of subtleties in all this and a lot of work, so I don't recommend taking the above and trying to run with it. But I'll be happy to talk about it and answer questions to the best of my ability. Once I have a sense for how well this system works, I'll be more willing to suggest people actually take August's course. But let's see what happens first . . .


message 2: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Best of luck, I hope you have success with this.

I need to get better with my marketing so I'll follow this thread with interest to see how you progress.


message 3: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1126 comments Yes please, Dale, do let us know. I signed up for Mailchimp years ago and have not looked at it since.

I'm going to bookmark this thread and hopefully come back to it after our house move finally goes through (still no date).


message 4: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
One of the ways to build that list is to use blog tours that will supply you with a list at the end of the tour. Amy Van Sant at http://authorsxp.com/spotlight/bulwar...

If you have a budget to advertise, even a small one- it pays to use her service. Many of her readers are dedicated reviewers. I have received multiple mailing lists that have over the years built mine to over 6000.

The other thing I want to recommend is, don't always make your newsletters about your books. I have highlighted and given away Kindle copies of other author's books in my newsletters. If you keep bombarding them with just your books, they will stop opening them.

Mailchimp or those other engines are a great device to stay in touch with readers and promote both yours and other authors books.


message 5: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Thanks, Carole, for the additional advice. I'll see how I can incorporate it.


message 6: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
I just got this email from her and it's timely for what we've been talking about. I'm not pushing- just sharing info.

Amy here... Just a quick note to let you know I feel your pain.

For the first time I didn't launch a book at 99c (book 10 of my best series...I'm a slow learner), like a drug addict, I loved the high of selling ALL THOSE 99c BOOKS!! But making about 30c per book doesn't add up very fast. So, this time I launched at $2.99 and made a lot more money. Imagine that. MAKING money. What a novel idea. (ha!)

I still hit high in the top ten on Amazon of my category (can never get ahead of the people who got Bookbubs, dang it) and it gave me an idea for a new package doing all the things I did for myself, for you!

ULTIMATE BOOK LAUNCH PACKAGE
Specialized package created for you -- I put real thought into what will work best for you during your launch week! Especially great for books that launch at $2.99+ because it's hard to find sites that promote books over 99c, but you still need to get the word out!!

Daily Deal Newsletter Inclusion
Special Request for Reviews to the Elite Reviewers AND Genre Groups
Newsletter Swap Club inclusion
Spotlight Mailing- newsletter featuring your new book/series
Facebook Video Ad + Management of a Facebook Ad Campaign for Launch Week (doesn't include click thru costs - budget to be deterimined.)
Interested in adding other options like Bookbub ads, Amazon Ads, etc? Just ask!
You can find this under the "Book Launch Marketing" section of SELL MORE BOOKS on the site.
So if you're struggling with launching "regular priced" books (or 99c books for that matter) just let me know! Always available for custom packages.


message 7: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Carole wrote: "I just got this email from her and it's timely for what we've been talking about. I'm not pushing- just sharing info."

Thanks again, Carole. I'll definitely have to look into this.


message 8: by Dale (last edited Jan 17, 2020 08:43AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments I'll skip the technical details of setting up an email list and website for now. (I can address that later if anyone needs help.) For now, I'll explain August's method for using free offers and newsletters to get and engage subscribers. If you want to follow along, you can view my signup form (and use it to subscribe to my newsletter) here on my author website.

In order to start list-building, August's method requires a free offer for subscribers. The idea is simple. Most people won't give you their email address for nothing. They're far more likely to give it to you in exchange for something of value to them. So you need to extend an offer that has value.

August gives away a short story collection that's tied to his novels, plus a set of four downloadable bookmarks, plus a subscription to his newsletter. He calls this a "reader bundle." (The subscription is something people would get anyway, but he points out in the bundle blurb what you get when you receive his newsletter: free short stories, info on his writing career, updates on forthcoming books, discounts on books, etc.)

I'm starting more simply: Since I only have three books out at the moment, all part of a series, I'm giving away The Fibonacci Murders plus free access to my (so far) only Howard County Mystery short story on Medium (via friend link), plus the newsletter subscription.

These freebies are delivered via links in an email sent automatically when a new subscriber signs up. The subscription form is all about giving away the freebies. As I mentioned above, mine is on my author website. I also have it on my author page at Facebook. A smaller version of it is on my website in the right margin on every page. I'm going to redesign the website soon (I hope!), so that might change; I might use a banner at the top of each page to promote it instead.

Email providers allow you to set up an "introduction" sequence of emails. August sends a series of four (I think) to new subscribers to introduce himself and his writing. Then they get weekly newsletters. MailChimp has this, but it's a paid feature, so I'm not using it right now.

