Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Building Your Email List

with guest Angela Meyer.

Angela Meyer
I am thrilled to be back at Seekerville again. You are all so fun to visit with! Thank you for having me over! While we wait on others to arrive, I just have to let you know what I brought to the party today! Gluten free cinnamon rolls with plenty of frosting.

Are you ready to discuss a question that plagues most authors at one time or another as we build our platform: “How in the world do I build an email list?”

Although I do not have a million subscribers on my email list or a magic formula to spur you on to stardom overnight, I do have a few things under my hat to help you move in the right direction. Let’s starts with a couple quick basics for the newer platform builders out there.

If you don’t have a newsletter/email list, start ASAP. I didn’t start an email list until I had been blogging about a year. Once I understood the importance of the list, I regretted my delay and missed opportunities to gain subscribers. Readers who join our email lists are far more likely to purchase our books than those who follow us on just Twitter or Facebook. They want to hear from you and have given you permission to contact them by email. And publishers like to see authors with an active email list as well.

When starting to build a list, use an email service provider such as Mail Chimp or Aweber because personal emails like Gmail and Yahoo do not like us sending out mass emails. It will be marked as spam. I use Mail Chimp because it is easy to learn, easy to use and it fits my pocket book. They have wonderful tutorials to help you get started and you can send up to 12,000 emails per month for free if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers.

Once you have a list, send out your newsletter often enough they don’t forget why they signed up for it, but not so often they get tired of you in their email box.

I have felt at times that to build a successful email list I either needed to know someone in the right place, have an assistant or a lot of money. I wish. But DIY is the way I have approached it and though it may be slower than I like, it works.

Here are 4 factors that I believe can determine the growth of your email list.

What you write. In the newsletter, on your blog and in your books. Everything you write outside your newsletter will be the biggest draw for people to join your email list. Either because they like what you write and you are offering more of it in your newsletter or they want to know when your next book or project is due. Nurture your writing.

Keep your reader in mind when you decide what you will write in your newsletter. What will they enjoy? What will add value to their life? Be YOU and don’t default to what others are doing.

Perseverance. You have to not only persevere in patience, but in learning and applying what you learn to building your email list. Rarely does someone’s platform take off overnight. If it appears to do so, remember there was lot of hard work behind the scenes.

Getting the word out. Invite people to sign up. Share everywhere. Get creative. Here are 10 ideas to get you started sharing.  
1.When you have live events, provide a way for people to sign up.
2.Use the CTA button on Facebook for your email signup.
3.Create a QR code in Mail Chimp to use on your bookmarks and posters.
4.Use a pop up form on your website. Sumome and Mail Chimp both provide a way to do this. And if you’re like me and don’t like pop ups, you can delay the pop up so only the people who stick around a bit and are likely interested will see it.
5. Put more than one place to sign up on your website and make it hard to miss. In the sidebar at the top. A pop up. A separate page.  
6. Put a URL link to the form in your email signature.
7. Make sure the link to your form is in all your social media profiles.
8. Invite members of Facebook groups you are a part of to sign up (if it’s ok with their rules).
9. Put a link in the back of your books.
10. When you guest post, use it for your call to action link if one is allowed.

Getting people to engage. Engagement is more valuable than numbers. It builds a connection between you and your reader. Better to have only 100 subscribers who all buy your book, than 1,000 who do nothing. Here are a few ideas.
1.To motivate them to sign up, offer an incentive. I recommend making sure it compliments what they will be getting in the newsletter instead of something of monetary value. Otherwise, you may get people signing up just for the goodie and then unsubscribing. (ideas: short story, top 10 list, novella, special offer on a book, something related to the theme or characters in a book). This will garner more actual readers and keep cost down.
3.Run a poll.
4.Run a contest. Within your newsletter, if you offer a prize, at least you know it’s going to one of your readers.
5. Invite your subscribers to share your content with their friends.
6. Ask a question at the end of your newsletter and have a link to take them where you want them to comment.

I do enjoy a good brainstorming session, so share your ideas about what has worked for you or perhaps you have a question about building your email list.

And to stir your creativity, think in story. What would the main character of one of your books come up with to promote her email list if she had one?

I will be giving away a copy of Where Healing Starts to one commenter. Since it doesn’t release until September 22, my publisher will send a link to the winner for a free download of the Kindle version of book 1 in the series, Where Hope Starts, so you can start reading right away.

And do tell what munchie you brought to the party! Be back in a few. I have to go warm up my cinnamon roll.
Click to Buy
Angela D. Meyer, author of The Applewood Hill Series, lives in NE with her husband of 25 years and their high school daughter. Their son serves our country in the Marines. Angela enjoys hanging out with her family, reading, connecting with friends and encouraging women to grow in their faith. One of her dream spots to vacation is next to the ocean and someday she wants to ride in a hot air balloon.

Connect with Angela:

Where Healing Starts
Joanna, full of bitterness over the past, can no longer ignore the growing storm inside her and is bent on self-destruction as she seeks to ease her pain. But the refuge she seeks is always out of her reach.

Her brother Blake must choose between what has always been safe and what he has always wanted. One mistake after another leads him down a dangerous path.

The one for all, all for one sibling bond can’t help them now. They are both determined to hang onto their anger, never forgetting. Never forgiving. They see no reason to trust God.

After so many years of turmoil, will the Hannigan siblings find refuge in the God who loves them? Or will they get lost along the way?

~ ~ ~
Pre-order your copy of Where Healing Starts now and receive a link to download the Kindle version of Where Hope Starts for free! Click here .


