Before You Publish that Book, Don’t Forget these Things

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Start a Blog – A blog can be a great way to get your feet in the door far as reaching out to an audience is concerned. The frequency to which you can publish articles on the blog can help people to become familiar with you and your writing style. I think blogs are especially important for people who aren’t necessarily known for writing (a doctor or construction worker) but they’ve decided to write a book. Starting a blog first can introduce them to the writing community (whichever community that is) and get people familiar with them as a writer. It’s one thing to enjoy doing something but it’s an entirely different thing to translate that into a language that others will understand. The immediate feedback from the blog can help writers to access not just where they are with their writing (if they can engage a group of people or not) but also help to draw out the people who are interested in what they are writing about. Blogs also provide ample opportunity to network. It is the first step in learning how to do so. By commenting on blogs, liking posts, and sharing information you are networking even if you didn’t know you were doing it.

Incorporate Blogging into Your Platform Growing Strategy – Before I move on to the next bullet point, I am not finished with blogging just yet. I think more so than starting a blog, it’s important also to make it a part of your platform growing strategy. By this I mean it may help to try to learn to blog. (Something I think we never stop learning to do!) If the blog is going to be the place where you reach and interact with people the most, make it a part of your writing schedule. Be sure to carve out a day or time where you can schedule your blog posts so that you have regularly updated content but are not neglecting your life outside the blog. You can also schedule a day where you can catch up on the blogs of others (you are following other blogs right??) and be as engaged as possible.

I like to schedule my blog posts to publish anytime around 12:00 – 1:00am CST or sometimes as late as 2:00am. This gives people on the other side of the world a chance to read the post while I’m sleeping. I can then take the rest of the day when I am up and about and read the blogs of others via my mobile. This is why I am usually re-blogging throughout the day (depending on where you are in the world). It keeps this blog updated and consistent. I am not necessarily at the computer 24/7 but by having my main blog posts (such as articles, creative pieces or poems) scheduled to go out, my time is free to browse the rest of the day. Quotes, music, reblogs, I can do all of this via my phone. As long as the long posts are drafted, edited, and then scheduled to go out, I am free.

If you’re new to this blog, go back and read How to Blog in Your Sleep, a post I wrote some time ago on scheduling your blog posts to go out when you’re sleeping. This helps your blog to work for you even when you’re not awake. Also check out How to Make Your Blog Work for You (Even When You’re Not Blogging). Don’t be distracted by the numbers if they are low. So, what. Focus on being consistent and engaging with your content and the rest will take care of itself. Celebrate every victory and measure your growth with social media not by numbers alone, but by the feedback and engagement you receive. If people are liking, sharing, and commenting, that’s a good thing and the numbers usually follow.

Website – If you have no books out or just one or two books, it’s not necessary to go all out with paying for an expensive website (especially one that that will require e-commerce when you’re not selling), but you can set up something simple to help promote yourself as an author. For more, be sure to go back and read 3 Reasons You Need an Author Website (and why it’s not the same as a blog).

Sometimes, you don’t have to spend money on a full-fledged website. Just a landing page is great for those building an email list, have no books out, have only a couple books out, or are not selling books.

Landing Pages – I forgot to mention Landing Pages in the post about author websites. I forgot all about it. Not everyone needs a full-fledged website. For some of you, a Landing Page will do instead. A landing page is just what it sounds like, a mini website or page people “land” on as a result of clicking on the link from someone’s blog or website. It is like a digital business card or mini website. Landing pages are also good for encouraging email list sign-ups.

CLICK HERE FOR 35 LANDING PAGE RESOURCES: THE ULTIMATE LIST

CLICK HERE FOR 7 BEST SERVICES FOR ONE-CLICK LANDING PAGES

Email List – I hate to beat a dead horse (poor horse) but if you are publishing a book, it’s good to have an email list. No, it’s great to have an email list! Email has been around forever and remains the best way to keep in contact with people. You would want to set up an email list the same time that you set up your blog, website, or landing pages. (You can sign-up for mines HERE. Shameless plug. Gotta love it.)

Content is a big question when it comes to the email list. I started by just sharing updates of my work (and I still do) and my writing. Other writers I know share their writing as well. Exclusives are great (everyone wants to be exclusive). So exclusive or non-published content is a great way to start. Right now I am sharing excerpts from my unpublished memoir and I am happy that my readers are enjoying it so far. We are three chapters in and I am excited to share Chapter 4. These are works that no one, not even this blog, has seen. They are just shared with my email list subscribers. You can always start by just sharing exclusives of your writings or tips you have. We all have the insight to share. You’re an expert on something I am sure.