Instead, I sent a newsletter this morning talking about my plans for the coming year and asking existing subscribers to update their reading preferences, which is a new feature I added to my signup form. This is my own "innovation" and not part of August's method. His fiction is exclusively thrillers, but my fiction crosses several genres. I want to be able to capture info about subscriber interests to customize newsletters for them.

If you're not a subscriber to my list right now, you can view my current newsletter here. You can always sign up, too, and get your free ebook, but I'm not sure you'll receive this email since it's already been sent.

I've redesigned my newsletter to incorporate features August recommends. One is a conversational style. Another is limiting it to one action you want readers to take. (One purchase, one profile update, one survey.) Giving too many options can leave readers overwhelmed, and then they might do nothing. Finally, when you want them to click a link, include it three times, once near the top, once in the middle, and once at the end, in case they scroll all the way down without reading carefully.

The point in all this is to build not just a list of subscribers but a list of engaged subscribers, those who get your free materials and connect with you as a writer, who take the actions you ask them to take, and who provide feedback. Engaged readers will spend money on your offerings (books, courses, bling, whatever), and that enables you to build meaningful income from writing.

Again, you can visit my signup form if you want to follow along more closely as I work with this new process. [Did you notice? That's three links to it. ;-)]


message 9: by Dale (last edited Jan 22, 2020 07:02AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Since my last post, I've been working on building up my Instagram profile. August suggests using Instagram to promote fiction and Medium to promote nonfiction. (Although both are published on Medium, it does seem that nonfiction does better there.)

There are three key parts to using Instagram: your profile, your tags, and what you actually post.

Profile: Instagram doesn't allow links in posts or comments, but they give you one link in your profile. August recommends using this to link to your free offer signup (which is of course your newsletter signup, too). Put information about what you like to read and write in your profile. Keep it simple and direct, and avoid being pushy. Only the link actually "sells" anything, and that's a freebie.

Tags: As with other social media, tags can be used to make posts searchable. Instagram helps by giving you suggestions when you type #. One particular tag is very important: #bookstagram. Bookstagram is a subset of Instagram comprised of tens of thousands of readers, many of them voracious readers who not only love to read but treat print books as works of art. They arrange them artfully on shelves, use them in decorating, and take pictures of them to post on Instagram. They are also a very friendly bunch of people. You want to join them, be part of their world, follow them, like and comment on their posts, share with them your love of reading and books, and occasionally talk about your own writing. But you don't want to be pushy. Treat bookstagrammers right, and they'll treat you right. Give them a hard sell, and they'll probably unfollow you in droves. Use the #bookstagram and #bookstagrammer tags often. Also use #writersofinstagram and tags related to your genres or whatever else you're posting about. (I've used #astronomy and #chess, for example, when appropriate.)

Posts: If you're new to Instagram, you'll first want to build up your profile with 15 - 20 posts that do not try to sell anything. Instagram is all about pictures. Text is referred to as "captions," although they are often not merely captions but posts designed to share information or start conversations. On your profile, you'll see all of the pictures from your posts, neatly arranged with the newest at the top. Bookstagrammers often set up and process photos according to a theme: color schemes, types of backgrounds, etc. Their profiles are stunningly beautiful works of art! August recommends trying to create such a theme for yourself, although he never did. He experiments a lot and says not to use his profile as an example.

Once you've build up a body of posts, then he recommends posting four times per day: three posts of general interest to bookstagrammers, and one inviting people to click the profile link for the free offer. He leaves that post up for 24 hours, then deletes it, so that people scrolling through his profile won't see him asking for clicks over and over again.

My experience over the past week is: this is a hard schedule to maintain. August says spend a day or two building up the initial set of posts, then start in on the four times per day routine. It took me most of a week to build up the initial posts, and so far I've only snuck in one free offer invitation. Yesterday, I didn't get any posts up at all. This is partly due to my work schedule. Instagram is designed for mobile use. You can access it via a browser on a PC and can enter comments, but you can't create new posts except in the mobile app. For me, this means all my posting must be done either mornings before leaving for work or evenings after returning home, and I have a lot of other things going on then, too.

The volume matters partly for consistency, partly for the rate at which you build up your email list. If people see your free offer regularly, they are more likely to click on it at some point. And the more often they see it, the sooner they are likely to click on it (within reason). August's idea is that one invite a day will build up a good-sized email list in the course of a year. And since that invite should be the minority of your posts, the four-a-day schedule is needed. Fewer posts mean a slower build-up, and inconsistent posts could be the death-knell for your efforts.