  1. Great tips, Angela! I am building my platform now and so this is very timely. Thanks for sharing!!

  2. Great tips Angela. I need to build an email list and I didn't have a clue about how to do do. Love the what would your character do question!

  3. Welcome, Angela! Thank you so much for the great tips. I'm with you and those pop-ups. I've been known to unsubscribe when the message continues to display.


    Love, love, love that sassy hair do. So adorable.

    Thanks for the great tips.

    Uh, I too hate pop ups. Especially to a site I already follow. OVERKILL!

  5. Hi Angela,

    I've been thinking about starting a newsletter, so your post came at the perfect time. Thanks so much for sharing! I'm definitely keeping your post.

  6. Good morning, Angela!

    The cinnamon rolls smell yummy! I brought Uti's muffins, also butter to spread over them...and a toaster oven to warm them up a bit.

    I do need a newsletter. Hate to admit that I don't have one. It's that learning curve thing...but you've made it sound very doable with Mail Chimp. Love your mention of tutorials. This is something I can do, right? (Ah, btw, I'm very low tech.)

    Pouring a second cup of coffee!


  7. Hi Angela,

    Great to see you here! Very good and informative post.

    Best of luck with your book.

    Hope to see you in person soon.

  8. ANGELA, welcome back to Seekerville. Thanks for the great tips on growing an email list! And for the yummy cinnamon rolls. :-)

    I love the stylish haircut.


  9. Angela, this is so helpful. For some reason, the thought of starting a newsletter—though I know I need to—overwhelms me. I haven't figured out what my main focus should be. Although, when I was reading your post this morning, an idea of sharing a featured photo in each newsletter came to mind. I often share photos on my blogs, and I've received numerous compliments on my photos.

    I'm looking forward to reading comments today and seeing what ideas in my own head get stirred by what others are doing. :)

  10. Angela, so good to see you in Seekerville!

    Thanks for this very useful advice. You included sources I never thought of. Money is always tight, so seeing a doable DIY method is beyond wonderful.

    Can't wait to read comments and other ideas. Thanks for sharing!

  11. Good post Angela - I am looking forward to reading your book.

  12. Good morning Seekerville! I've successfully scooted my family out the door for work and school, now I can settle in for some cinnamon rolls and conversation!

    Terri, Keeping it simple as you get started will keep it from overwhelming. Bells and whistles can be added later :) Make connection the main ingredient!

    Jill, I especially don't like pop ups on mobile. No telling what is on mine right now. I switched to Wordpress and not sure what Sumome is up to...LOL. Hopefully I'm not being an example of what I don't like myself :)

    Debby, Yummy. Muffins. And butter :) Yes, you can do a newsletter. Like I told Terri - keep it simple to start so you don't get overwhelmed :) But really, you're doing the most important part. You are writing! Creating great content that readers like. That's the best draw to a newsletter :) BTW - I am more than happy to answer any questions even off this post. Just contact me on social media :)

    Jeanne - sounds like you have some good ideas started. You'll have a great newsletter, I'm sure :)

    Tina, Thank you, Sassy is fun. Just wish my hair would cooperate every day - LOL!

  13. Welcome to Seekerville, Angela. I would love to read the book.

  14. Great post, Angela! I'm still experimenting with my newsletter content but becoming more satisfied with it. Before I started mine, I subscribed to several author newsletters to see what appealed to me, not only topic-wise, but in appearance. My list is slowly growing over time, and I'm going to try a poll in this next one to see how that works.

    Mmmm...cinnamon rolls!

  15. Welcome, Angela! This is a post I need to come back to and read more carefully--and often!

    I do have an author newsletter that I tryto put out (sort of) quarterly. My subscriber base isn't impressive yet, but it's growing. As you recommend, I have a signup link in my email signature and on my Facebook page. My website also has the link on nearly every page.

    I've been using Vertical Response Classic for a few years and have debated about moving to their newer version but haven't taken the time to figure out how to move all my current subscribers over.

    One frustrating thing is that I have a few "almost" subscribers who show up in my VR database as never having clicked the subscription confirmation email, which means their addresses aren't "mailable." Any tips on how to encourage better follow-through?

  16. Hi Angela! Welcome! Love your tips/advice regarding newsletters. :) I started a newsletter over a year ago and it was the BEST decision I ever made. I use MailChimp, too, and I really like it. There's a bit of a learning curve, like with anything, but once you get the hang of it it's a snap. We can coordinate our newsletter colors, format, and brand with our websites and cyber hangouts, which is great, and our newsletter family knows what to expect when they hear from us in their inboxes.

    I agree with everything you said, especially about perseverance. I also offer more "meat" for my subscribers than in my blogs and more personal takeaways. And yes--Prepubbed writers can do this, too. In fact, I believe it builds momentum for our future books.

    Newsletters are work, but they are OURS (something that isn't controlled by other social media venues limiting our visibility.)

    I blogged about this for ACFW last October and here's a tiny recap:

    • Writers’ websites, blogs, and newsletters are our own. We’re in charge!
    • We control the design, content, and posting schedule. Big job, but even bigger payoff.
    • We have the choice, a voice, and a passion for our niche. A genuine heart resonates.
    • Opportunity and creativity are free. That’s a win-win scenario!
    • We grow our numbers by growing others first. Paying-it-forward always mushrooms.


    Here's more if anyone's interested--> http://www.acfw.com/blog/does-a-newsletter-scare-you-five-ways-to-rock-it/

    Angela, I so agree about having easy sign-up boxes on your website. When I revamped my website last January, my website gurus (Matt Jones/Jones House Creative) included convenient spots in the sidebars, which is great.

