Reaching readers is an important goal of any author. Creating an e-mail distribution list is one way to reach readers. These lists of contacts can be large and unwieldy. The following advice will help you create and manage a large e-mail list successfully.
First up, how does an author create a large e-mail list? One way is by scouring the web for appropriate contacts. Perhaps your book is suitable for libraries. One author can generate a list with hundreds of libraries’ e-mails with some dedicated search engine time over a few weeks. An automated way to build an e-mail list is through data capture. When someone visits your website or blog you can ask them to register and to include an email address. You can create this form to capture data through most web hosting sites, including Blogger.com and Wordpress.com. Both offer static e-mail forms as standard features that you can add to your blog. for a newsletter or as a prerequisite to receiving other content such as articles or white papers. On the registration form, ask them
Another way to capture data is with opt-in forms. This is a way of enticing readers to send you contact information. It creates a relationship. The best marketing is about building these relationships. An opt-in form includes a gift offer of some free content in exchange for e-mail contact information. Gift offers can include the first chapter of your book or a short story that will be of some interest to your visitors, perhaps articles or white papers if you write non-fiction. Aweber is a fee-based site that offers e-mail opt-in forms for blogs. Another choice is to bypass data collection and try e-mail marketing services. This company already has a targeted list and is ready to promote your books.
Next, how does an author manage this list? Perhaps you have a large number of e-mail contacts. Maybe you sent to these contacts through the “bbc” form in Outlook and found that all your e-mails were deleted by spam filters. What are you to do? Try sending to your e-mail list through groups like Yahoo Groups and Google Groups. Both of these free services and make it possible for subscribers to opt out of content delivery, automating management of the list. These free services aren’t your only choice. For fee-based e-mail management services, two examples are Aweber and iContact but many more exist. Do your research to find the best fit in terms of cost-effectiveness and your needs.
Bookselling is often most effective by author efforts. Readers want a connection with authors. This connect enhances sales. Leveraging e-mail will enhance your business. It’s worth your time to investigate this marketing option.
I have 4,500 personal contacts. The day after my book went live on iUniverse, I began systematically emailing these friends in BCCs of 100. When I got to my 9th email, I started seeing bounces, and my gmail sending priviledges were suspended for a day. The next day I began again in earnest, and after just one or two messages, I stared seeing the blocks again. I believe the block was coming from the gmail servers on my second day, because none of the messages were making it out. I'm going to see about Google Groups now to see if I can circumvent the problem.
To avoid getting "jailed" for spamming, I'd strongly suggest using a mailing service such as MailChimp or Constant Contact. These services can mass-email your contacts in seconds without needing to select (or try to remember) who to send the letter to. I have one through MailChimp, and it is very simple to get started and free to use up until 5000 contacts.
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