The email list, in short, will give you an opportunity to grow your platform even more and beyond the blog. There are people on my email list who don’t follow this blog or are even online like that. The email list gives me a chance to keep them abreast of my work. The email list is also more reliable than social media accounts and blogs. In the event, you want to stop blogging, (or something goes wrong and you can’t get your subscribers back which, I’ve heard horror stories! People with thousands and thousands of followers they lost either due to transitioning to self-hosted or something else) you don’t have to lose your audience. The email list helps you to keep in contact with those who support you beyond the blog.

Social Media – Finally, once you’ve got your blog, website, and email list, set up your social media handles. Your Facebook or Twitter or IG accounts. You will feed the content of your blog to these for more exposure. As people share your content, you grow your platform even more. Choose a few where you get the most engagement and dedicate yourself to them. Don’t try and be everywhere, just find the one place your readers are at and where you get the most out of.

Summary:

  • Start a Blog
  • Build a Website / Landing Page / One Page Site
  • Build an Email List
  • Set up your Social Media Pages

These will help you to build a readership or at least start to. Of course, there are a gazillion other things, but this is a great start. I made the mistake of not starting out this way (I didn’t always be into the online scene like that. There was a time I didn’t even have a cell phone but that’s another story) but I know lots of people who did and they published their first book on a strong start. Their first books did very well just by doing the above. Remember, the foundation is everything. If the foundation is weak, so is everything else. Whether you’re Self-Publishing or publishing Traditionally it doesn’t matter. You will need a platform once the book is published. Don’t wait until you publish the book, do all of this before you publish. Start out strong and finish likewise.


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I’ve put together a Promotional Website for The Nora White Story, my soon-to-be-released novel series. CLICK HERE to discover the launch schedule and everything you need to know about this project. My email list subscribers already know about it. Wanna get first dibs too? CLICK HERE TO SIGN-UP FOR MY EMAIL LIST. I am sharing my memoir, writing updates, and more. Thanks a ton!

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How the WordPress Blog Subscription Works

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I’ve seen an increase in people who follow this blog outside of the blogosphere (*Waves!*) which basically means they aren’t active on blogs. They aren’t on WordPress, or Blogger or any other blog platform but do follow me through email. For this, I think it’s important to explain some WordPress basics. After all, it wouldn’t be fair not to show everyone around the place. Yes, please have a seat. Coffee?

When you follow someone’s blog, you do this in one of two ways. You either follow them through the Reader—your “Timeline” of sorts where you can read the posts of those you follow when you log in—or you can follow that blog through email. This means you will get an email every time they publish a new blog post. This button is usually located on the blogger’s sidebar (or slide-sidebar) and says, “Click to Follow this Blog and Receive Notifications Via Email”. (For bloggers, you can add this button to your blog by going to WP Dashboard > Appearance > Widget > Follow Button. There are two so make sure it’s the one that says under it “Add an email sign-up form to allow people to follow your blog”. Click and drag to the sidebar.)

The best place for this button is as near to the top of your sidebar as you can get it. I wouldn’t put it at the bottom. If your theme is set up that way (where most of the side-bar elements are at the bottom), I would change the theme. If people are lazy, they may not see your button and therefore you increase the chances of them not following your blog.

Adjusting Your Settings

If you opt to receive notifications of new post by email, it means you will receive an email every time that blogger publishes a new blog post.

Some of us post frequently. We are usually the bloggers who publish on the hour, every hour or every single day. Some may refer to us as “Powerbloggers”, or just those crazy people over there who spend unfathomable time blogging. You know, those people with the audacity to spend more hours blogging than you do at work.

We are also usually the bloggers who are very active and supportive of other blogs with little patience to be told when and when we should not write. Yea yea, “Quality vs. Quantity”. We get it, but we’re still going to blog like crazy. (What of both? Post valuable information often. Yea, I like that).

If you happen to stumble upon one of our blogs, it’s important that you take the time to adjust your settings once you’ve subscribed.

If you don’t want us invading your inbox, you can just adjust your blog settings so that you receive emails whenever you want. In other words, configure your blog’s subscription options.