    For writers who don't have books yet, it's somewhat of a challenge to find our niche, but I think the key is to stay focused on our topic. For instance--I have a section in my newsletter that gives writing updates, but it's not the overriding theme. I love to encourage and share so that's the angle I take with mine.

    LOVE your thoughts today, Angela! Enjoyed the topic. Congratulations on your upcoming release! :-)

  17. Hi Angela,
    Thank you for these really good suggestions for building an email list. I've printed your post so I can go through each of the ideas.

    While I was reading your post a thought occurred to me and I wanted to ask your opinion. I know that there are many ways to do an author web site and content for blogging can be a stumbling block. What if- an author took a prequel or the back story or the earlier years of their hero or heroine and wrote a little bit of their story as a blog post? My mind sees this as some of the story we use to create a character, some of the things that happened in their past but are not part of our actual book. This might create a deeper interest in the book or series. I would probably use this content once a month at regular intervals and sort of create a little serial blog story- 400 words at a time. I realize it might be unworkable for someone who has many books, but then, they probably already have a good start on their subscriber list. This could also keep up the interest in characters and story between publications.

    Since this idea just barged its way into my brain while I was reading your post, I haven't developed it out and it could be full of flaws. I thought I'd ask for your reaction. It would solve the issue of what to write at least once a month.

    Thanks again for your post- it was stimulating!

  18. Sandra, subscribing to other newsletters is an excellent way to get ideas and fine tune what you like and want in your own newsletter! And polls are a great way to gage what your readers want.

    Myra, I am not familiar with Vertical Response, so I will answer with what I know to be true about Mail Chimp. Some ideas: 1) You can design your sign ups so they don't have to click on a confirmation email to be subscribed. 2) double check all your forms. sign up yourself and follow the confirmation links. Make sure everything is working. 3) revisit your incentive for signing up. If there is some urgency (sign up today to get this or that) people may be more likely to click through to confirm. I hope one of those ideas help you out.

    Cynthia - love it: "Newsletters are work, but they are OURS".

    Barbara, I think that is a great idea. It will help your readers connect with the characters even before they pick up the book. You'll just have to figure out how it will look on your blog(how often, how long, which part of backstory, etc)- but it sounds like your on your way to some wonderful content!

  19. Hi Angela:

    I've worked with commercial mailing lists and newsletters for many years. Here are a few observations I'd like to add to your excellent insights:

    1. The best marketing for a newsletter is to make it rewarding reading so that subscribers will recommend others join your list.

    2. Make it news! So many author newsletters are really just book flyers trying to sell books.

    3. Make the subscribers feel like 'insiders' hearing the news for the first time. Reveal it first in your newsletter.

    4. Make the newsletter add value to your books with insights on the writing and research. Tell the rest of the story when a book is based on a true story. Like the story behind Ruth's "The Lawman's Second Chance".

    5. Make the news the big deal and feature of the story and not the chance to enter a contest or earn points of some kind. J.A. Jance's newsletter tells about possible future books where characters from different series might meet and recently how characters in different series were with different publishers and how it took years to work out a publishing agreement to put them in the same book.

    6. Make it a weekly if possible and no more than a monthly. A newsletter that comes out only twice or four times a year is really not newsy.

    7. Make the newsletter look like a letter and not an advertising flyer. Kiplinger's was a master at this as their newsletter looked just like a typed letter always with the inside scoop on the news.

    8. Fulfill your promises. I've subscribed to a newsletter to get a free novella or report only to never get it. I've also signed up on the author's website only to have her not look at the new sign-ups on her website backside. You must always show you care about your subscribers. J.A. Jance's newsletters are so personal that my wife thinks she knows her and that she is Jance's friend in Tulsa.

    9. If you are the editor of a club newsletter, like Toastmasters, you must put as many members names in the newsletter as possible. Use bold type. The first thing club members do is look for their name in the just arrived newsletter. (Make them and their contribution to the meeting look good!)

    These are a few things I've learned marketing newsletters over the years. Please place me in the drawing for you new book, "Where Healing Starts".


    Like Tina, I love your hairdo! It's enough to make a 'long hair loving' man like short hair! Sassy is right!

    1. Great insights to add to the list! Thank you.

  20. I used the youtube tutorials for Mail Chimp and found them utterly USEFUL! Shock. All by myself.

    The only problem with mail lists is getting a notification when someone drops. It's sort of disheartening. I do it all the time myself for some reason or another. But I wonder if there is a way to only get notifications like ...monthly. My ego could handle that. LOL.


    1. I agree Tina! I like getting notified of new subscribers much better:)

  21. Any hints on the time of graphics that work best. Size wise?

    And any insider information on what types of newsletters get the best click through? In fact any tips to improve click through is much appreciated. Any ding to the ego. haha!

  22. And here's a "I always wondered" question. What is considered a strong newsletter number? When can you consider you are in the major leagues. Or would that be when you have to start paying real money for your newsletter? LOL.

    1. No matter how many subscribers you have, engagement is the most important tell of a strong list. Numbers will come with time, quality and comsistency.

      For graphics, Mail Chimp always prompts me if I have used something too big. Then I can resize within Mail Chimps editor. If you use a program like Camva or PicMonkey, they should have some templates that help guide you on size depending on the purpose of your graphic.

  23. VINCE! I love this one: "Make the subscribers feel like 'insiders' hearing the news for the first time. Reveal it first in your newsletter."

