This episode has a metric ton of info in it. A few highlights:
Don’t worry about starting small. We all start small. Sometimes we stay small, and that’s okay too. Your email list is about reaching the people who will sign on for anything you do. Your superfans. For a while, that might be your mother.
When you choose a service provider (Mailchimp is the thousand-pound gorilla here, but Sarina uses MailerLite) make sure you don’t do anything that leaves you stuck. Point your sign-up links to a page on your own website, not theirs (they all provide an embed you can use, and then it’s an embed you can change).
How am I going to get people to sign up? First, ask. KJ (via a tireless virtual assistant) slowly and methodically emailed everyone who had ever emailed her and invited them to be on her list. Sarina’s had good luck with give-aways and free content, from a first chapter to an entire serial. To reach beyond her immediate audience, she might trade an invitation to get something like that free chapter with a fellow romance writer who also has a good-sized list.
How often should I sent something? KJ sent weekly during her book launch, and has tapered down to, well, not-weekly while she figures out how to play with her content to appeal to her various audiences (more on that in the second part of this 2-parter). Sarina sends “when I have something to say” which means both when she has a new book, or when she’s THOUGHT of something to say–for example, here’s a preview! Here’s a cover reveal! Here’s a serial!
What if I send too much and people hate me? Don’t be afraid of your list, Sarina says. When in doubt, she asks herself this memorable question: WWPBD? That’s What Would Pottery Barn Do, and the answer is, they’d send the friggin’ email, and then ten minutes later they’d send another one, and they paid somebody a million dollars to figure that strategy out. To that end, she’ll sometimes re-send an email to people who didn’t open it, and she doesn’t worry about doing too many promotions.
Hey, where’s Jess’s advice? Jess has a jillion people on her list, and she’s still kinda working on what to do with it. So she’s listening. If you’re on her list, expect to hear from her soon.