At this point (after about a week of Instagramming) I have gained over 30 followers, a few of whom regularly like my posts. Nobody has yet signed up for my newsletter, but I've only managed a single invite post, so that's not surprising. I also have not entirely figured out a theme yet, although I'm kind of leaning towards blues and greens/growing things/nature/etc. For now, I'm just trying to keep posting, in spite of utterly failing yesterday. I do swipe through other people's posts and like/comment as often as I can.

I also have followed everyone who liked/comment on/followed me. Well, with a couple of exceptions. I tend to look at profiles before I follow. Whenever I see a photo of a beautiful young woman who follows hundreds of people, is followed by only a handful, and has never posted a single post . . . nope. Those accounts are fake.


message 10: by Steph (new)

Steph Good information, thank you for sharing, Dale.


message 11: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Dale wrote: "Since my last post, I've been working on building up my Instagram profile. August suggests using Instagram to promote fiction and Medium to promote nonfiction. (Although both are published on Mediu..."

I've found Instagram a difficult one for me because I'm not a very visual person, so coming up with posts is hard for me.

I can give you one tip - if you add a user-agent switcher extension to your browser you will be able to post to Instagram from your computer. It is limited compared to posting from a mobile device, for example you have to post pictures one at a time instead of being able to add multiple pictures as a single post, but might be helpful.

I use one to post when I create stuff on Canva so I don't have to transfer the image to my tablet.

This is good info, by the way, and when I get my good laptop back I will see what I can do about following it - posting more generally interesting stuff rather than mostly stuff about my books, fixing up my profile, etc.


message 12: by Dale (last edited Jan 23, 2020 07:07AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Stephanie and Alex,

You're both very welcome, and thank you Alex for the user agent switcher tip. I'll have to look into that. Right now, I use Buffer Publish (https://buffer.com/) to set up posts when I have photos on my PC that I want to use. Buffer transfers photos and text to Instagram and alerts you through a mobile app, which you can use to edit and complete posts. It's not a perfect system, but it works reasonably well so long as you have access to a mobile device.


message 13: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments You're welcome, Dale, and thanks for the tip on Buffer Publish, I'll look into that, it might well prove helpful to me.


message 14: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments My next step has been to redesign my author website. I want to do some updating and reorganization of the content pages, but the design is basically complete and now emphasizes the freebies I give in exchange for a newsletter signup. You can view the results here.

The site is created in Wordpress using the free version of the Hestia theme. If one is actually making money, there may be some advantages to getting the pro version.


message 15: by Dale (last edited Jan 29, 2020 06:31AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Two weeks into the experiment, and my impatient nature is already trying to get the better of me. :-P But I'm keeping at it.

I've nearly completed the redesign and content upgrade of my author website. I just need to add some short story links, which I hope to get to later today. Any feedback on it would be welcome. (You can either use my contact form or send me a message here.)

I've made 35 posts (actually a few more, because whenever I make a post to ask for a click on my free offer, I delete the previous one), have 58 followers, and am following 158 others. I updated my profile yesterday to note that Space Operatic will be released in March. I did that because I saw a few other authors putting release info in their profiles.

I have gained 0 new subscriptions, but it's probably too soon to expect too much. I've given encouragement to one other author who was pleading for people to read his works. He had published something like 20 - 30 titles and said he was about ready to give up. I know how he feels, but this is a long-haul project, so I know I can't expect amazing results overnight.

On the plus side, I'm building up some good habits, assuming I can keep them going. For one thing, I'm writing newsletters in advance. I use a MailChimp template for newsletters, so I can create campaigns well in advance and then just type up the content when I have some time. I've created campaigns through the end of February and have written this week's and next week's emails already (although I need to polish next week's). Once they're written, they can be scheduled for delivery, so nothing needs to be done the day of the mailing.

One improvement I have noticed is that my new emails are getting larger open and click rates than before. MailChimp gives high-level engagement statistics that break your audience into "Often," "Sometimes," and "Rarely" categories. My "Often" numbers are slightly up and "Sometimes" slightly down, which means those who have occasionally been inclined to open my emails are doing so more regularly. I'd like to see some improvement in the "Rarely" category, but so far I don't think that's really changed. However, I've only sent two of my new newsletters so far. (Think long term, think long term . . .)