    That's a great point. What value is it to subscribers if everybody else already got the news on Facebook and Twitter?

    However, I would NEVER have the stamina (or the newsworthiness) to send out even a monthly newsletter, much less a weekly!

  24. Oh, and one reason I am seriously interested in migrating away from VR Classic is because that version does not have the autoresponder feature. If I want to welcome new subscribers immediately, I have to do it manually.

    1. I just wish auto responder was free! But yes, that makes keeping up with subscribers much easier!

  25. What great tips! Thanks!

    Can I share what NOT to do? Once you get started with a newsletter, keep it up. Vince is correct about that. I'm so bad about not staying on my schedule and that's a disservice to my readers. Go too long and you'll lose subscribers.

    Oh, and are those homemade gluten-free cinnamon rolls???? I'd love the recipe! :)

    1. I wish they were home made. Tried that once and it took way longer than I wanted. Now, I make a trip to Wheatfields for mine!

  26. ANGELA, did you have input on your eye-catching cover? This may be way off but the tree house makes me wonder if the trouble for the siblings started there.


    1. My publisher created tbe cover. She did a great job! And yes...there is a story behind the treehouse!

      As a matter of fact, at my FB launch party Friday night I'll be sharing a couple deleted scenes that will shed some light on their past :)

  27. Good good info here, especially since I'm working NOW on my newsletter. :)

    And excellent suggestions/tips in the comments too. Love the Seekerville Brain Trust!

    My character, May the K9 Spy, would sniff out opportunities in far off lands, acting all cute and woofing until someone signed up. Yep. That's what she would do.

    I'd like to be in for the drawing please.

    Here's a big platter of warm Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chip cookies... Not gluten free but as healthy as a cookie can be with whole wheat flour and dark brown sugar and dark choco chips.

    One more thing, Angela. Thanks for being a Marine Mom. Please thank him for his service.

    1. I think May the K9 spy has the right idea...LOL!

      Eating Gluten free is certainly keeping me from overindulgence of these cookie. They sound delicious!

      I will pass on your thanks to my son!

  28. This a some great information, Angela!! Thank you!

    Two questions for you:
    1. When should an author start this process? For example, I'm not quite to the point of sending out my story to agents/editors yet. Is it worth it to worry about this now? Or would it be more beneficial for me to wait until I'm further along?

    2. CONTENT. I've started and abandoned so many blogs because I just can't seem to come up with worthwhile content that's not already out there. I don't have finished books to promote yet... just a WIP and some vague ideas about the kinds of stories I will be writing as I grow as an author. I'm still learning the writing craft, so I don't feel like I have a whole lot to offer there either. Any tips for thinking outside the box and coming up with unique or interesting content for a newsletter?

    Thanks!! :)

  29. I wanted to comment in an attempt to open an alternate but related line of discussion. I value Angela's article and in no way is this comment meant to be taken negatively against her. I'm a wannabe author, so I'd be thankful to find out if I'm completely off the mark on my opinion.

    Here it is: I don't enjoy receiving author newsletters. You might say, well b*tch, don't sign up for them then. Here's the thing, authors often promote contests where you can get a free book but in order to be in the hat, you have to sign up. Sometimes, I'm weak and I sign up in hopes of the author's book. But then I get newsletters either daily or weekly or bi-monthly and all they include is a list of their books and summaries. You know, I even think monthly is too much. I guess it would make a difference if you truly had something interesting you wanted to share about yourself or if you were really (and truly) trying to make a connection with ME! the individual and not a blind mass list. Otherwise, I find them annoying. If the newsletter included exclusive, whimsical details about what was happening in their life, I think that would be a fun way to promote yourself as an author. At the bottom of your newsletter, you could include current information about your current book and a link to your back lists.

    What I can say is that when I was spontaneously signed up for author's book, I was interested in getting to know more about them, but after receiving their auto-email blasts, I'm now completely turned off because it feels like a hard sale and it usually includes data found on their social media sites. I'm rambling. I'm sorry.

    I'm not meaning to offend anyone. Personally, if you want to do a mailing list and if the publisher deems that important (in which case, I'm screwed) then go for it, but I was hoping here for a frank discussion about the alternate view on mailers.

    Am I unusual, compared to ya'll? Is everyone here a supporter of mailers because you like receiving them or because the business of publishing encourages? Do you really like to receive them?! Really!

    Please no daggers. I don't mean any disrespect. If you all say you love them, then maybe I'll have to suck it up and start one--uh, someday. I don't know, actually. If an editor ask me: How many people do you have on your mailing list? I'm might just have to spit out the truth--zero.

    1. The great thing about what you shared Anne is that you know what kind of newsletter you do not want to send out. Design one that you would like to receive :)

      Newsletters come in all varieties. We are all mostly learning...and sometimes what we try doesn't work. I would greatly appreciate a reader giving me feedback(kindly). Its invaluable to know what our readers like.

      I have from time to time cleaned up my subscriptions and unsubscribed from those that dont work for me. Thats ok. Hopefully you'll find some you like, some with good inspiration for when you do start your newsletter.

  30. Texas Teacher Anne commented and I can see it on my phone but can't see it here.

    Basically, she said she doesn't like newsletters. I'm going to give it a minute to show up here and then look in the spam box before I comment.

    Anne, we do not throw daggers in Seekerville.

    Stand down! LOL

  31. It did go into the spam box. So I fished it out. :)

    Dear Anne,

    This response is from me and I welcome others to give their kind and heartfelt response.

