Author Topic: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list  (Read 43295 times)  

Offline Mark Dawson

  • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
  • ****
  • Posts: 924
  • Gender: Male
  • London, UK
    • View Profile
    • Mark Dawson
Ive preached before about the benefits of a mailing list.

https://www.kboards.com/index.php/topic,193352.0.html

Of course, its not just me saying it. Much more successful authors have been making the case for so long that it has sort of become a truism; Lesson 1 in Indie Publishing 101. Thou Must Get a Mailing List.

I was slow to get to putting my own list together, but it was my main focus in 2014. I started the year with, I think, 500 or so names on my list. Ill end it with around 8,000. Ive posted some of my tactics for growth before but they are all self-evident: good CTAs in the back of your books, offer something in exchange for an email address, judicious use of contests, etc. Ive recently redesigned my website to make it MUCH easier to sign up. Check that here:

www.markjdawson.com

This is not rocket science. It just needs patience.

Each of my launches this year has been better than the last. I have been able to rely upon the list to get my books into the top #2,000 for half the year. Once you hit that kind of rank, Amazon takes over and starts to do your marketing for you. Thats always my goal on a launch.

I put out my latest John Milton thriller yesterday. I expected it to do well, but not quite as well as it has. I went to bed last night with the book around the #1,900 mark. That was fine as far as I was concerned. Very good. But when I woke up, it was #249. I was stunned, but delighted. There has been no marketing other than $40 thrown in Mark Zuckerbergs way to broadcast more widely to my Facebook Fan Page and that email to my list.

My last few BookBub runs have launched the relevant books into the top #30. I'm not at that level yet, but it's not difficult to see how that might be possible for the next book, or the one after that. And, while I love BookBub, they still turn me down about half the time. There is no-one to satisfy with your own list. It's something to be deployed whenever is feel is right. Feels a bit like being able to do this:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7sDHO-yqK_Y

So, allow me to proselytize one more time. If you are sitting on the fence about starting a list, get off the fence and start it at once! Seriously, there is no better way to boost your prospects and its not difficult to do. I run mine on MailChimp, but Aweber and others offer a very similar service. None of them need much technical nous (which is fortunate, because I have very little). And the benefits are immediate, and they get more powerful with every name you add.

KBoards.com

  • Advertisement
  • ***

    Offline Evenstar

    • Status: A A Milne
    • ******
    • Posts: 4969
    • Here. Hare. Here.
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #1 on: December 13, 2014, 03:16:39 am »
    Hi Mark
    I just wanted to say that I think there is a lot more info in this post than I am taking in right now, (not had coffee yet) so I have bookmarked it for reference and thank you.

    But I had to reply and say that your cover for "Gaslight" is really amazing, very sexy too. A cover like that will catapult you a long way! (Also pretty wowed by the other two in the same style - The Black Mile and The Imposter.  In fact I loved the style of your whole website (except the bar across the top which was a little hard to make out). Who designed your "stack of books" home page image, if you don't mind me asking?

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #2 on: December 13, 2014, 03:19:30 am »
    But I had to reply and say that your cover for "Gaslight" is really amazing, very sexy too. A cover like that will catapult you a long way! (Also pretty wowed by the other two in the same style - The Black Mile and The Imposter.  In fact I loved the style of your whole website (except the bar across the top which was a little hard to make out). Who designed your "stack of books" home page image, if you don't mind me asking?

    That was designed by the guy who works on my covers. That's the other thing I learned this year - know your limitations (I couldn't begin to do my covers) and, when you find someone good, hold onto them for dear life.

    Offline Evenstar

    • Status: A A Milne
    • ******
    • Posts: 4969
    • Here. Hare. Here.
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #3 on: December 13, 2014, 04:10:54 am »
    That was designed by the guy who works on my covers. That's the other thing I learned this year - know your limitations (I couldn't begin to do my covers) and, when you find someone good, hold onto them for dear life.

    Darn, I'm guessing his name is a secret then? I had a look inside your books and couldn't see any credit. Bah humbug  ;)

    Offline Lydniz

    • Status: Edgar Allan Poe
    • *******
    • Posts: 5807
    • Gender: Female
    • UK
      • View Profile
      • Credentials
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #4 on: December 13, 2014, 05:01:13 am »
    I second this advice. My latest went up three days ago. I'm a total minnow compared to Mark, with a mailing list of a mere 750, but I went straight in at about number 600+ in the paid store, into the top ten of my categories, and straight to the top of Hot New Releases of one of those categories. (Of course, now all my fans have bought the book I've plummeted straight out again, but hey, you can't have everything, right? ;D)

    TobiasRoote

    • Guest
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #5 on: December 13, 2014, 06:09:59 am »
    I already have a mailing list, but just put the following message up on FB. With the changing rules on FB next year this is sound advice from the OP.

