1. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Need to start my email list, and I'm scared

    Discussion in 'Marketing' started by Catrin Lewis, Feb 26, 2018.

    So, I'm nearly finished formatting my novel and hope to get it published before the end of March. I've been listening to Novel Marketing and Joanna Penn and her guests at The Creative Penn Podcast, and other such writing/marketing pundits, and I'm facing up to the fact that I need to start an email list so people will know when the book is out and available.

    Not sure why I didn't think of this before, but one of Joanna's recent guests pointed out that you start your list with people you already have connections with, in person or on social media; you know, those people who've been asking all this time when your book is coming out. I think I was assuming I'd just throw up an announcement on Facebook and Instagram and let them see it or not . . .

    Like that would be a smart marketing move.

    No, gotta generate the list. And now that it comes to actually, really asking people (on line or face to face) if they want to sign up, I'm getting the deer-in-the-headlights, I-wanna-vomit willies.

    It's not fear that they'll say no. In fact, a part of me hopes they will. Or being afraid they'll buy the book and then hate it--- although there's that in my psychology that says that would be the universe going the way it should. No, the fear is deeper. Like it's somehow obscene or perverse for me to do this kind of open, frank, in-your-face marketing. That I'm getting out of my place and the world will be worse for it. Promoting myself and my work is not what I'm allowed to do! That's not how I was raised!

    Yeah, yeah. I know. I have to get over it. I'm reminding myself that I've taken on the Catrin Lewis pen name as a kind of character I'm inventing. Real Name Me "isn't permitted" to market; Catrin Lewis is and can. Real Name Me is a gutless wonder; Catrin Lewis is a savvy businesswoman who'll do what it takes to get her book out to the public.

    Trouble is, Real Name Me and Catrin Lewis share the same stomach. And it's full of--- not butterflies--- but scorpions and centipedes.

    . . . Sorry, I had to vent. The real questions are, if you have an email list, what did you do to build it up? What works and what doesn't, and what would you do differently if you could start over from scratch? And does anyone else share my marketing fears, and what did you do to overcome them?
     
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  2. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm just starting mine for writing now (I've previously used one as a photographer) . Joanna has a handy video here



    One point is she recommends convertkit - which is a brilliant service but its $29 a month. Personally I'm going with mailchimp which is free for 6 emails a month up to 2k subscribers.

    I put a lot of info in the twitter thread, but I'd also suggest looking at Nick Stephenson's stuff. (there's actually a webinar with him and Joanna tonight at 7pm GMT - it may be fully booked but if not the link is on Joanna's site)
     
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2018
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  3. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    also 'fear' of marketing is a common thing in writers and for that matter anyone who doesn't do it routinely ... Joanna's book 'how to market a book' covers most of the essentials, the key being a mindset change about what marketing is. A lot of people (i'm paraphrasing here) see it as scammy or sucky "alright 'arry wanna buy a new motor" It doesn't have to be like that.
     
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  4. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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  5. Cave Troll

    Cave Troll Contributor Contributor

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    I will agree with Moose that marketing is a scary place. From what I understand is that it helps to
    stand out from the herd so to speak. While I suck at the process in general, you need to find a way
    to appeal to your target audience so that you are more than just another writer in the genre. This
    is no easy feat considering you have to try and set yourself apart from them in some way, so that
    you won't get lost in the tidal wave of all the other authors in your genre.
    Can't say I have ever been on an email list, so I don't know what it is like to get that sort of thing.
    Perhaps it might help if you wrote up a sample of what you intend to be sending to your prospective
    audience, and we can see what you've got to work with. After all, it has to be less crazy than trying
    to make 140 characters do all the heavy lifting for you if you go the twitter route, and the people
    that sign up for this list are in some part interested in what you are offering, yes?
    Another thought that occurs, would be to get the ball rolling a bit faster, would be to have some
    people in your corner to share their views of your work in addition to whatever you send out.
    As a point of reference for the potential buyer, having some third party feedback goes a long way
    in helping the new customer see that you are worth checking out, as opposed to simply trying to
    manage the whole ordeal on your own. May not be some high praised editor, but it is better than
    nothing.
    :superagree:


    @Catrin Lewis =
    Rambo-630.jpg The book Marketeer. :supergrin:
     
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  6. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    CT raises a good point - what are you going to give as your incentive ? ( I wrote a novella for that purpose), also what are you going to do to keep in touch with people ... a typical JP non fiction email arrived just now and had a link to useful videos, a survey for her next book (including a free draw for a free copy) and a link to webinar shes doing with mark dawson. )
     
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  7. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I'm pretty sure it was the ConvertKit guy who opened my eyes to the fact that I should/need to/can ask people I know to join my list, as opposed to starting my website and vaguely hoping visitors sign up. Though I checked the transcript and can't see that he said so in so many words. Maybe the interview forced me to make the connection.
     