I'm hoping to entice a few subscriptions with the announcement that this week's newsletter will feature the cover reveal for "Space Operatic." So far, nothing. But I'm hoping...


message 16: by Alex (new)

Alex Carver | 4626 comments Sounds like you're doing great, Dale, I'm glad the early stages are going well.


message 17: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
Just want to share I'm getting some nice results (reviews) and interest in the books with https://www.ireadbooktours.com/blog--...- I am running a blog tour and the stops have prolific readers.


message 18: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 244 comments I could use a good blog tour myself.


message 19: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
You should contact her.


message 20: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 244 comments Can't, their guidelines are too strict and they don't accept horror. I bet their prices are outrageous too.


message 21: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
Silver Dagger Blog Tours will tailor it to your budget. She runs a fine blog tour. I Read Book Tours was amazing because there are so many reviews and those are hard to come by. I don't remember it being much more than any other the others I've used.
Jump into a Book and Goddess Fish works well too.


message 22: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments I've received 2 new subscriptions to my newsletter over the past month, which is 2 more than I got the whole prior year, so something must be working. In addition to my postings on Instagram, I did one on my author FB page and one on the indie writers FB group many of us here are part of. It's hard to tell exactly where the new subscribes came from.

I've also had several unsubscribes since I started sending regular emails. This probably is not surprising, since over half my list is not regularly engaged. Overall my list is now a tad smaller, but possibly a tad more engaged. We'll see.


message 23: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
You just have to keep plugging.


message 24: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Carole wrote: "You just have to keep plugging."

Yeah, that's where I usually fall on my face. :-P But I'm doing my best not to this time.


message 25: by Carole (last edited Feb 06, 2020 07:23AM) (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
Anyone interested in building an email list- I have been successful here.

https://authorsxp.com/for-authors/fre...


message 26: by Dale (last edited Aug 03, 2020 08:39AM) (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments I haven't posted an update on this for a while, so here's one now.

I've continued with daily postings to Instagram and weekly newsletters. My subscriber list has grown a little, but not by great leaps and bounds. A number of people have also unsubscribed, but not as many as have subscribed.

My engagement numbers have changed. The latest report shows 33% "often" engaged, 14% "sometimes" engaged, and 49% "rarely" engaged. This is a noticeable increase in the "often" category with a significant drop in the "sometimes" category. "Seldom" is down slightly.

What this tells me is that although my list is not much bigger than it was, my subscribers are somewhat more engaged. Some of those not interested have left. They've been replaced by people who are interested, and some of those on the fence may have become more engaged.

I need to be able to make more valuable offers to my subscribers, I think. I have been giving away free electronic copies of The Fibonacci Murders in exchange for sign-ups. I also extended the offer of a free ebook to everyone who was on my list before I implemented that offer. A few have taken me up on it, but not a lot. I think there are a fair number of people out there who simply aren't interested in ebooks. One subscriber even emailed to say he only read print books.

So I have been wanting to be able to offer discounts on print books to my subscribers. The problem is, I didn't have a viable method of doing. I can't send coupons without purchasing them, which would run into a lot of money, and I distribute through IngramSpark, so any price changes I make are across the board, not just for my subscribers.

To address this, I've implemented a shop on my website. Click on the "Shop" link at the top to see it. (I've changed my "Books and Stories" section to link to my shop pages for individual books.) This was created using the Wordpress plugin WooCommerce. I should be able to set up ebooks for sale through here too, and probably will, but I haven't gotten that far yet. WooCommerce supports coupon codes, so I can generate those and send them to my subscribers, enabling them to get discounts on books.

Logistically, I will have to manually transfer any orders I get here to my IngramSpark dashboard. Ingram will print the books and mail them to my customers. This way I don't have to maintain any inventory or handle order fulfillment. It's not all roses and petunias, but it should work. I don't intend this to be my primary sales channel anyway. It's mostly so I can offer special discounts to my subscribers.

I still feel like I'm not getting a great deal of traction, but I'm doing better than I did last year, I guess, so I just have to keep at it (which is admittedly not my strong suit). I'll try to check in again in another month or so. Meanwhile, feel free to ask questions or make suggestions. Thanks!


message 27: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Last time, I said I'd check in in a month or so. It's been nearly 4 months. For most of that time, I've been working from home, although last week I was in the office. It seems that working from home has left me with less time for writing and related activities rather than more. Hmm.

Anyway, I've fallen flat on my face where Instagram is concerned. I am no longer religiously following anybody or posting anything, so I'm not getting much from that end. However, I have been using Story Origin a bit more consistently, and that seems to get me some good numbers. People are at least looking at my books via the promotions done there.

My newsletter numbers have also shifted in an interesting way. I still only have 160 subscribers, which is down by a smidgen from the peak, but I've been trading unengaged subscribers for engaged ones. MailChimp now reports that 43% of my list is highly engaged, 15% moderately engaged, and 40% not very engaged.