    TAKE A MINUTE TO REGISTER - PLEASE!
    Whilst we all love Facebook (we do, don't we?) its not the most reliable means of me keeping in touch with you because without 'boosting' a post there is no way I can reach you reliably to tell you what's going on.
    That's why I'm going to be making it a special mission to get everyone onto my mailing list in 2015. I won't spam you. I will only mail you with news on my books, not fake news, but real news.
    Just enter your given name and email address at the bottom of the homepage and you will be done. Any time you want off the list the 'unsubscribe' button will be at the bottom of every email.
    THANK YOU
    just visit http://tobiasroote.com/ or click the link below.

    Offline Michael McClung

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 286
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
      • Something Sticky This Way Comes
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #6 on: December 13, 2014, 06:26:36 am »
    Hi Mark,

    I finally started including a link to my mailing list this year. Slow growth so far, but I'm not complaining at all. I finally see the value in connecting directly to readers who want to hear from me.

    My question would be what an average email to your subscriber list would/should look like. Any tips?

    Cheers!

    Offline hayley

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 44
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #7 on: December 13, 2014, 06:52:02 am »
    Great post, last night I was thinking about how to gather more people on my email list. And I looked over yours, I love the give away concept - linking it with a word within the book. I have a short story series and I'm going to test a few concepts out.

    Hayley

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #8 on: December 13, 2014, 08:27:39 am »
    Darn, I'm guessing his name is a secret then? I had a look inside your books and couldn't see any credit. Bah humbug  ;)

    No, he's not a secret. PM me if you want an intro.

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #9 on: December 13, 2014, 08:39:47 am »
    My question would be what an average email to your subscriber list would/should look like. Any tips?

    If you want to see what I do, the easy thing would be to sign up - I'm mailing out tomorrow about a BookBun deal on one of my Milton box sets.

    But, for general purpose advice, I would say this: be conversational, and treat them like friends. I love the SPP guys, but the autoresponder series they fire at their subscribers don't make me want to do anything other than hit delete. That might be a cultural thing - English reserve, etc - but they are too long, too sales-y and too transparent. I always try to keep in mind that these people are sustaining my career, and if I tick them off they can just as easily pony up another dollar and buy the new Lee Child. You'll see me thanking them a lot of the time, and that's always sincere.

    Offline Christa Wick

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1366
    • Gender: Female
    • U.S.A.
      • View Profile
      • Christa Wick
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #10 on: December 13, 2014, 08:45:33 am »
    If you want to see what I do, the easy thing would be to sign up ...


    No affront intended, but I signed up after reading your OP earlier for exactly that reason. :D I'm signed up to several high-selling authors in my genre to see what they do and not as a reader.

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #11 on: December 13, 2014, 08:58:32 am »
    No affront intended, but I signed up after reading your OP earlier for exactly that reason. :D I'm signed up to several high-selling authors in my genre to see what they do and not as a reader.

    Well, there you are... No affront received! I hope you find it useful.

    Offline Rich Amooi

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 744
    • Gender: Male
    • San Diego, California
    • Hi Mom!
      • View Profile
      • Author Website
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #12 on: December 13, 2014, 09:31:30 am »
    Thanks for sharing this. I have an email list and it is growing.  :)  A few questions if you would be so kind...


    1) Do those 8000 people on your newsletter list also get your blog updates emailed to them or is that a separate signup?
    2) How often do you email the list per month?
    3) How far out do you plan your emails ahead of time? For example, do you already know when (and how many) emails you are going to send in the month of January?


    Thanks again.  :)


    Rich



    Quirky Romantic Comedies from a Guy's Perspective. Happily married to a kiss monster.
    Rich Amooi | Author Website | Facebook | Twitter

    Offline Michael McClung

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 286
    • Gender: Male
      • View Profile
      • Something Sticky This Way Comes
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #13 on: December 13, 2014, 09:33:39 am »
    Thanks, Mark! I'm off to sign up right now :)

    Offline hardnutt

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1200
    • Gender: Female
    • Norfolk, England
      • View Profile
      • Why Didn't They Ask Evand?
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #14 on: December 13, 2014, 09:44:21 am »
    Just taken a look at your website, Mark. It's very dramatic and I like the way the books appear when you click the 'Book' Link. I also like the stack of books on your home Page.

    But there were a couple of things I didn't like. Yes, I know a black background is dramatic, but with the white text, it's hard to read and hard on the eyes (my old site used to have a black background, but I changed it after reading many comments from people around the web who didn't like it at all).