  8. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    There was a webinar with convertkit last week - was it on that transcript not the podcast (it wasnt the guy on the webinar it was a girl called tilly or milly or something). Incidentally they say they are going to launch a scaleable price for those with low numbers of subscribers 'soon' which is worth keeping an eye on. Fortunately its really easy to migrate from one service to another
     
  9. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    It's funny, but with me, it's like marketing and promotion are wonderful privileges reserved for the gentry and aristocracy, but not fitting for hoi polloi like me. Gotta get over that.
     
  10. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Thats a variation on the 'I'm not good enough' thing ... have you read Joanna's book "The successful author mindset" - if not its worth a look as it covers all this stuff .. I think its only 2.99 on kindle (or other ereaders)
     
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  11. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    At this stage, I'm looking into discounts for pre-order, and seeing if Amazon will let me offer a kind of Friends-and-Family discount code that can be used any time. I've heard that some writers offer email subscribers access to deleted chapters, and I should be able to keep part of my website (which isn't up yet) behind a password-only wall where I can keep that kind of material for them.

    I agree that offering something special with every mailing is much better than a continual cry of "Buy my book!!!"
     
  12. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    I think you're right to be wary. People don't like being directly marketed to, even by their friends - sooo many friendships have been lost over MLM schemes.

    I'm no expert on promotion but I treat other people how I want to be treated, so I wouldn't approach anybody and ask directly if they will sign up to my mailing list. I'd put an invitation somewhere general (Twitter, Facebook) and let people do what they will. Is it the best way to sell books? I don't know. All I know is when people market at me on social media, I unfollow them.
     
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  13. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    But do you announce on Twitter when your books are ready and out? I'd be interested in knowing that, and it'd be more convenient to catch the news there than by checking and rechecking your blog (as entertaining as your blog is).

    I agree it'd be obnoxious to buttonhole everyone I know and tell them to sign up for my email list. But when people ask me when the book will be out, I'm thinking that'd be a good time to say, "Would you like to get an email notice when that happens?" And give them a card with the signup address on it if they would.

    (Oh, crumb. Now I have to redesign my author card. But I needed to do that anyway.)
     
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  14. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    tbh I suspect most of your subscribers will come from people clicking the link in your book - you won't get much traction until your first book is out. Mailing lists are really a tool for getting those who bought and enjoyed book 1 to also buy book 2,3,4 etc they won't give you much on book one itself (or at least not until you are on book 5 or whatever and subscribers are discovering the books 1-3 box set.

    also - in regard of offering extra chapters or whatever - my advice is not to do it via password protected area, make it easy for them or they won;t do it - I'd suggest book funnel to deliver the content as epub or mobi files (Book funnel beginner account is $20 per year) or mail chimp/convert kit may be able to do it integral ( convertkit can according to their webinar- I don't know about mailchimp)
     
  15. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Link in the back of the book, link on your website ... biz card just has the website on it (tbh I havent even bothered with a card yet I'm expecting this to be an online venture pretty much)
     
  16. Tenderiser

    Tenderiser Not a man or BayView

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    Oh sure, I think general announcements are fine. Most authors on Twitter have a link to their book/s in a pinned Tweet, and also mention the title in their bio. That includes authors whose book isn't out yet, with a preorder link or just "TITLE, Tor / spring 2018." Anybody interested in their work couldn't fail to find their book, with no need for a mailing list.

    I'm coming at this as a reader rather than an author, so filter what I say accordingly... but I would only offer the mailing list is someone specifically asks you if you have a book available/when your book will be out. If they just express general interest in your writing (I ask most authors what they're working on, as an ice breaker) then I personally wouldn't. Probably about 90% of the time, other people's books don't sound like something I would want to read (wrong genre, wrong age group, whatever - nothing snobby!) and it would just be awkward if they asked me to join their mailing list.

    I know you didn't say you would offer a sign-up to anybody who spoke to you. :D I'm just musing.
     
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  17. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Untitled.jpg that webinar with nick stephenson is on right now - its repeating tommorow if you missed it
     
  18. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    Thinking about it, the email list thing would be good for me as I get around a lot (sub at a lot of different schools, belong to several different organizations), and it's usual that at least one person will ask me each time I show up when the book will be available. I'm not on Facebook or Twitter with most of these people, so if they're really interested, the email list would be a good way to keep them informed.

    Me, I'll do almost anything before I'll check my email, it's such a time sink with all the spam, but others aren't necessarily the same.

    That's a good idea about doing a pinned Twitter post to the book. I suppose I should have the guts to put that up now. But I'd prefer to do it once the formatting is done, as if it's several more weeks I'll feel like an ass.
     
  19. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    It's easier than you think.