The easiest way to do this is that when you get an email click on it and at the very bottom of the page, in the footnote area, look for Modify your Notification Settings or it will say “Manage Subscriptions”. Click that.

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A page will come up with a list of all the people you’re following. You will see something that says “Delivery Frequency”. This is the frequency to which you will receive that blogger’s blog post. Immediate means it will be delivered to your inbox immediately, in real time. If this blogger posts a lot you may not want to get their posts immediately. If this is the case, you can change your frequency to daily or weekly and get the posts once a week or once a day instead of every hour.

Blog vs. Email List Subscriptions

Some people use their blog and email list simultaneously. That is, they use their email list to inform readers of new blog posts. When they deliver a new email via their list, you will also get their latest blog posts. However, subscribing to someone’s email list / newsletter and subscribing to their blog are two different things.

When you hit that Subscribe to This Blog button in my slide-side bar, you are opting to receive emails from this blog every time I publish a new post. When you sign up for my email list or newsletter (through the pop up alert or just by clicking on the link), you are opting to receive my email newsletters. These are not blog posts and are not from WordPress. These are emails sent once or more a month to my list of email newsletter subscriptions. Usually, a person’s email list is hosted through one of these:

  • MailChimp (Most popular because the free version lets you send up-to 12, 000 emails to a maximum of 2,000 people a month before an upgrade is needed).

But MailChimp is not the only program for building an email list. There’s also:

  • Campaing Monitor
  • Infusionsoft
  • Sendinblue
  • Active Campaign
  • Zoho Campaigns
  • Pinpointe

And the list goes on and on. The point is that if you’ve subscribed via any of these, you’ve subscribed to that person’s email list, not their blog.

I hope this is helpful to those of you who are new to the blogosphere and that it will be beneficial to your navigation. I do post frequently so if you don’t want me bombarding your email, you can always adjust your settings. This goes also for those of us familiar with WordPress but who do not like getting lots of email notifications of a post from those to which we are subscribed. Lots of bloggers complain about getting lots of emails. This is unnecessary stress considering you don’t have to stay subscribed to that blog nor do you have to receive notifications immediately. You can always just modify your settings.


Yecheilyah Ysrayl is the YA, Historical Fiction author of The Stella Trilogy, Blogger, and Poet. She is currently working on her next book series “The Nora White Story” about a young black woman who dreams of being a writer in The Harlem Renaissance movement and her parent’s struggle to accept their traumatic past in the Jim Crow south. “Renaissance: The Nora White Story (Book One)” is due for release spring, 2017. For updates on this project, sneak peek of chapters, the pending book cover release, and full blurb for this series, be sure to subscribe to Yecheilyah’s email list HERE.

Email List – Book Promotions

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I really wanted our Throwback Jam to be my last post of the day, but I couldn’t (not) tell you this.

I mentioned once before that I am starting to promote books in my email newsletters or email list. After drafting tomorrow’s 31st Issue (which I am very excited for you to receive in your inboxes. It is literally LOADED with the information you WON’T find on this blog!), I thought I should go ahead and spread the good news. My emails go out on the 18th of every month and I didn’t want you to be left out!

If you’re an Indie Author and you’d like a little bit more exposure for your books that you don’t have to pay for, I have added a Book Promo section to my emails. It includes the author’s Book Cover, Link, Blurb, and a brief endorsement from yours truly. Now, for me to properly endorse your book, of course, I must have read it. For this reason, promoted books are books I’ve reviewed.

However, I am willing to make an exception for those who’d just like more eyeballs on their work. All you should do is send me your book cover, link, and blurb. Of course, you’d have to also sign up for my email list if you want to see how your book is displayed because it will otherwise kind of defeat the purpose (Subscribers receive a free copy of Beyond The Colored Line, the most famous of the Stella books. Though Book Two, it can be read as a standalone and its yours free).

Books I’ve reviewed I will be able to pretty much brag about whereas books I have not reviewed I can only go so far. For this reason, please ensure your book cover art is decent enough for me to have something to promote if I have not read your book. No, my covers aren’t all that, but they are decent. That’s all I ask. I’m being picky about the covers because everything I represent is, at the day’s end, a reflection on me. I am asking that you give me something that won’t embarrass us both and that will increase the chances of your book cover being clicked on and your book, bought. Excellence is a priority.