    I hear where you are coming from.

    There are actually three things that come to mind that I believe I should mention.

    Two are not so obvious. The third is.

    1. Authors have a product. In the old days the publisher was responsible for marketing that product. Now we are. If we are unwilling to market our product it may have an effect on our relationship with our publisher.

    If we independently publish it definitely has an effect on our publisher. US!

    The first thing a publisher or agent will look for is your platform. If you will look in the archives under Sue Brower, you will see a discussion she has regarding this.

    I won't go into detail regarding social media and authors, as this would be an entire blog post, but suffice to say for many of us it is a necessary and required part of doing business.

    2. I think you need to know that for most mid-list authors, we are making about a buck an hour as a writer. Or less. We get a small amount of books from our publisher to promo. Or we get a digital copy to promo. Anything outside of those parameters comes from our pocket. Mailing costs are from our pocket. Gift cards, or any other swag is coming straight from our pocket book. We give away books and swag for two reasons: to say thank you to our readers for reading our books and to encourage you to try our books. This means signing up for our newsletters, and following us on social media-note that many writers actually enjoy engagement on social media. For others they do it because they must.

    BTW, in Seekerville additionally we do giveaways as part of our mission to help writers on the journey to publication. Note we have no sign up for newsletters. Hurrah.

    3. I too find many newsletters annoying. Many. However, I find many to be a ray of sunshine and an exciting glimpse into the backstory and future releases of authors whose work I covet.

    Newsletters are very subjective. What you love, others hate.

    And of course you know, the best way to avoid newsletters is to not sign up for them and simply buy the author's book.

  32. Some of my favorite newsletters are from these authors- And this is just off the top of my head-there are many more but I am having a brain fart.

    Rachel Hauck
    Lee Child
    Laura Griffin
    Kristan Higgins
    Terri Wilson

  33. Now. Megan. Now.

    The reason most blogs fail is because they lack these things.

    1. A mission statement

    2. Continuity.

    3. A plan

    Copyblogger.com is your friend and resource.

  34. Thanks for the list Tina!! I'm going to look some of those up... especially Lee Child now ;)

    I can echo SOME of what TexasTeacherAnne said. There are times when I feel like the weekly (sometimes daily) newsletters are more just spam than anything beneficial. Those, however, I usually quickly unsubscribe from. There are others, though, that are just fantastic! I personally look forward to Randy Ingermanson's monthly E-zine for example.

  35. Oo! I'll look up copyblogger for sure!

    The other big thing for me is time constraint. When I get a few minutes of time, I usually would rather be writing on the WIP... haha :)

    1. In my opinion, more important than frequency is consistency. Tell your readers what to expect up front then they won't get surprisrd or disappointed..at least not in how often it hits their inbox :)

      I'm with you...I would rather be writing a story!

  36. Newsletters are tricky.

    I want to learn more about my favorite authors and even new to me authors BUT it's easy to get overwhelmed by too many newsletters and not enough time!

    As a reader/blogger, I enjoy reading about new releases (even cover release or announcement of a release date), deals, contests, and short snippets about the author's everyday life. Personally, I would much rather receive a newsletter when there's NEWS, instead of filler to get a newsletter out weekly or even monthly.

    Monthly or quarterly giveaways and first to know exclusives for subscribers are added incentive to stay on the list. I have no idea how many author newsletters I'm subscribed to but I know there are always about 20-30 in my inbox each morning. You can bet I use my powers of scanning over each one in a very speedy fashion to get on with my day!

    I do linger over authors like Julie and Mary who have recently sent excerpts which I happily indulged in (even though I'd already read those delightful tidbits before... probably more than once). So, well done to Mrs. Lessman and Mrs. Connealy for sucking me in EVERY TIME! :D

  37. Angela, welcome back! And thank you for these great ideas. I especially love #6! I would love to send readers somewhere else to answer a question--maybe my FB page. Although not everyone is on FB, so maybe sending them to my blog would be better. That might actually give my blog a little action. :)

  38. Beth Erin, thanks for your suggestions! It really helps to hear from readers/bloggers.

  39. There-in lies the rub for all of us. So you are preaching to the choir, Megan.

    Social media time? 2 am - 4 am.

    Who needs sleep? We are super authors.

    There is a myth about balance. It is a myth.

    Big name --or bigger than me--pay people to do their social media. To be them on social media. to do newsletters. They pay people to market them. Their publishers pay people.

    So when you see a big name in Seekerville their publisher asked us to host them or they are such sweethearts they volunteered because they want to give back.

    Such sweethearts include -but again I am shampooing carpets today-my reward for finishing a proposal, so may be in a chemical fog- anyhow include-Rachel Hauck, Terri Blackstock, Irene Hannon and Dani Pettrey.

  40. Texas Teacher Anne, there are newsletters I don't enjoy either--usually for me it's the ones that come too often. I stay on the list for the ones I like and unsubscribe to the ones I don't. I think that's why I'm always so nervous when I send out a newsletter! LOL I want to make it worth the readers' time. I like to add something...a personal photo or snippet about my life, a recipe, or a link to something I think they'll enjoy.

  41. Let me say that one I always enjoy is Mary Connealy's because she almost always makes me laugh out loud. Her newsletters are just like her in person: funny.

  42. Lee Child has a newsletter? I didn't know. Thanks for the info, Tina!

    TexasTeacherAnne, I don't sign up for many newsletters because I don't have time to read much extra input after work emails and Seeker emails. :) But that's okay. Neither of us have to "do" newsletters.

