Tag Archives: writers

For Fiction Writers: How to Start Your Email List

I’ve been talking to a lot of you about book promotion lately, and I’m hearing that most of you know you could be be a lot more successful if you had a newsletter for your fans…

…but you’re not doing it.

Because you’re afraid:

  • it’ll take too much time
  • it means learning a bunch of complicated technical stuff
  • it’ll be expensive
  • you don’t think anyone will sign up

I understand. I procrastinated on creating my own email lists for months. For exactly the same reasons.

But once I was finally forced to do it…I realized that none of my fears were accurate.

So I’ve recorded a short video for you, where I show you how to create an email list in 15 minutes.

I could’ve done it in about 5 minutes, but I slowed down to be sure I was explaining everything completely.

In this video I show you:

  1. How to create a campaign (i.e. tell your service that you want to create a list for a particular purpose)
  2. How to create a signup form that asks people for their name and email address
  3. How to put that signup form on your blog or website
  4. How to set up a welcome message that each new person receives when they sign up
  5. How to send a newsletter to your list

I used Get Response, which I’ve been using for 9 months and have no complaints–their interface is simple and clear. It’s as easy to mail 400 people from my Get Response account as it is to email a friend in gmail.

I’m not recommending them and I’m not an affiliate, I’m just letting you know that’s what I use. I spent $15 a month for their cheapest plan, and I have no problem covering that from the royalties I make each month from my kindle sales.

Other writers tell me that they love MailChimp and aWeber. If you’re not sure which one is right for you, pick the cheapest one. Or ask a friend and go with whatever they’re using. The difference between the autoresponder services is not big enough to be worth stressing over if all you’re doing is emailing your readers once a month.

That brings me to the fear that it’ll take you too much time to publish a newsletter.

You want to keep your newsletter simple. Remember who you’re emailing–people who’ve already bought and read one of your books. They liked that book enough to sign up for your list. In other words, they’re already fans.

You don’t have to sell them anything.

All you have to do is keep them up-to-date. Once a month, let them know:

  • what you’re working on right now
  • what you’ve published since your last newsletter
  • if you’re giving away a freebie or running a contest or have a book deal for them

That’s it.

You can do more if you want. You can send them recipes. Or pictures of your cat. Or explain why you believe Pluto should be a planet no matter what astronomers say.

But you don’t have to. All you have to do is give them a short, sweet update. Once a month.

That’s twelve emails a year, and two-thirds of those emails will be blurbs for your latest release and your upcoming release. Which you have to write anyway.

Now, let’s talk about the fear that no one will sign up.

The standard advice is to write a short story related to your paid books, and give it away for free to people who sign up for your mailing list. That’s great advice.

But you don’t have to wait until you’ve got that story written to start your mailing list.

I just started publishing books in a new genre under a new pen name. I don’t have a story to give away yet. But I created a list on Get Response and then put the link to the signup page in both of the books that I released this month.

In the first three weeks my books were available on Amazon, 8 people signed up to be notified when the next in the series releases.

If you’ve got one book on Amazon–or you’ve got one that you’re preparing to publish right now–take 15 minutes and set up your email list. A year from now, when you get your royalty statements from Amazon, you’ll be so glad you did!

Do You Have a System for Getting Unstuck?

Last week, we talked about how systems make it more likely that you’ll achieve your goal.  Today I’d like to talk about creating systems for overcoming the obstacles that we all hit at one point or another.

In other words, systems for getting unstuck.

Because we all work a little bit differently, one size doesn’t fit all here.  What helps me might not help you.  The first step in creating your “unblocking” system is to take a few minutes to think about how you’ve written in the past. Continue reading

What’s the best way to get inspired?

get inspired get started-med-150

Know someone who could use a little inspiration?  Pass it on!

Why New Year’s Resolutions Don’t Work (and What Does)

The idea that next year could be different–that we could be different–it’s almost irresistible, isn’t it? Next year could be the year we lose that weight, get organized, and write the novel that’ll make us famous.

So many of us set ambitious goals for ourselves in December, only to drop them before the end of January. The goals we dub “New Year’s resolutions” aren’t enough.

Sure, you start with the goal. Write a novel. Or a non-fiction book. Or a collection of short stories. Or a memoir.

That’s the “what.”

But you also need to create a system to help you achieve that goal. Continue reading

Time Management for Writers: The Kaizen Approach

Have you ever set aside time for writing–maybe even blocked that time off on your calendar in pen–but then skipped it anyway?

How often do you sit down at your desk at the appointed time, intending to start writing as soon as you send a quick email–then realize you’ve spent your allotted writing time surfing the web?

You might think that you need to learn time management skills. But if you already know how to block off time on a calendar and you understand how to prioritize your to-do list, you’ve got time management skills. What you really need are some self-management skills: tricks to help you stay motivated and focused, so that you’ll actually write during your scheduled sessions.

The kaizen approach is perfect for self-management. “Kaizen” is a Japanese word that means “continuous improvement.” Kaizen is the strategy of improving a process by making small, gradual changes that support your desired outcome. You make a single change, and when that new way of doing things has become a habit, you make another change.

Because small changes only require small amounts of willpower, you’re less likely to give up than if you were to make a bigger change. For example, rather than forcing yourself to get up an hour earlier to write before work, you could start by setting your alarm clock 15 minutes earlier and you go to bed 15 minutes earlier. After a week or two, your body adjusts to the new time and you do it again, until you’ve shifted your schedule back an hour and are now used to the new wake-up time. Continue reading