What to do when people unsubscribe from your #author email list and why it is OKAY

Let’s address the elephant in the room. Email unsubscribes. Yup. I’ll be that one. I don’t care what anyone says, if done right and if it’s your cup of tea, author email lists work. At the end of the day, everyone’s journey is different so none of us are in the position to say for absolute certainty what works and what doesn’t work for someone else.

That said, IF you are a fan of the email list (I don’t refer to them as newsletters….I prefer email list), check it.

Not everything about being an author is peachy. Email unsubscribes feel like silent rejections and sometimes confusing because you don’t always know why the person left. Unsubscribes can leave authors feeling abandoned, especially if the person was a long-time member of the list. All kinds of thoughts go through your head.

“What did I do wrong?”

“Am I providing value?”

“Does my writing suck?”

“Do I suck?”

Did I email too much? Too little? What happened?”

The good news is that whether someone leaves your email list or your blog, it is not a bad thing. In 2019, we are not taking losses, we are taking lessons and there are tons of lessons we can learn from email unsubscribes. I hope this list encourages you and motivates you to push past that feeling of confusion and rejection.

  • Don’t subscribe people to your list without their permission.

I’ve personally never done this and I don’t understand it but please don’t let this be you. There are laws against doing things like this. Never, ever add anyone to anything without that person’s permission. I don’t care if it’s a Facebook group or email list, get permission first. When you let people subscribe on their own, they can unsubscribe whenever they want and do it all without you being sued. But if you subscribed someone without their say so, you can be sure they will unsubscribe. While there’s nothing wrong with compiling a list of supporters and emailing the old school way (directly), we live in a different time. You need a track record that shows proof this person agreed to get emails from you. You need permission. It is illegal to add people to your list and email them without permission. Do not grab emails from blogs and websites. Choose an email opt-in form and let people subscribe on their own or create an opt-in form of your own using google docs but just get permission. Don’t get sued. I recommend using one of these opt in forms:

  • Mailchimp
  • Mailerlite
  • Convertkit
  • Don’t take it personally.

If the subscriber was legal, and the person decided to leave, the most important lesson you can learn from this is not to take it personally. We don’t know why that person is no longer interested, and it doesn’t always have to have anything to do with us. People have their reasons for subscribing to a list/blog and not everyone is clear what that reason is. If someone mistakenly thought your list would offer something that it doesn’t, they may unsubscribe because it’s not what they thought it would be.

  • Never respond to an unsubscribe.

Resist the inclination to ask people why they left. Unless they have reached out to you, do not send them follow-up emails. If they unsubscribed from your main list, they probably don’t want to keep receiving emails from you. Again, don’t take the unsubscribe personally. One apple don’t stop no show (and that’s grammatically incorrect on purpose), just keep grinding.

  • Quality over Quantity: You don’t have to have a gazillion email list subscribers to be relevant.

With email lists, remember it’s more so about the quality of your team. It’s better to have 30 or 40 committed people who are eager to support your work and read your books than 2,000 who won’t lift a finger to give you so much as a piece of advice. You ask a question and hear crickets. I have only about 172 subscribers to my email list. (I say email list because I don’t like to refer to them as newsletters *yawn*), and I am more than okay with this. Of course, I’d like to grow (who wouldn’t?) but I am in no rush. It’s challenging enough managing the subscribers I already have. I’ll wait patiently. Always remember quality over quantity. It’s probably easier to manage 30 or 50 subscribers than it is to manage 200 and 300 starting out.

  • Resist the urge to vent your rage on your favorite social media platform

Again, don’t take it personally. Email unsubscribes are like bad reviews that only you see. Just as it is not recommended to discuss the bad review, it is also not recommended to discuss the unsubscribe. We are all human but venting about these things on social media (this includes the blog) makes you look like an amateur. Accept this person has decided they are no longer interested in your content (for whatever reason) and move on. People come in and out of our lives for a reason and we just have to accept when the season is over. Don‘t make it bigger than it is.

  • Remove and Renew

Don’t be afraid to lose people. It may even be necessary to unsubscribe people yourself that you see are no longer interested. Sometimes people subscribe to email lists for the wrong reason. Maybe they believe they would receive something, and the emails turned out not to be what they wanted. But there will also be people who won’t unsubscribe. They’ll just ignore you and delete your emails or they may just ignore it without acting. In any event, it’s a good idea to do a good ole cleansing occasionally. Delete some people. Don’t be so thirsty for high numbers to your own detriment. If they aren’t active, it doesn’t matter, and you are deceiving yourself. Every 2-3 months I clean my list. I go through and delete people who have not been active. Have not been opening emails, clicking links, responding to questions or participating in any way. Their presence is irrelevant. I love them, but my emails are clearly not their cup of tea and they shouldn’t be forced to drink it. They must go.