    But, as Tina mentioned, I should have one so I can connect with readers. And I love to connect so it shouldn't be a problem. I'm sure I'll love creating one...it's just this thing called time...there's never enough time.

    Ah, Tina, you make $1 an hour? I was hoping to be at the $.25 level. LOL! Perhaps I should do the math, although I am so NOT a math person. :)

    Rambling, which isn't good. Must get back to my WIP!

  43. Throwing out a question to all newsletter readers...

    What do you like? Inside stuff? Recipes? Photos? Anything unusual we might not think of adding?

  44. Angela, I don't know Wheatfields. Doesn't sound like a good store for a gluten-free gal! :)

    Is it a local grocery chain? You're in NE, right? Maybe they're not a Southern store! Wonder if they sell grits. :)

    BTW, KC mentioned your military hero son! Yes, please thank him for his service! God bless him and you! We're very pro-military here. Two Seekers served and another is an Army wife.

    1. Whestfields is a restaurant/ bakery here in Omaha. Have to stay away from most of their stuff, but they have a fairly good choice of Gluten free.

      I will pass on your thanks to my son. So very proud of him and his choice to serve!

  45. Let me say that I have mail chimp and have never sent out a newsletter. BAD AUTHOR.

    Anne, sign up for my newsletter. I never send out newsletters. lolol

  46. Angela, can I make a template and use it for each newsletter? That should save time, right?

    1. You can. If you have a standard format that would make it simple. In Mail Chimp its really easy click and drag to design. Mine changes with what I have to share.

  47. I'm NOT SURE JUST how it works but my blog, Petticoats & Pistols has all the emails of...well....of ... we have a newsletter sign up on the site. But do we also harvest the emails of everyone who comes there?
    If we do it's automatic, no person is doing it.
    However it works, we generate a list from the blog site and then each member of the site can collect those emails and invite people we KNOW have some interest because they've visited and invite them to subscribe to our newsletter.
    Every couple of years, I get those names and invite them all, and if they're already subscribed they don't send, or I get an error message to tell me they're already a subscriber.
    The rest go out and I can watch the results and see who says yes or no and the ones who say no don't get bothered again.

    Also I just got a big boost in my newsletter from some thing Bethany House did, like a contest that needed you to give your email and be willing to be invited to subscribe to the authors sites.

    I got a lot of names from that.
    I've got about 2500 subscribers and I'd sure like to have 100,000. But that is a long way from happening.

  48. There are so many good tips in here, Angela. I have Constant Contact and have to pay for it and I have second thoughts all the time when I see the nice newsletters that come from free sites. :(

    1. Just remember, though, free is for lower numbers. Even Mail Chimp you pay eventually. Sounds like from the numbers you mentioned you would already be at that point. So if you're happy with end result, you're in a good place :)

  49. MISSY, you're welcome!

    If there's one thing I learned at CFRR, it's this: the walls between readers and authors need to come down! I think we can all benefit, encourage, and bless one another. Although y'all did look awful pretty up on those authorly pedestals, your beauty shines even brighter now that I see each of you as beloved sisters in Christ (with mad writer skills) [there I go again, getting teary and emotional over CFRR] *GROUP HUG*

    Actually, I believe I was mistaken about Mary sharing an excerpt in her newsletter, that was on her blog BUT I did recently sign up for her newsletter and it stuck in my mind because the subscription confirmation was so Mary (and therefore I loved it!) Here's what it said:
    Thanks for subscribing!
    Stay up to date with my latest releases and Mary Connealy News!
    (okay, chances are there'll be no news. I live a quiet life behind a keyboard)
    Brilliant!!! Now, when I do get a newsletter from Mary, I'll be chomping at the bit to read what happened! You're good, Mary... so very good!

  50. Seekerville is email harvest free!!!!!

    And we are organic.

  51. Angela, this is so opportune for me because I keep meaning to start a newsletter list, and then I write books instead.... not that writing books is a BAD thing... but I need more connectivity!

    I need to talk with folks via e-mail more, and have fun with them.

    Thank you so much for this, and I will try to learn Mail Chimp and try to do well and try to behave.

    But until I do that, I did make pumpkin muffins with streusel topping for today!!! And we have fresh coffee and sweet tea.... so good stuff is happening!

    1. Ruth, you'll have fun when you start connecting. And Mail Chimp isn't that hard to learn :)

      I think I'll have some of that coffee. Thanks for bringing it along!

    2. Ruth, you'll have fun when you start connecting. And Mail Chimp isn't that hard to learn :)

      I think I'll have some of that coffee. Thanks for bringing it along!

  52. Texas Anne, I hear you.... I only subscribe to a few newsletters because I don't take time to read them so why clutter the in-box?

    But I take time to order the author's books, and in the end, I'm accomplishing the goal they set out: to gather ye readers as ye may!

    And Tina's right, there was a time when publishers made contact with readers and authors had more writing time, but that's a luxury that's gone by the wayside.

    I should do a newsletter. I KNOW THIS.

    And yet another book topic will catch my eye and I'll think: I need to write that story!!!

    And so I write a story in lieu of a mailing.

    I'm okay with that, but the guilt of not having a newsletter plagues me.

    Then I EAT CARAMEL OR CHOCOLATE and the guilt recedes. :)

    There are only so many hours in a day, and part of the joy of writing is to write... so I opt that way daily.


  53. I was fortunate that my old yahoo list gravitated over to mail chimp. I like the ease of offering sign up with main chimp, and the learning curve wasn't bad at all. I made a few headers for my newsletters so they match my social media.