    And I wondered why you only have links to Amazon US and UK. Why not CA and AU and some European sites? And why not Kobo, etc, as well. I have a Kindle, but I think I'd feel a bit 'huh!' if I had another ereader.

    Just a couple of observations. But overall, I thought your site was great. Well-presented and well-organised.


    'Evans' series has stand out central characters and clever plots.' AUNT AGATHA'S BOO
    Geraldine Evans | website/blog | newsletter sign up | facebook | linkedin | twitter | [url=https://www.goodrea

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #15 on: December 13, 2014, 09:45:59 am »
    1) Do those 8000 people on your newsletter list also get your blog updates emailed to them or is that a separate signup?

    I don't mail them with blog posts. They get news on deals and new books only.

    2) How often do you email the list per month?

    Once, but sometimes I won't at all. I don't email for the sake of it.

    3) How far out do you plan your emails ahead of time? For example, do you already know when (and how many) emails you are going to send in the month of January?

    It'll depend on my production and release schedule. I'll have one or two novellas in January, so once or twice.

    Offline tamiveldura

    • Status: Dr. Seuss
    • *
    • Posts: 10
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #16 on: December 13, 2014, 09:50:26 am »
    /delurks for the first time

    I wanted to throw my 2 cents in regarding email lists. The easiest way I've found to get people interested in signing up, is to offer something for free. A book, a coupon, an exclusive story- the bigger your gift, the more likely they are to sign up. And you can always increase your gift later as you produce more work.

    2nd, it's very important to be offering useful things to your subscribers once they're on your list. I conduct industry interviews and they are only provided to my newsletter subs, no one else. I don't always advertise that, so it can be a nice surprise to people who sign up.

    Also, when announcing a new release to the newsletter group, I always provide additional fiction for free. Side stories, secondary characters, backstory, art, as many things as I can reasonably put together before the release date. They all go into the newsletter. Even if the sub doesn't want to buy the book, they might be convinced with the peaks into the world they get. Or, at the very least, I haven't sent them a useless spam email.

    If I can manage it, I set up a countdown of emails giving away several things in advance of the release date. For instance, I have an adventure pirate book coming out on the 19th. I have a newsletter set up to go out on the 19th with an interview. But on the 17th a much shorter newsletter is going out with a piece of art subs can download and a backstory they're not expecting.  And the 15th another short email is going out with a second backstory. So 14 (free), 17 (free x2), 19 (free + buy my book). People who are really into your work will get excited over the course of the week. People who are on the fence get a lot of different exposure. People who aren't interested are at least getting some perks so they don't get annoyed with the emails and unsub.

    1-10 Sales Per Day

    I'm only here until I reach escape velocity.
    Tami Veldura | Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Patreon

    Offline sela

    • Status: Scheherazade
    • *****
    • Posts: 1607
    • Gender: Female
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #17 on: December 13, 2014, 10:55:29 am »
    Bookbub is indispensable for finding new readers for your backlist. A mailing list is indispensable for getting those new readers to buy your new releases on release day or release week so that you move up in the ranks. One can't really replace the other. If you can get a Bookbub, it's great. In this new reality, a mailing list is absolutely necessary. An author should try to do both.
    The Author Formerly Known As Sela

    Offline reneepawlish

    • Status: Jane Austen
    • ***
    • Posts: 438
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #18 on: December 13, 2014, 01:55:22 pm »
    Mark, thank you for all your advice.  I am one who took your tips and just started implementing them.  I've had over 600 subscribers just since Nov 29th.  Now I'm sure that some just got the free book and will drop off, but I suspect many will be hooked.  I am planning on giving away a short story as a Christmas gift to them, and in January when I release the next in my series, I am going to offer the new novel at a discount to my list on a limited time basis and see what happens.  I'll bet it gets a nice push on sales.  My goal is to have 2015 be the big year :)

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #19 on: December 13, 2014, 03:24:35 pm »
    Bookbub is indispensable for finding new readers for your backlist. A mailing list is indispensable for getting those new readers to buy your new releases on release day or release week so that you move up in the ranks. One can't really replace the other. If you can get a Bookbub, it's great. In this new reality, a mailing list is absolutely necessary. An author should try to do both.

    They are absolutely not mutually exclusive, and you set it out very well. One complements the other very well.

    Offline Mark Dawson

    • Status: Arthur Conan Doyle
    • ****
    • Posts: 924
    • Gender: Male
    • London, UK
      • View Profile
      • Mark Dawson
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #20 on: December 13, 2014, 03:26:38 pm »
    Mark, thank you for all your advice.  I am one who took your tips and just started implementing them.  I've had over 600 subscribers just since Nov 29th.  Now I'm sure that some just got the free book and will drop off, but I suspect many will be hooked.  I am planning on giving away a short story as a Christmas gift to them, and in January when I release the next in my series, I am going to offer the new novel at a discount to my list on a limited time basis and see what happens.  I'll bet it gets a nice push on sales.  My goal is to have 2015 be the big year :)

    Wow. That's brilliant, Renee. 600?! In that short time? Fabulous.