  • It takes time

Writing is a business and like all businesses, it takes trial, error, consistency and time to build. We may have been born with gifts but no one was born knowing exactly how to execute them. No one woke up with the skills to hire a team or produce excellent products. Similarly, you don’t know how to manage an email list except through practice and hard work and even still people will unsubscribe.

This woman makes enough money to know what she’s talking about. If you aren’t following her on IG, you should be.

 

I used to transcribe to the same practices of some “gurus” who said to only email once a month. While I understand why you wouldn’t want to email too frequently, you have to do what works for you. It’s a personal journey first. So I followed my own path and now email whenever I have news. The truth is, it’s hard to stay connected to anyone you don’t speak to for months at a time. The email list can be an important source of support if you want it to be. Or, the email list can be just another social media account you update to tell people about your new books. *Yawn.* Truth is, there will always be someone to unsubscribe. The real question is, who cares? People unsubscribe from our lives all the time but we can’t stop working just because people leave. People unsubscribing from the list can be a blessing as it teaches us what works, what doesn’t and how to better connect with our audience. People unsubscribing from our list is not even the real problem. The real problem is learning how to connect with our audience. If we do our jobs well, we don’t have anything to worry about.

  • One door closes, one door opens

Every time someone unsubscribes from my list, someone new subscribes. That’s the fun thing about it. When one door closes another always opens. Just because a few people unsubscribe does not mean more won’t come. I’ve been successful in keeping my numbers steady because I am always blessed with a new subscriber whenever someone else leaves. When unsubscribes do happen, now I just smile knowing someone new is on their way and hopefully, they’ll find value where the other person did not. The end of one relationship is the beginning of another.

Helpful Tips:

  • Ask your email list questions to discover what they want.
  • Let your readers in a bit on who you are. Write stories, give updates not shared anywhere else, showcase your personality, e.g.
  • If possible, use a domain email address as your from address instead of gmail. Ex: yourname(at)yourdomainname(dot)com.

Reminders:

1. Don‘t take the unsubscribe personally
2. Don‘t subscribe people without their permission
3. Never vent your rage about it on your favorite social media platform
4. Quality over quantity
5. Recognize the growth that comes with removal and renewal
6. Remember that it takes time to build anything of substance
7. and that when one door closes, another always opens

For more email list building tips check out one of the most popular posts on this blog:

7 Things I Learned About Email List Building.

No Whining Wednesday – Understand and Appreciate Your Riches

Welcome back to No Whining Wednesday, the only day of the week where you do not get to whine, complain, or criticize. Click Here if you’re new to this segment for more on what this is about.

The No Whining Wednesday Badge

“If your daily life seems poor, do not blame it; blame yourself that you are not poet enough to call forth its riches..”

– Rainer Maria Rilke

Are you rich? Here’s a list to help you to find out. You’re rich if you:

  • Woke up this morning
  • Have a roof over your head
  • You ate today
  • You have someone who loves you
  • You love someone back
  • You have clean water
  • You have food in the refrigerator
  • You have someone who could give you food
  • You have a good heart
  • You wish good for others
  • Someone prayed for you today
  • You prayed for someone today
  • Someone cares for you
  • You have clean clothes
  • You have a washing matching to wash your clothes
  • You know how to wash your clothes on hand
  • You have a dream
  • You know how to read and write
  • You’re breathing right now

Understand and then appreciate your riches. Do that and you will never be disappointed. For the grateful, there is no poverty.

How the WordPress Blog Subscription Works

blog

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.

screenshot-225

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.

The Top 50 Sites for Indie and Self-Published Authors

Excellent list of resources. Comments disabled here. Please refer to original post.

Jens Thoughts

I stumbled across this fantastic resource and wanted to share with you. I’d love to hear any feedback.

View original post 93 more words

MAY You #MayChallengeDay 9-10

May you never forget where you come from

May you never forget who you are

May your trust be earned

May your love be genuine

May you listen not to reply

May you listen instead to understand

May your eyes speak integrity

May your lips echo the eyes

May you treat others, the way that you treat yourself

May you treat yourself, the way that you treat others

May you defeat fear with a smile

May you smile through the fear

May your heart be content

May contentment be in your heart

May you not complain today

May you use your time wisely

May wisdom be the orchestra of your time

May you see the beauty in every day

May today be

beautiful

5 Common Writing Mistakes That Make You Look Like An Amateur

Check out these 5 common writing mistakes! I’m so guilty of #3! Thanks to one of my dear review buddies, I was made aware of this and am now able to watch carefully of jumping into people’s heads. I mean, how does Sally know what John was thinking? lol

Check it Out Here: http://www.justinmclachlan.com/804/common-writing-mistakes/

5 Creative Ways to Headline Your Blog Post

breaking-news

They tell you the first sentence draws you in. After that the first paragraph, and then the first page. I believe however that the real first is the title of the blog post itself. While it may not be ultra extremely important, blog titles do carry weight. This is, after all, still the headline of your post when you decide to publish the article, video, quote, or whatever you are publishing today. It is the teaser that will either pull others in or scare them away. Titles are so important that some people will decide not to tune into a blog post at all because they do not agree with whats in the title (which is too bad for them. Didn’t your mothers ever teach you not to judge a book by its cover?)