  54. ]\p/;p
    \p \ohp for\ heaven
    p sake\s I'm abysitting and my granddaughter keeps H|ELPING |M


  55. Angela, I'm determined to try it.

    Or make my beautiful daughter try it and pay her for her time.

    That's a win/win because she loves doing things like that, and I love writing!

    This could solve my problem, Angela!!!!

    1. When you have resources like that...go for it! My son alwsys said "google it!"

  56. Giggle, Mary I was worried there for a second but glad to hear your granddaughter is already learning to write! :)

    Angela, these are super great tips! Thank you! All things social media stress me out.
    Ruth, does your daughter like doing volunteer projects? You know...say to writers who stress over all things social media? ;)

  57. Angela, so you think it's better to change your newsletter's look with each mailing? Sorry, I do need tutorials! :)

    You're so very patient! :)

    1. I keep the same header. I just adjust content. Like during my book launch, I have more graphics and links. Otherwise, I do try and keep it simple. For example, With the click and drag design, its easy to insert an image if you want (maybe book cover reveal) when you might not normally have an image.

  58. What would my main character do to come up with a way to promoter her email list?


    Well one heroine is completely fantasy so I don't think she even knows what an email list is. The other will have to find a way to escape the magical world she is trapped in and get back to our sweat world of technology before she can even start doing anything, but I suppose she could send people on her list cool pictures from said fantasy world she is trapped in, like of a dragon, or castles, or pirate ships, or even a dark lord or two.

    Interesting post, please enter my name for the drawing!

  59. Cheryl I had a Yahoo Group/Newsletter for years.
    I do think I somehow downloaded that list and transferred it...somehow.
    I can't remember if I got an excel spread sheet out of it? Or somehow just transferred it to Constant Contact directly.

  60. I just do a newsletter when I have NEWS. Like a book releasing or occasionally for a launch party type thing.
    I don't think that's wrong....at least for me.

  61. What a terrific post and comment discussion!!! I've been mulling this over the past few days, so this is incredibly timely. I have a blog on Blogger which I try to update weekly. I have a couple hundred email subscribers to the blog posts, so every time I post something fresh, they get it in their inbox. I'm thrilled that these people want my blog in their email, but this isn't the same as an email list, is it? I need to invite them to subscribe to a newsletter as well, right? Not just put them on a newsletter list? If this is so, why should they, when they receive my blog posts, unless I offer something free? I know I'm inundating everyone with questions, especially when everyone is ready to quit for the day, but here's another. Blog or newsletter or both? Thank you for all the terrific insights!

    1. Meghan, you are right, you have to have permission to add them to an email list. So you need to invite them. You can put that invitation at the bottom of your blog post (with a link so they dont have to hunt for it)

      Getting them to sign up for a newsletter may include a freebie, but mostly it should be content that adds value to them and that they will not get on the blog.

      Between the 2, Newsletter for sure. You own that list. You can take those email addresses anywhere you go. So in my opinion, its more a matter of balancing the 2. Once you decide how often to send out newsletter, fill in the blanks with the blog. Find what fits for you. Timewise and content wise :)

    2. Meghan, you are right, you have to have permission to add them to an email list. So you need to invite them. You can put that invitation at the bottom of your blog post (with a link so they dont have to hunt for it)

      Getting them to sign up for a newsletter may include a freebie, but mostly it should be content that adds value to them and that they will not get on the blog.

      Between the 2, Newsletter for sure. You own that list. You can take those email addresses anywhere you go. So in my opinion, its more a matter of balancing the 2. Once you decide how often to send out newsletter, fill in the blanks with the blog. Find what fits for you. Timewise and content wise :)

  62. ANGELA, Trouble in the Tree house sounds intriguing. I'll be gone Friday night. Hope others can make it.


  63. Beth Erin, I have found a way to send excerpts recently, at least to Bethany books. I'm not sure how that works with other authors.

    Thanks =glad you like the newsltttter .
    wh sje
    d sjshe
    s bacl!!!!!!!\\\

  65. Beth Erin, I could send out a newsletter more often. It'd say, "Hi, I typed.'

    That'd be about it. :(

  66. Angela,

    This is such a timely topic for me...today I'm working on our newsletter for our Antique/Art Gallery business...I don't send these too often because I'm afraid of overloading our subscribers. I use Constant Contact and so far have been happy....although frustrated at times...but ALL technology overwhelms me sometimes!! Thanks for all the wonderful tips...I see some I can use for the antique/art gallery newsletter!!

    I haven't started a newsletter as a writer. Seems like too much work right now. I'm just trying to get going on blogging again!

    I appreciate the author newsletters when they share a bit of themselves...either about their current book or home life or latest adventure. I subscribe to a local restaurant newsletter and love when they talk about what's going on, not just what's new on the menu. (Stories...stories...we all LOVE stories!!)

    Bringing Iced Tea and little cucumber sandwiches...

    1. Cucumber sandwiches sound so refreshing. Its a bit warm here today :)

    2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  67. Did you cut off the crusts on the sandwiches, Kathryn? Yummy!

  68. WOW, Angela, talk about timing!! I'm on hold with Vertical Response RIGHT NOW to buy credits so I can send out my newsletter. Sigh.

    EXCELLENT points all, and I sure wish I had read this a few days ago before I put the newsletter process in motion. Double sigh.