You’re probably wondering what I can do for your book?? I’m pretty open about the method to my madness and I can tell you no, it is not a guarantee that people will click on your book cover and purchase your book (is it ever?). However, I will say for now that my email list is modest. This means that I can guarantee you that your book will not get lost. I can guarantee you that your work will be seen and that my readers are pretty darn supportive of what I recommend, many of them asking me what’s next on my reading list (I love them!). While there’s no guarantee, visibility is always a good thing.

I’m doing this because I know how hard it is for Indie Authors and I want to do my part. That’s why it’s free. In return, I only ask that you subscribe to my list. (Real partnerships benefit both parties). It will also help you to benefit from the promotion if you can receive the emails as well.

  • If you’d like me to promote your book to my list, please subscribe to my email list Here. And send your book cover, blurb, and link to yecheilyahysrayl@literarykornerpublishing.com
  • If you’d like to take it a step further and have me to review and promote your book, please register your work Here. I will review your book info and inform you on whether or not I agree to review the book.

Disclaimer: Please read through my Guidelines carefully before subscribing to my email list specifically for Book Promotion. While I’d love your support of my email list, I don’t want anyone to feel some kind of way if I have to decline your book. It will do us both a disservice for me to review books of which I am not truly invested.

Note that registers from this point will go into the 2017 year since I am already backed up. Usually, reviews post to this blog every Friday but I’ve had to push them back a bit because my family is planning a camping trip and we won’t be home next week. BUT, for those of you who signed up, I’m good on my promises and I will get them out (I’m going to push to publish one next week before we leave, time permitting. I have at least a few to get out before this year ends). Basically, if I agreed to review your book, I will do so, period. Word is bond.

Refocusing – Book Production Updates

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Morning!

You may have noticed I’ve been posting less frequently this past couple of weeks. I’d admit. I’ve been so into research of the industry that I’ve lost focus a bit on how I do things. So concerned about how it’s done that I’ve neglected my way of getting it done. You’ve been off focus Yecheilyah (Yes, I talk to myself, doesn’t everyone?) Now that I’ve disciplined myself, it’s time to refocus.

So, here’s what’s going on guys.

As you all know I’m writing a two-part novel series and I am approaching that six-month pre-release time. My hope is to launch Book One of The Nora White Story between June and July of next year. Though I haven’t decided on a date, I am putting together a plan that will help me to focus on execution. My husband says I suck at multi-tasking which takes someone who knows me well to see considering the load I carry.

The truth is I can only get away with doing so much due to maintaining a level of balance and by balance I mean deadlines and dedication. For instance, I host an online radio show every Thursday evening with a queue sheet that needs to be sent to my panel no later than Tuesday evening or Wednesday morning at the latest. These are deadlines I’ve given myself. That’s because I know myself and how much I need deadlines to keep me focused and as the excitement of another book release begins to creep in, I’ll be shifting my efforts to ensure everything is in its proper place.

I’ll admit something else too. I don’t like to reveal too much of what I’m doing during the writing and publishing process! At least not until I’ve met a certain goal. The reason is because I believe there are forces out there that are against us just as there are forces that are for us. I do not then think it is wise to reveal your plans or at least not everything that you’re doing. As I am refocusing I’ve noticed that my level of discretion is in need of a tune up so I won’t be divulging every detail but I will let you in on a little something-something!

  • Return on Time

The first thing I am focusing on is time management and ROT. We’ve all heard of Return on Investment. A high ROI means you receive a gain that is well worth the investment. Taking the ROI understanding and applying it to time, although I cannot foresee the details of the future I can take advantage of the time I am given in each day to dedicate toward some of the production work for this book. What I want to implement is practical tactics and execution that will produce a valuable gain from having put in the work, such as the completion of my work by the deadlines I set forth.

As of now, I’m thinking about things I can do to increase interest in the book (that I’ll implement later) that won’t be just a waste of time and resources. I truly believe hard work pays off and let’s just say it’s time to grind! Once I settle on a release date and announce that date, I do not intend on changing it, and if I manage my time right, I shouldn’t have to.

Speaking of release dates, I have my first real update for you!

December 2016

  • Book Launch Date
  • Book Cover Release
  • Matching Social Media Banners
  • Blurb

This is all tentative but if everything falls into place I’ll have a book cover and blurb to promote as early as December to accompany the decided launch date for next year. I’ve chosen to do this for several reasons, one of them being it’s different than how I released my other books and that’s what I love about Independent Publishing. With every book are new experiences so I love experimenting with different things. I also really want to have certain things done before I start promoting a release date. It’s important to me to have the Book Cover and blurb to go along with the date. This way the visual representation and a full idea of what the book is about will keep things exciting!