Any who, the more I blog the more I learn. As I watch those with years of experience, I have learned a little about what makes for an acceptable blog post headline. Not only have a learned from watching others, but I’ve learned from paying attention to my own reading habits. Below is a list of the blog post titles that usually catch my attention.

#1. Keep It Simple Short

The blog titles that often catch my attention are those that are short and to the point. It is not a good idea to make your blog post titles too long. If posting a quote, it is also not a good idea to post the entire quote as your title. People get bored easily and do not want to read a paragraph before getting to the actual article. Instead, look at your title as if it were a tweet that must be restricted to 140 characters. Ask yourself what the post is about and what key words are important to include. For instance, whenever I write a post about self-publishing I always include Self-Publishing before the title of the post so that those Indie Authors looking for insight can easily find it. I then follow it up behind what the post is about: Self-Publishing: The Workflow, Self-Publishing: ISBN Numbers for example. Short and sweet titles are also those that don’t take much brain power to decipher. “I Hate Coffee” or “This Dumb Computer” is just as likely to attract attention. Both of these titles leads me to my next bullet point.

#2. Something Catchy!

Blog titles that are creative also catches my attention. This reminds me of a cold open in a movie script. Cold Open is a term screen writers use to indicate that you are coming in on an action scene. It is when you come in smack down in the middle of all the drama. Right when the husband walks in and catches his wife pulling her jeans on next to an unidentified figure in the bed. Its the look on his face when she pauses and scans the room as if an excuse is going to pop up in the corner. It is the camera zooming in on a street fight right at the moment when fist meets chin. Ouch. That is what catchy titles can do for readers. It makes us wonder what the rest of the article is about. For example: “Doctors Are Gods”. From the onset, you have no idea what this blog post is about. You don’t know if I actually believe Doctors are Gods, if this is a poem, or if I’m setting out to criticize the profession. In either event I know that I would want to check this post out! Even if I don’t make it through the article, if your blog post said “Doctors Are Gods” it would be enough to peek my interest and I would click on your blog to see what you’re talking about (or if you actually know what you’re talking about).

#3. Shock and Awe

People, for some reason, love drama. If your blog post is controversial or has the potential to spark a heated debate, try a title that will shock your readers into curiosity. This will guarantee some attention and strangely, the weirder the better! If I saw a post that headlined: “Homosexuals Are Taking Over The World” I’d be headed right on over to see what juicy details the blogger has included and if there is any truth there. This is also an example of a title that some may utterly ignore because it offends them. I wouldn’t worry about that. Of course its offensive, your post is controversial! And yet, lots of people will tune in to see what you have to say. Why? Because people looovveee drama! (Speaking of which, exclamation marks in a blog post title is also a good way to get readers attention!)

#4. Current Events

If your blog post is about current events, news, sports, politics, or celebrity drama, include some of that in your blog post title. The only exception here is that it is more effective if your post on current events is well, current. If you want to spark conversation over the latest news be sure to do it right when the action happens. A blog post about Rachel Dolezal would spark some fire but not merely as much as when the story first broke. Kim Kardashians nudity may be today’s distraction, but next week is a different thing. Still, there is another way to play with this: You can make your post historical in nature. For instance, this year would be the 15th anniversary of 9/11. If your post said: “Remembering 9/11” or “Looking Back: When The Towers Fell” that may attract some attention. But, if you published this post on the anniversary it will attract even more attention. Why? Because its a reminder in people’s minds. They will hear about it all day on CNN and everywhere they go. In fact, 9/11 is such a historical, life changing event that you can just title your post: “9/11” and people will tune in. This is yet another way to play with titles. What’s important to world history? Use it.

#5. Questions

And finally, I have also noticed my curiosity peeked on blog post with titles that ask questions. What better way to get someones attention than to ask them a question? This doesn’t have to mean you are actually looking for answers in the article, but it is another way to spark interest. “Is Orange The New Black?” is a creative spin on a title that doesn’t actually have to have anything to do with the TV show. Maybe its a title about race and ethnicity. Maybe it is about the TV show and has nothing to do with race. Just be creative. (Oh and when writing a post that includes a list, like this one, include that number in your blog post! People love advice: “10 Simple Ways to Clean Your Computer” is likely to get some action. Notice that I went a step further and added “Simple” so that people know this article is not just for the technologically advanced).