    One thing I learned the hard way with newsletter lists is promoting a contest or giveaway on Fresh Fiction, which garnered 4,000 extra signups for me, but when push came to shove on my newsletters, only the original 2,000 signups I already had through my website were the ones who actually responded to the newsletter, so now, I just send to them.

    What is your opinion of getting signups en masse from campaigns through promo places like Fresh Fiction?


    1. Julie, anytime we gain subscribers via contest (or even our own freebies) we run the risk of folks signing up just for that then disappearing. My thoughts (based on what I know about MailChimp) would be to create a separate list for those folks. Send out a separate campaign for just them and give those who really want to be on Your list a chance to let you know. Let them know you're cleaning up your list. Or some variety of this.

      Doing this on a couple different promotions will give you an idea if you are getting a good return on your investment or not.

  69. This is VERY helpful to pre-pubbed authors like myself who're still getting their "platform" set up and tuned. Thank you, Angela for the great ideas. I'm still a bit stumped on what to include when I don't have a book out yet. I have a blog on Blogger that I resurrected but for some reason Blogger doesn't connect to Twitter anymore (or Facebook, that I can find, but if someone knows how to connect to either of those I'm all ears), and I used to get a lot of interaction from people seeing the link on Twitter. I'm doing book reviews once a month on the blog. Other than including some interesting tidbits about my spinning and knitting of various wool and exotic fibres, and some doggie stuff for dog lovers, I haven't come up with anything spectacular to use as extra content.

    And I'm an Air Force wife so thank you to your son for serving as well. Sometimes, I think it's harder on the families than on the ones who actually do the work in the field.

    Do you have any thoughts on using Wordpress vs. Wix.com for free websites? Anyone? :)

  70. As far as connecting blogger to other spots, give this a try. Haven't used them myself (I'm on wordpress now) but looks like something I would try. A place to start anyway: http://ifttt.com/

    As far as wix vs. Wordpress, IMO, use wordpress. I have read in a post comparing website building spots that the (computer) language/format of wix is particular to them and it is difficult to take your stuff elsewhere if you decide to switch.

    Migrating a slew of stuff to wordpress can be tricky. Although I have known some who do it with no issue. Starting from scratch on Wordpress I think would be fairly easy. Blogger is great, though.You can do more than most think with Blogger.

    Anyone else have experience in this area?

    Thank you for your husband's service, too! And you're right, the ones staying home face difficulties, too. May God give you strength and comfort as you wait and support him! God bless you!

  71. As far as connecting blogger to other spots, give this a try. Haven't used them myself (I'm on wordpress now) but looks like something I would try. A place to start anyway: http://ifttt.com/

    As far as wix vs. Wordpress, IMO, use wordpress. I have read in a post comparing website building spots that the (computer) language/format of wix is particular to them and it is difficult to take your stuff elsewhere if you decide to switch.

    Migrating a slew of stuff to wordpress can be tricky. Although I have known some who do it with no issue. Starting from scratch on Wordpress I think would be fairly easy. Blogger is great, though.You can do more than most think with Blogger.

    Anyone else have experience in this area?

    Thank you for your husband's service, too! And you're right, the ones staying home face difficulties, too. May God give you strength and comfort as you wait and support him! God bless you!

  72. I've never even thought to set up an email platform, so maybe I should think about considering it. Problem is, I'm a social media turtle curled up in my shell that only sometimes pokes my head out for this blog.

  73. I so needed this topic! Thanks, Angela! I am bookmarking it. I have recently started my email list and newsletter. It's not that impressive yet. I use Mail Chimp, but realized I have to get a new email addy since I mostly use gmail. Sigh. Not what I want to do.

  74. BETH SAID: "So, well done to Mrs. Lessman and Mrs. Connealy for sucking me in EVERY TIME! :D"

    LOL, thanks, Beth -- good to know we have some "sucking" power going on or we'd be out of business, right? ;)

    ALWAYS appreciate your support, my friend!


  75. ANGELA SAID: "Julie, anytime we gain subscribers via contest (or even our own freebies) we run the risk of folks signing up just for that then disappearing. My thoughts (based on what I know about MailChimp) would be to create a separate list for those folks. Send out a separate campaign for just them and give those who really want to be on Your list a chance to let you know. Let them know you're cleaning up your list. Or some variety of this. Doing this on a couple different promotions will give you an idea if you are getting a good return on your investment or not."

    OH. MY. GOODNESS!! You are a newsletter genius!! I mean ... I knew you were by just reading this blog, but OH MY, what an absolutely STELLAR suggestion, Angela, so THANK YOU!


  76. Dana, If you have your own domain for your website, you should be able to get an email addy wherever you are hosting it. Even if you don't use it much, you'll have it for things like this. Keep after it, it will grow :)

  77. Aww shucks, Julie...Just glad I can share what I've learned :)

  78. Thanks, Angela, cucumber sandwiches are refreshing and always loved by tearoom customers...No crusts on cucumber sandwiches, Tina!! (LOL)

    Fantastic discussion!! LOVE :)

  79. Hi Angela, I'm sorry I'm so late but wanted to let you know how much I appreciate your post. What a lot of great info and I really should print it out as I haven't been good about a newsletter. sigh. And they are important.

    Looks like you had a busy day today. Thanks so much for being here in Seekerville today. We always love our guests. smile

    Thanks again.

  80. I use QR on pamphlets to my website but never thought to use one to mailchimp. Will have to try it. I'm hoping it is as easy as you say. I'm pretty hopeless when it comes to etch stuff.

    Thanks again

  81. Very Helpful! I need to buy a domain for my email as well.
    Thanks for the tips.