  • Guest Blog Posts and Email List

I enjoy blogging (*Waves to new subscribers, by the way!*) and consider it an important part of my work so of course, I’ll still be here but you should expect the number of posts to decline. (By decline I just mean I’ll be posting once or twice a day or every other day instead of my usual outrageous posting behavior). Instead, I intend to guest post on as many blogs as I can so I won’t be entirely out of the loop. As part of my refocus initiative, I am also dedicating time to building up and adding more value to my email list.

  • Book Reviews

Book reviews will commence. I know I’ve missed a couple weeks but I’ll have another author for you Friday. Those of you who submitted your book for a review I thank you for your patience. I’ll be reading and writing reviews as part of my refocus initiative so I should be churning them out more consistently. I do read a lot but that also includes my scripture studies (can’t neglect the word!) so I have to balance my time. If I haven’t responded to you yet no worries, I got them all and am organizing them to be read in the order in which they were received.

(P.S. I have a surprise, guess what’s coming back Friday? Black History Fun Fact Friday! Friday, I am officially bringing back this segment. Our first story is a group of beautiful women that not a lot of people know about. Their story is, well, something. You don’t want to miss it).

7 Common Sense Reasons You Should Build an Email List

  1. Direct Communication

Many Indie Authors don’t see the immediate need for an email list until after a book is born. That’s because after a book is published we come to see the pertinent role emails play in driving traffic to our blogs, websites, and increasing revenue. According to The Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300 percent return on investment (ROI) for businesses in the USA and according to The WordPress Beginner Guide, in our business, email lists get 10 times higher conversions than social media campaigns. One reason is because of direct communication. Also known as Electronic Mail, e-mail has been around forever as a way to directly communicate over the web.

While it’s unrealistic to think all (place number of subscribers here) of your blog followers are going to be reading your content and providing feedback, the hope is that at least half of them are. How do you know? Sure, someone may like your blog post and comment but that’s not a genuine system of measurement. A blog can have lots of followers with only a handful of views or lots of views and only a handful of feedback, and so on down the rabbit hole that is blogging. But then, ahh but then!

But then there’s the email list. Briefly, the email list is not the same as someone subscribing to your blog. When someone follows our blogs via email, they are opting in to receive email notifications of new blog posts. This is not an email list. This is someone following your blog. An email list is literally a list of email addresses and names of people who are highly interested in your content and thus gave you permission to add them to your list. The good thing about the blog is that many of those same blog subscribers can easily turn into email list subscribers. The email is essential for gazillion reasons but mainly, here is a direct line of communication. You can even monitor the open rates of your emails and see which of your subscribers are opening your mail consistently and which of them are not.

  1. Your email list subscribers are your real supporters. This means that they are the people who will actually invest money into your business

I’m not saying that the people who follow your blog or who support you already won’t support you because they’re not on your email list. I am also not saying that every email list subscriber will purchase your product(s) or open your emails. Not at all. What I am saying is that emails are personal. People get flooded with tons of emails a day and for them to give you permission to send them one is a BIG deal. How is it that some authors have people waiting for their next book? Fingers on the Buy Now button? There are many reasons but one of them that I’ve come to notice personally is the email list. I’ve noticed that many of the people on my email list are the same people who put their money where their heart is.

When people give you their email address, they are giving you permission to contact them and to connect with you on a deeper level. As a result, they are more than likely to actually purchase your next book. Not to say you should build one just for that reason, but email lists really narrow it down far as who is really true about their support and who is just doing lip service.

  1. An email list is the only communication asset that you actually own online.

I’m sure we’ve heard this a million times but its worth repeating. Of all the faith we put into Facebook, Twitter, SEO, and other things, email is the only true source of electronic communication. If all of these social networking sites come crashing down, email will prevail.   True story:

Before I really got into social media, before Facebook and before blogging I would send email shouts out to my email list of family, friends, and people who bought my books before. Many of you already know because you are one of them! Remember those days I’d email you on the release of my poetry books? Ahh, the memories.

Anywho, back to the story.