So far, I've only tried one promo through AuthorsXP (Amy Vansant's service) and had poor results. I did a giveaway for reviews on Space Operatic. A lot of people requested the book, but only a handful received it. (She only releases books to people who are actually reading and reviewing; those who have not received it have a backlog they are, apparently, not working through.) Of those, two gave me a review and one said he wasn't going to because the book "wasn't his style of SF." Amy herself is very friendly and helpful, though, so I'm not complaining, just reporting my results.

I feel a bit stuck right now, with so little time to pursue these matters, but I've kept up with weekly newsletters and will continue to participate in promos via Story Origin, so I hope to make a bit more progress as the year wears on.


message 28: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1126 comments I've bookmarked this thread for when I get around to building an email list and I see it is under the heading of Pay it Forward.

So I am off to thank Dale for his hard work on this thread, also Carole and Alex by 'liking' some of their work/reviews.

Anyone want to join in and thank those who unstintingly give of their time to help others?


message 29: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Anna wrote: "So I am off to thank Dale for his hard work on this thread, also Carole and Alex by 'liking' some of their work/reviews."

Thanks, Anna! I probably should do that, too, when I have a spare moment . . .


message 30: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Two months have passed since my last update. As I said then, Instagram is rather out of the running as a tool for me, because I just haven't been able to keep up with it. I do post occasionally, but not enough to get much in terms of subscribers from it.

What has worked, rather amazingly well, is Story Origin group promotions. Members can create group promotions in several categories, including giveaways and sales. For giveaways, books are linked to your email list signup, so readers have to join your list in order to get your free book (called a "reader magnet"). I have created reader magnets for The Fibonacci Murders (which I also give away when readers sign up directly with me) and Space Operatic. I've created a couple of group promos and joined several more. As a result, my list membership is now approaching 300, about double what it was.

I now have 340 contacts, 286 of whom are subscribers. (The other 54 are people who have unsubscribed, but that's over the entire time I've been running the list, not just this year.) 109 of those subscribers joined in just the last month as a result of StoryOrigin promos.

The engagement breakdown is now 27% "often," 12% "sometimes," and 20% "rarely." This leaves a rather large 31% unaccounted for, but I think that's because so many of my members are too new to "call" yet.

At this point, I think I can confidently say that StoryOrigin works. Of course, you need to have books people find interesting and you need to send regular emails that people find engaging.

The latter point is what I started with earlier this year, based on August Birch's advice. I have to admit that I've bent his "rules" a bit. He insists you should never give newsletter readers more than one thing to click on, and repeat it two or three times, but because of StoryOrigin promos, I'm frequently including two or three things to click on, and repeating them twice each if possible.

I guess the other thing to emphasize is that this is a bit of work--getting everything set up and keeping it running--but as with anything else, if you don't do the work, you won't get the results, so that's okay.

I'll try to check in again before the end of the year, or at least sometime in January, when this grand experiment will be one year old.


message 31: by Anna (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1126 comments Thank you so much, Dale. I've earmarked this thread for studying thoroughly once the website has been built. I've ticked off the 'build a blog'. I know the email list is vital and I am a slouch.

Going puppy sitting next week, no writing related stuff then. Excuses, excuses.


message 32: by Anna (last edited Oct 15, 2020 11:13AM) (new)

Anna Faversham (annafaversham) | 1126 comments Dale wrote: "Anna wrote: "So I am off to thank Dale for his hard work on this thread, also Carole and Alex by 'liking' some of their work/reviews."

Thanks, Anna! I probably should do that, too, when I have a s..."


Oh I do understand! However, it makes a welcome break from brain ache.


message 33: by Justin (new)

Justin (justinbienvenue) | 244 comments I've read and looked into building an email list but have never been sure of where to send links to get people to join.


message 34: by Carole (new)

Carole P. Roman | 4600 comments Mod
There are a number of blog tours that provide you with a mailing list after you've done the tour. Often it is the people that sign up for the free book you are giving away. Amy from ACX has a great mailing list. The Children's Book Review. also gives a great list. At its height, I had close to 6000 members.


message 35: by Dale (new)

Dale Lehman (dalelehman) | 1719 comments Justin wrote: "I've read and looked into building an email list but have never been sure of where to send links to get people to join."

I started with Instagram, as suggested by August (see my earlier posts), but after awhile I realized I was getting more traction from StoryOrigin. I highly recommend looking into that. It's free for the moment (although it may cost something eventually) and is based on authors swapping mentions in their newsletters. It works surprisingly well.

Blog tours are certainly another possibility. I've only done one, though, and didn't see much of a result from it. I wouldn't discount them based on that, but I've been focused more on free options than paid options, because I don't have a lot of money to throw around.


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