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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

8 Ways to Use Your Mailing List

Email marketing has been a top technique used by self-published writers for decades, and many tout it as a key factor in their success.

But things have changed in the world of email and digital marketing. Americans are flooded with emails daily--and more of these emails are from companies, brands, and work than from friends and family.

This means that an email that would have been opened and read back in 2005 will probably get deleted right off the bat in 2020. You need to be creative with your email marketing these days if you want to make it, which makes other options (like social media) more appealing to writers who are just starting out.

For those of us who already have mailing lists, they often seem like more work than they’re worth. The rules have changed. You don’t need to email often or elaborately. A simple update about new releases works well.

But let’s take a deeper look. What good is your mailing list, really?

Giving Updates

The fact remains that email is still the best possible way to update readers about your progress. Have a new book? Email it. Have a promotion? Email it.

Facebook and Twitter might bury your news in feeds unless you pay for a boost, but any email you send will end up in an inbox until it is moved elsewhere--meaning that readers will definitely get it.

Instant publicity!


Your mailing list is an easy way to get reviews for your new book, and possibly the best. Readers on your list have already invested in you as a writer. They’re excited to hear from you, and the best thing they could imagine is getting a book for free.

Of course the books won’t be entirely for free. You will only send out advanced review copies so that they can give you an immediate burst of reviews that will help you on your launches.

Grow Your Readership

What’s that? You didn’t realize that your list could help grow itself?

In a way, it can.

Most (if not all) popular mailers allow you to set up attractive landing pages where people can enter their emails. This makes it easy to host a giveaway--and by entering, people can give you their email addresses.

Automatic Sales

I’d been working hard on one of my fiction mailing lists for a few months before I realized that I had developed a powerful machine. I could make sales instantly, with a single email.

It was easy. There was no special trick and no expensive paid services. I simply reached the point where I could send an email out every time I had a sale… and people would easily click on the link.

Any time I wanted a boost, I could have another sale. Then I’d send a single email, and watch as the royalties came in.

If you want to make any money in publishing, this power can not be understated.

Beta Readers

I already said you can use your list to get reviews. If you venture into the realm of list segmenting, you can take this even further.

List segmenting (or splitting your one big list into several smaller lists) is a way where you can communicate with readers on a more personal basis. This means you can give your hardcore fans something extra special on occasion.

The easiest way to put a street team together is to segment your list and split the serious readers from the casual readers.

A team of beta readers can take your book right when you’re putting your final touches on, and give you final thoughts as well as reviews.

Author Branding

To develop a strong personal brand, you need to be present. You need to have a written voice as well as your spoken one (and theatrical narrative voices don’t count).

Sure, you can develop your brand voice on social media. Some do. But if you really want to make the best of your situation as an authorpreneur, your email list is a great way to establish yourself to devoted followers.

You can be lengthier in an email than in a tweet, and more personal than in a Facebook page. If branding is important to you, this is your golden opportunity.

Repeat Sales

What’s better than making a sale on your debut novel? Making a sale to that same reader on every book you write thereafter!

Your email list is the best way to secure repeat sales from the same excited buyers. People who subscribe are interested in you as an author, and many are hungry enough to buy. Give them new stories over and over again, and you’ll maximize your earnings.

If you take the bookselling email machine I built earlier and pair it with multiple books, you can use the same readers to sell to repeatedly with their buying your books every time.

Track Success

Running a successful business self-publishing involves a lot of ongoing experimentation. Whenever things go really well (or fail miserably) it’s important to know which of your efforts made the difference. After all, they say that 80% of your results come from 20% of your efforts.

Mailing list platforms like Mailchimp and Aweber give you the option of tagging different subscribers and tracking how people signed up onto your list. If you launched a $500 Facebook ad and only $50 for a Twitter card advertising the same book, you’d want to know how many of your sales went to what. That could make all the difference for your future efforts as well.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the importance (or unimportance) of mailing lists and what you have learned with yours, so please comment below for discussion!

To learn more about why your email open rate is so low and how to fix it, click here.

To join our awesome Facebook group of self-publishing fiction writers, click here.


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