I didn’t know anything about landing pages, Lead pages,  Mailchimp or any of that. Though I’m still learning, I didn’t know a thing. Nada. Zip. Targeting those people already in my email was just common sense. It was the only way I knew to get the word out. I was green to selling books online but sometimes simplicity is wisdom. So, in not having all of the big brain marketing insight, I did the only thing that made sense: I sent promotional shouts out to my email contacts and was unknowingly doing what many email marketing services have you to pay them for.

The only difference is that I was doing it the hard way. It was  my first real stab at getting serious about my work. Once people started to email me for orders consistently (back then I was strictly paperback), I decided to create a website for the first time.

  1. Social Media is the traffic driver to your email list.

One thing I’ve admittedly not done is take as much advantage of my social media pages as I should have. Social Media is not about selling books directly, in my opinion. Obviously, we all want to sell more books online (don’t be phony, you know you wanna sell more books!) but consistently pushing buy my book links gets old eventually. Social Media is about building relationships and making connections. New relationships = visibility and reach. Visibility and reach = readership and readership is the platform.

  1. Feedback

When people subscribe to your email list they can respond to your emails just by clicking reply and give you valuable feedback. Why is it valuable? Remember, these are your real supporters. They can let you know what works and what doesn’t, helping you to create better and consistent content that targets your audience interest.

  1. Every Successful Business Has One

Name one successful business, entrepreneur or otherwise, that does not have an email list opt-in or use the old fashion style of emailing in some capacity, in general? I’ll wait. There are two reasons for this that I’ve identified in my experience dealing strictly with emails (again, before I got into social media and blogging):

#1: Email is the best form of marketing. It’s low-cost and allows companies to easily and effectively spread information about their products and services, both to existing customers and potential ones.

#2:  Our email subscriber list is the real deal. It lets you know if your business is growing or not and for Independent Authors this is massively important. Of all of the Facebook Friends, Twitter Followers, IG followers, AND blog followers your email is the truth. Why is it the truth even more so than your blog numbers? Because its targeted. Meaning, these are the group of people who are specifically interested in your content. Really interested. They didn’t just follow your blog but they took it a step further and subscribed to your personal email list.

If I had 8,000 Twitter Followers (which I don’t lol hee hee), and 1,000 email subscribers, you know what? My real number is closer to that one thousand! This isn’t to say the 8,000 aren’t genuinely interested but that these one thousand are highly likely to support versus the 8,000 because they are already tuned into the content on a personal level. You can even break it down further when you  look at open and click rates. If 1,000 people are subscribed but only 500 open the emails on a consistent basis  then those 500 are even more likely to support. But…

It’s less about the open and click rates and more about the conversion rates. That is, how many of those supporters have we converted into buyers, and how can we  aim our marketing strategies and focus toward the activities that’s going to not just increase open and click rates, but also generate revenue. Again, this isn’t to say its all about the money (because its not, its actually all about the relationship and connection) but keeping this in mind will remind you why you should never buy an email list. Apparently that’s a thing? I didn’t even know what buying an email list was but apparently instead of building a list on your own you can buy one. I’ve even read that you can rent email lists! That’s just lazy. Click Here to learn more about buying email list and why you shouldn’t because I’m getting a headache just thinking about how stupid that is.

But I digress…

So you see, email also makes it easier to track interest and thus, create relevant content:

“According to research conducted by the Direct Marketing Association, 93% of email users have opt-in relationships with a consumer brand, as opposed to 15% on Facebook and 4% on Twitter (according to Chris Brogan, president of New Marketing Labs).”

The point is that email lists remain one way to make it easy to gauge the reach of your support system. Interestingly enough, with all of the advice (and carefully strategic opinions) out there I’m surprised there isn’t more talk concerning how to build and maintain the email list.

  1. An email list gives you the opportunity to connect with people who are not active online or who are technologically deficient

“It’s true that email is fighting with other services for online communication, but it is still ubiquitous in a way that other social media networks are not. If you want to reach the majority of your audience, email is still the safest bet.”

– Smashing Magazine

I talk to my husband all the time about the differences in how I saw technology when I was just a student in Chicago versus being an adult running my own business. Back then Facebook didn’t exist, (Myspace didn’t even exist!) and I didn’t know anything about blogs. Granted, I’ve taken computer courses but although I enjoy technology, I was at a time in my life where I wasn’t into the social media thing. It was just a different world for me on so many levels. However, even though that was years ago, I am always surprised to discover how many people are still not into social media.