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

    • Status: A A Milne
    • ******
    • Posts: 4139
    • Gender: Male
    • "I'm just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns."
      • View Profile
      • My Website
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #21 on: December 13, 2014, 04:43:22 pm »
    Without a doubt, a mailing list is probably the single best marketing tool available to us and it costs nothing. Well, unless you go with MailChimp's paid service, but the free one works just fine.

    Fallen Mangrove went live on 9/29 at 9pm Eastern time (6pm Pacific). Six hours later, it ended the day with over 80 sales, but no borrows. Virtually every one of those sales came from my mailing list. I sent a pre-release notice the day before, telling them that it'd be released some time the next day, would be priced at only $.99 for 24 hours and the subscribers would be the only ones to know for that 24 hours. I had the release message set to go and the minute it went live, I sent it. The next day, another 100 sales and 14 borrows. It's debut rank was in the 17Ks, but the next hour it was at #2400. By the end of the first full day, it broke the top 1000. That was ten weeks ago and it's only fallen out of the top 3000 a week ago.
    My Bestselling, 18-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  5-volume Charity Styles Series, also bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, wherever books are sold. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
    Wayne Stinnett | Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Talk Write Podcast | Ship's Store

    Offline katrina46

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2446
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #22 on: December 13, 2014, 05:16:41 pm »
    I second this advice. My latest went up three days ago. I'm a total minnow compared to Mark, with a mailing list of a mere 750, but I went straight in at about number 600+ in the paid store, into the top ten of my categories, and straight to the top of Hot New Releases of one of those categories. (Of course, now all my fans have bought the book I've plummeted straight out again, but hey, you can't have everything, right? ;D)
    Actually, you were the one who advised me on how to start mailchimp, so I'm working on building my list now. Right now I have a whole 12 subscribers. I have a long way to go, but thanks for leading me in the right direction. As for not taking much technical expertise, it doesn't, but I did find mailchimp somewhat confusing in the beginning.

    Offline Wayne Stinnett

    • Status: A A Milne
    • ******
    • Posts: 4139
    • Gender: Male
    • "I'm just a peckerwood who lives in the hills with too many guns."
      • View Profile
      • My Website
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #23 on: December 13, 2014, 05:20:21 pm »
    I have about 8,000 contacts on my list, but I haven't ever sent email because paid email service (mail chimp) is $75 per month. :/ Anyone got recommendation for this problem? Is there away to get a cheaper service then mailchimp or to declutter my list before sending? I am scared that 20% will not go through since they are emails that were originally registered as blog subscribers to blog. Do I just have to sent 1 for $75 and then declutter after the test happens?

    You could break your list down into smaller ones. Sort them by member rating and move all the five stars to a "Five Star" list. These are the ones that engage. What's the sense in emailing hundreds of subscribers that don't open, much less click? Weed them out.
    My Bestselling, 18-volume Jesse McDermitt Series and the spinoff,  5-volume Charity Styles Series, also bestsellers, are available in ebook, audiobook, and paperback, wherever books are sold. In my motivational non-fiction, Blue Collar to No Collar, I provide tips, advice, and strategies for new authors, also available in the same formats. Don't forget to visit the Ship's Store for Jesse McDermitt swag.
    Wayne Stinnett | Website | Facebook | Amazon Author Page | Twitter | Talk Write Podcast | Ship's Store

    Offline katrina46

    • Status: Arthur C Clarke
    • *****
    • Posts: 2446
      • View Profile
    Re: Your own personal BookBub: Why you should work on your mailing list
    « Reply #24 on: December 13, 2014, 05:22:34 pm »
    If you want to see what I do, the easy thing would be to sign up - I'm mailing out tomorrow about a BookBun deal on one of my Milton box sets.

    But, for general purpose advice, I would say this: be conversational, and treat them like friends. I love the SPP guys, but the autoresponder series they fire at their subscribers don't make me want to do anything other than hit delete. That might be a cultural thing - English reserve, etc - but they are too long, too sales-y and too transparent. I always try to keep in mind that these people are sustaining my career, and if I tick them off they can just as easily pony up another dollar and buy the new Lee Child. You'll see me thanking them a lot of the time, and that's always sincere.
    I guess I'm doing it wrong. I figured they signed up to be notified of my new releases, so I link the cover to my sales page and simply right a short message asking them to check it out. Short and sweet. I guess I should work on it.

    KBoards.com

    • Advertisement
    • ***