    You need:

    - A landing page. This is where people sign up. It could be your website (I haven't updated my site in years, but you'll still see the e-mail capture at the top if you click the link in the sig) or it could be a stand-alone page you link to from your website, which has nothing on it apart from the lead capture form and the text you're using to sell them on signing up. Stand-alone usually gets you more sign-ups because there's no distractions, but if you've already got a website it's usually a bit more faff to set up. There are plenty of apps or Wordpress plugins (if that's what your site uses) that'll make one of these for you as well.

    - An autoresponder to send your e-mails. There is nothing you'll need to do that Mailchimp can't do for you, and by the time you get to the point where you need to pay for it, you'll be able to afford it.

    Desirable:

    - Something to give away as an incentive. You'll get more people to sign up if you have this, but don't stress about it if you can't come up with anything. Stick up a lead capture form that says something like 'Let me know when this amazing book gets published' to start with and work on that later.

    And don't worry about people who say they don't like to get e-mails. They're not going to sign up, so you don't care. Just make sure you're honest about what people are going to get when they sign up (i.e. don't say 'I'll e-mail you occasionally with updates' and then mail three times a day because you're trying to be engaging. It is not engaging, people will hate you. Mailing three times a day is fine as long as you tell them that's what's going to happen when they sign up). Be interesting. Stay interesting. You don't need to mail a lot, just be worth reading when you do it. People don't follow authors, they follow other people. Be a real person. Be likeable. Most importantly, be yourself. People can smell a fake from a mile away unless you're very good at it. But you can be yourself better than anyone else on the planet, and there are many, many people out there who'll enjoy you being you. Find them. Get them to want to buy your book because you're an amazing human being.

    You'll be fine. Good luck.
     
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  20. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Also, at the end of your ebook, you can have a hyperlink, asking the reader, if they enjoyed your work and would like information about any new releases, to sign up
     
  21. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I just watched that webinar all the way through - really useful and highly recomended - you'll be able to get the replay online probably (or as i say theres another opportunity at 2pm or 7pm gmt tommorow)
     
  22. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I think to make serious impact you need to stop thinking about the 'meatspace' (as the millennials say), you'll get most of your Email list from the net - its not about giving cards to people you meet in real life, its twitter, faceache, website, may be facebook ads if you want to spend a bit, links in your book (hell get your website link set up and I'll retweet it for you ) - drive traffic to your sign up, convert them to fans - build trust - and then market to them.

    Also think about where else to promote it on the net - you can't put it here (but you can put the book with the link in the bookstore, and put a weblink in your profile), your book features architects as protags doesnt it ? Can you promote it on architecture sites, blogs, forums etc ? Can you get the architectural press to do an article on you and it ? etc .... and use those articles etc to drive traffic to your website (and thus your sign up)
     
  23. Catrin Lewis

    Catrin Lewis Contributor Contributor Community Volunteer

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    I notice you mentioned a linked stand-alone form. I gather you're not talking about those gawdawful popups that appear the second you land on someone's page, holding the content hostage until you sign up for their bloody newsletter. I hit one the other day that didn't even have an X in the corner to close out of it. You had to scroll way down the page to make it go away, and I only learned that because the site had some information I thought I needed and I started pushing buttons to see get something, anything that might work.

    If you want me to leave your site fast and never return, try to make me commit to you before I know what you're all about. (All "you's" in the preceding are of the general variety.)

    Thanks for the encouragement.
     
  24. big soft moose

    big soft moose The Moderating Moose Staff Supporter Contributor Community Volunteer

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    No those pop ups are terrible - mine just sits in the top right of the page. When someone signs up to it, mail chimp then send them a download link for my free novella (the download is actually via book funnel so that I can offer mobi or epub straight to the device instead of just offering PDF as an attachment. (the book funnel service cost me £20 per year , Mail chimp is free below 2k subscribers). I'm on a word press .org site and it took me less than five minutes to set up the form (basically mail chimp gives you some code which you then paste into a widget. Sending up the response form took may be ten min's split between book funnel and mail chimp.

    Having got that done the main key is then driving traffic to your site (Which I'm only just starting with) via blog, twitter, facebook and so on (plus putting a link to the free book page in the back matter of each published book - because anyone who has read and enjoyed one book is already in a style to sign up for more)

    My site is www.peteblythwriter.co.uk if you want to take a look
     
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  25. NigeTheHat

    NigeTheHat Contributor Contributor

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    No, I mean a page dedicated just to getting the lead, nothing else. E.g. this one, from Joanna Penn:

    https://www.thecreativepenn.com/blueprint-signup4/

    You can get to that page by clicking the bit on her homepage that says 'Get started right away with the author 2.0 blueprint'. Once you're there, you can do nothing on that page except click the button that opens the sign-up form. There's no other articles to read, nothing to distract you. You either sign up or hit the back button, that's it.

    Pages like this will often have higher conversion rates because there are no distractions. They're not hard to set up, but as noted it's usually a bit more faff than just sticking a form on the homepage of the website you've already got.

    Worth noting, it's not an either/or thing. The more ways you have of getting leads, the more leads you'll get.
     
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