Aside from updating their Facebook posts, you’ll be surprised to discover that a lot of people are just unaware of how to browse the web in its basic form, and not just browse the web, but are aware of its many uses. This is where your email list can make a huge difference. Back in the day when I didn’t know much about the online scene one thing I did have was email. It was a big thing back then and guess what? It still is!

“It’s worth noting that people tend to be members of multiple social media websites simultaneously, with varying degrees of involvement, but they usually have only one or two active email addresses. The email address remains the unique identifier online; you use it to log into almost everything, so it would take a lot for it to become obsolete.” (Smashing Magazine)

People who don’t spend their lives on Facebook, Twitter, and other social outlets will have an email address for sure. (I’ve also found that people who are not online are more interested in getting hardcopy, paperback books as well as opposed to digital. It’s always wise to have your books in both formats).

Well, I am off to find something else to do but I sure do hope these tips have helped you. So, go on. Start that email list!

But wait, EC I’m not an expert…

Secret #1: Worried about what to include in your email list? Don’t! You don’t have to know EVERYTHING. No one person knows everything but we all know in part. If you’ve ever been good at something or done something that got you positive results, then you’re an expert at that thing and don’t let any so-called professional tell you any different. Expertise just means knowing more than the person you’re targeting and no one should know more about you than you.

Tidbit: You can always just start with updates as your first few emails if you’re not sure what to provide to your list. Or you can release free exclusive chapters of works you haven’t done yet or just talk about something fun like how you got started writing. Just make sure that you’re offering something of value.

Nugget: Just like with your blog posts, compose your emails in a conversational manner and avoid “preaching to the choir”. Just be cool, calm, collective, and professional. People aren’t stupid so we don’t have to speak to them like they are. Your email subscribers are special and should be handled with care. One negative of emails is that they’ve been around so long that they are easy to ignore. People unsubscribe and delete emails everyday so when we can build an email list (no matter how small), our supporters deserve all of the value we can give them. Showcase your real self. OK wait, some of you shouldn’t do that! I mean your real polite self.  I like to keep my emails fun. At the same time, there is a level of professionalism that must be maintained as well. Obviously, we don’t want to just lose all common sense  ; )

Secret #2: As much as I didn’t want to, I recently upgraded my email. I now use my own personalized business email for my email list instead of my Gmail account. Here’s why you should too if you get the following message:

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In case you can’t see the words, it says:

“Subscribers with Gmail addresses might not receive Mailchimp campaigns with a Gmail from email address. This is because several free email providers have changed their authentication policies. “

What It Means

This means that if you’re using a return email address like Gmail or Yahoo and you’re also using an email service that has upgraded their authenticity policy (like Mail Chimp but not just Mail Chimp), Gmail and Yahoo may not allow those emails to go through because a lot of Spam users create bogus emails using Gmail and Yahoo email addresses (I know, boo). This may account for your low open rates as many people are probably not getting the emails.

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These secrets are usually reserved for my email list, but I wanted to give you the opportunity to see what you’re missing. I’m considering writing a memoir and you know what? Friday, my subscribers  received the first potential chapter! They are the first to see the unedited, raw, and uncut first chapter to what can become the book about my life (if I so decide). In fact, I’m releasing the first five chapters. (On my list? Didn’t see it? Check your email!)

I’ve talked some time ago about doing video tutorials and I’ve officially started production on my first video. I am releasing these tutorials to my email list ONLY so don’t miss out.

Just click on the image below to subscribe. You’ll be taken to my landing page where you can enter your name and email address. Easy Peezy.

Note: Entering your email means that you’re subscribing to my email list for more secrets, nuggets, tidbits, novel excerpts, sneak peeks, resources, spiritual and writing encouragement, the list goes on and on.

ATTN. I HAVE UPDATED THIS PART SINCE SOME OF THE INFORMATION, LIKE THE TUTORIAL SERIES, IS NO LONGER RELEVANT. TO SUBSCRIBE TO MY EMAIL LIST, CLICK HERE.

Newsletter, Blog, or Both?

