Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Building a mailing list

Right now, I'm working hard on two projects: finishing a new John Tall Wolf novel and building my mailing list. Writing a new book is always fun, even if it's challenging. Doing the business end of publishing isn't really fun but it keeps the revenue coming in, which lets my wife and me sleep easy at night. That and indulge in non-essentials like buying tickets for plays in Chicago.
Why build a mailing list?
Because when you have a new book to release it helps to have a ready audience of people who'd like to buy it. And how do you build a mailing list? Well, one way is to give away a free book to show you can write a good story. Then people will buy other books you've written, especially if the book you give away is the first in a lengthy series as my novel "The President's Henchman" is.
Giving away a book isn't as easy as it might sound. It helps to have good reader and mass market reviews. I've got those things, but you still have to let people know the book exists. To do that, you have to advertise. My main ad outlet is on Facebook. Since last June, I've added 2,000 names to my mailing list.
That's not bad, but the writer who introduced me to Facebook advertising has 75,000+ names on his list. Being the competitive guy that I am, I want to get to 100,000. I figure there are at least that many people who will enjoy my books. Wouldn't be surprised if there are a million. So I'm going to have to work harder to achieve my business goal.
The next question is, what's the best way to keep the readers who sign up for your mailing list? Some people suggest that you have to email the people on your list frequently. I'm very uneasy about that.
My point of view is to let people know when I have something substantive to say. I don't want people to see an email from me and think it's something inconsequential they don't want to bother with.
So what I'd like to know, from anyone who'd care to comment, is how often, or infrequently, would you like to hear from me via email? Only when I have a new book nearing completion? When I might post a free short story to read on my website? When I announce my retirement? Just kidding about that last one.
Seriously, though, I'd appreciate some guidelines from my readers. Any help you offer will be seriously considered.
Of course, email is one thing, but if I feel a need to spout on some subject, I'll just post it here and on Facebook with no advance warning.

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