This is a subject I briefly touched on a few days ago so I thought I’d look into it in more detail.
We will start with what a mailing list actually is:
A mailing list is a list of emails belonging to people who liked your book. If you haven’t got a book out yet, odds are you won’t have a mailing list but its the main thing that will help sell your work in the future. (or so I’ve been told)
In all honesty, I’m new to this mailing list thing but I thought I’d share what I’ve learnt so far.
So, when I heard about mailing lists I began Googling how to get one. After all, it’s not like you automatically know the address of each person who buys your book is.
I’ve discovered and tried, three methods of building a mailing list so far and I’m going to talk you through each of them. We will look at the easiest first.
This is what you do when you don’t have an incentive for people to join your mailing list.
Put a link to join your mailing list in the back of your ebooks.
This may sound really obvious but it’s surprising how many people don’t think of it. As an avid reader, I see many books without this. Now, in all honesty, this will not get you many email addresses. Unless you book was absolutely amazing and showerd the reader with gold upon completion, don’t expect much. But, you will get the odd reader who really enjoyed your book and wants to know when the next one is out so even if you only get two emails from it. It’s two you didn’t have before.
If this is the first time you’re looking at mailing lists and you don’t have a mailing list client simply set the link up to a contact me form on your website and store the emails collected in a word document or excel file.
Setting up a contact form is easy, you just make a new page and click the contact form tab then publish but I’m going to explain how you link the book to it. So, you have your contact form, and it looks something like this, what you now need to do is copy the web address. You then go to your manuscript. If you’re using something other than Word, I’m afraid I can’t help you, but this is how you do it with a word document. Add some text saying, Join my mailing list, or something along those lines, then select the text and right-click. You see the hyperlink tab that I’ve circled? That’s where you’re going next. Click on the hyperlink and a new box will pop up looking like this.Make sure it’s set to an existing file or web page then copy the address to your contact page into the address box and click ok. and there you have it, your very own link to your contact page.
So, you have a very basic method of collecting email addresses. Now you need to think bigger.
Method 2: The Incentive
Not many people are going to follow that link without a reason, and why should they? They need and incentive. A hook. Something that they can only get by following that link. This can be anything. A family tree of the characters of your book. A character interview. A Map of a planet you created. In my case, it’s a novella. I wrote a short novella that follows on from my debut book and it’s only available by following the link. This will get you a lot more clicks but now you have to think of how to keep up with them. You need an email client.
There are a lot of email clients out there but I chose Mailchimp. Many people say this is the easiest one there is. Well, that’s not why I use it. I’ll go into more detail about why I use it later but personally, I don’t find it that easy. Once you know your way around it, its fine but until then, expect to get lost frequently. Heaven help you if you click the help section in it, you will never find the way back to your dashboard without Googling. But anyway, I use Mailchimp. This program can be set up to give me a link directly to the incentive my readers want to download. In order to get that incentive they have to join my mailing list and Mailchimp automatically stores their email for my later use. This service is totally free until you collect 2000 emails.
So, how do we do it?
First, sign up to Mailchimp free at https://mailchimp.com/Then you’re going to create a list. When you pick a name for this list, I would personally avoid using something that actually says “Mailing List” I believe this will put people off as they imagine you will bombard their inbox with spam.
After creating your list, you’re going to set up your sign up forms. So click on sign up forms then select general.In the drop down section at the top, you will see each of the emails you will send when someone new subscribes. These forms are really easy to do and rather self explanatory until you get to the final welcome email. This is the email where you will deliver your incentive to your readers. But there is one problem. You can’t actually attach things to this email. So, what you need to do is get your incentive on a landing page. Now there are lots of landing page options on the internet that can be used for a small fee but I’m going to tell you how to use one in MailChimp for free. First, you need to click the campaign tab which I’ve circled in the above photo.
Now we are going to create a campaign but it doesn’t really matter what you call it because this email will never actually be sent. I personally just called it Incentive and opted to send it to my own email address that I added to my list for test purposes. For the template just scroll down and select basic.
Now you get to the fun stuff. You enter the design section and need to edit the email.
In the section, all you Have to do is write something to Attach link the file to. I wrote, Incentive. Then select it and press the link tab. A pop-up box will appear. In the drop down menu, select link to file.Upload the file and select it.Now, another box will appear. This shows you the files URL. Select and copy it.This is as much as you’re doing in the campaign section. The file is now uploaded so click on Save and Exit in the top right-hand corner and select to go back to your lists.Now, you return to your Final Welcome Email. Remember, it was Signup forms>General>Final welcome email.
Now simply paste the URL in the email and you end up with this.A Link for your readers to download your incentive. As of yet, I’ve not figured out how to attach the link to text, (If anyone knows how, please leave a comment below.) so the link is a bit long, but it works. and it’s free. Which in my book is important for an author just starting out.
Method 3: Instafreebie
This is by far, the best system I’ve found to build a mailing list.
Instafreebie is a site where you upload your book and give it away for free in exchange for email sign-ups.
Alright, you’re not making any profit on your book but its a great way to get your name out there.
Now, you remember how I said, I’d explain why I use MailChimp; this is why!
Instafreebie has an option to integrate Mailchimp so that anyone who takes your book automatically gets added to your MailChimp list. This is actually a paid option, but Instafreebie do provide a 30 day free trial and I highly advise you use it. During my free trial, I added over 150 people to my mailing list, which is not bad when it costs nothing.
So How do you do it?
This is actually really easy. First, sign up for a free Instafreebie account at https://www.instafreebie.com/Then upload your book.Now you create a giveaway and edit your options.It’s extremely easy to use and seriously, you don’t need to be talked through it. It’s quick and in no time at all, you will see your mailing list rising.
So, that’s how you build a mailing list.
If anyone has any other suggestions for how to get emails, please leave a comment bellow. I’m always looking for new things to try and I hope you find this post useful.