Over the past few months I have attended a number of events and workshops focused on self-publishing where the number one top tip everyone seems to be talking about is the importance of having a mailing list.
What is a Mailing List?
A mailing list is simply a list of email addresses of people who have signed up to your website. By signing up to your mailing list you now have direct access to this person.
Note these are emails (and people) you have permission to access, a concept Seth Godin refers to as Permission Marketing.
It’s more valuable to have access to a reader who wants to be contacted rather than spamming people who have no interest in you or your work.
Why is a Mailing List Important?
Even if you are successfully selling a ton of books, you will most likely be doing this via a platform that you have little control over.
For example if you are traditionally published, then the publisher has access to the people who buy your books. If your publisher no longer represents you and you part ways, they will take along with them the list of readers, or access of the readers with them.
If you are self – published and using Amazon or Nook or any other e-book platform to publish, then although you have greater creative freedom and control to sell your books and connect with people, what happens if Amazon goes down or simply disappears?
They were the middleman to your reader and without them you no longer have a way of connecting to the reader as the middle man has gone.
Purpose of Your Mailing List
Therefore the mailing list becomes your middleman, a middleman you have control over.
For example, if you want to tell your readers you have a new book or course coming out then you can simply send a DIRECT email to your readers via the email they have given you and you can speak directly to them.
List building makes good business sense for authors who are looking to write and make a serious living out of their writing.
Selling books is all about connecting with your readers and engaging in a dialogue with them.
List building is successful if you have something to give away in exchange for an email address. Make it valuable and useful for people and related to your book/ product:
For example you can giveaway for free:
- An audio book
- First few chapters of your book
- Blueprint of manual of a product
- Top tips/ guide on a particular subject
- Newsletter updates
How To Use A Mailing List
- You can hold competitions for your readers and inform them of special promotions
- Give away free books
- Ask for reader feedback on book cover designs so they are involved in the process
- Look for beta readers to join your Advanced Reader Copy list (ARC). These are the readers who will receive an advanced or early copy of your book and if you ask nicely, will leave a review. Reviews of your books contribute to the social proof that is needed to sell your books
- Help you in marketing and sales promotion
Who are Mailing List Providers?
How are you building a list as an author? Share in the comments below.