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Authors, check out these articles. I totally agree with having both a blog and an email newsletter. Further, I think an email newsletter will outdate Facebook, Twitter, and also your blog! If these go down in any way, you always have an email list. Even though people can subscribe to the blog via email, there’s a deeper personal connection with someone via the email list. Most of the people who follow your blog probably barely read your posts. While this can be because they follow too many people to support every blog they are subscribed to, an email list really narrows it down. I also wouldn’t complain if your email list is small like mine. The benefit of this is that you’ll have a higher open rate because these are the people who really enjoy your work. They are, as the article elaborates on, your real supporters. The people who, when you release a book they will (wait for it) buy it!

If you do have an email list, pay attention to open and click rates. This narrows it down even further. Of the 100 subscribers to your email list, how many of them open the emails? This is your real number. Or even if you have 3,000 subscribers, how many open your emails and click on your links? These are your real numbers. Also, I would try not to be all “businessy” (Made up word) in your emails. Personally, I try to be as genuine as possible. Emails are personal and the people who are subscribed are people who have already read your posts, and probably some of your books too. This means they are subscribed because they are looking for something different. They want to get to know the real you. Again, they’ve already read your blog posts so there’s really no reason to recreate the wheel. Make your email list feel special. Oh and another thing, email lists and newsletters are excellent for people who are not into technology! They may not like your FB,  follow you on Twitter, or follow your blog BUT they will open your emails!

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Read The Article Here: Newsletter, Blog, or Both

Here’s another good one: 5 Reasons Every Blogger Needs an Email List

AND here’s another: The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter and Email List

Get to know the real me: Click Here.

Before The Week Ends: Quality Connections

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It’s no secret. I pretty much blog like a madwoman so I actually have days I take off, which is the weekend pretty much with only very few exceptions. And although I should really be cleaning right now, I’d like to share something before we dig in for the weekend. Something that is on my heart, and that I also think is very important both for Indie Authors as well as anyone running a business or trying to run a business. This subject matter is concerning social media connections. And as always there is the disclaimer that this post is based on my experience and is not necessarily professional insight. For the record.

I would be very careful playing the numbers game with social media. Obviously you want more interactions, but don’t get frustrated, embarrassed, or beg if you do not have lots of Twitter followers, IG followers (I am staunchly against that app where they promise you thousands of followers. I want my connections genuine)  or Facebook Likes. The reason I would not force these connections is because you just don’t want a whole bunch of people following you, but what you want is quality connections. By quality, I mean people who could really help you in achieving your goals. What is 4,000 Twitter followers worth when 3,000 of them are family members and friends? Don’t get me wrong, family is very supportive but they are also a conflict of interest. Since they’ve known you since forever and they love you so much you cannot count on them to really be honest about your work because they don’t want to hurt your feelings. They also want to see you make it, which is great, but you need more than mom and dad on your bandwagon to really make some noise.

You need a community of support that is more than just your family members. What is 2,000 email subscriptions worth when you only have a 2 percent open rate? Open rate, it’s the percentage of people who actually open your emails. This is easy to track using Mailchimp. I don’t have a lot of subscriptions to my email list personally and I love that. Not that I do not want it to increase, but I want it to increase with quality and value. For now, I’m OK with not having many email subscribers (by subscribers I do not mean to this blog, I mean to my personal email list). I enjoy the close knit family I have currently signed up (by family I do not mean blood related, I mean those who support me. I call them family because they are. If you signed up, you would be family too. Not shameless plugging, just saying) because the open rate of the emails is still in the 30-40 percentiles which are great for only about fifty or so subscriptions. This means that most of the people who are signed up are actually opening and reading the newsletter as opposed to 1,000 subscribers of which only ten are engaged.

This same thing can be true of social media across the board. I don’t spend a lot of time on Facebook and I don’t get overly excited about the numbers. The reason I don’t get overly excited is because though people are there and obviously find something worthy because they like the page consistently, the interaction is low. This I can compare to the email list. If my Facebook Page was an email list I would only have a few opens. For this reason, Twitter is my favorite place right now. It’s my favorite place not because I have tons of followers. It’s my favorite because the interactions are high. People are actually engaging and the people following me are either readers, authors, editors, or professional business people (Note to Authors: Careful befriending JUST authors. Authors are not going to buy your books, readers are).

We live in a world where people ravish in the idea of being Internet Famous. But  what we have to understand is that bragging is not branding. Having lots of followers and likes doesn’t mean anything if they are not coming from the right sources. What you want, more so than numbers is quality connections in an ethical / professional atmosphere. This means you want to leave what your sister in laws baby cousin Tracey did at the club last night out of your business accounts.