A couple of months ago we talked about marketing our books via our newsletter, and more recently, gathering subscribers.
Today, I’m updating because as usual, changes are in the air. Most authors I know love the idea of a newsletter and having a subscriber list in the thousands. I hear you. But composing a newsletter does not happen by magic. Moreover, building a subscriber list just got more difficult. 90 days ago, we could engage in unlimited cross promotions, the administrator of the promo collected the subscriber email addresses in an excel sheet, sent the list along to all author participants to upload to MailChimp or Mad Mimi or whomever we had our newsletter service. Those lists are termed third party generated. Mad Mimi tells me it is now disallowing third party generated subscriber lists. A subscriber must now opt directly into your newsletter. Don’t take my word for it. Check with your newsletter carrier.
Every state and every country has its own laws governing email solicitation. Does not matter the product one is hoping to sell. The mechanism for a Giveaway is the Rafflecopter. A Rafflecopter is designed as a Sweepstakes. No Purchase necessary. No one under the age of 18 may enter my Sweepstakes. All of us must abide the The CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. That’s the link. Read it. Because YOU are the responsible party when you create the Rafflecopter Giveaway/Sweepstakes. Not trying to scare you because it is easy to stay within the law. Greg Goodson, Co-founder of Rafflecopter explains it clear as bell. Read his blog.
I often see a Rafflecopter with one of the entrant tasks to download a 99c book. Extra points. Guess what? That is not a Sweepstakes. That is a lottery–and a whole different set of laws must be met. A Rafflecopter/Sweepstakes in Canada must be licensed. Yep. Canadian laws allow contests, but not sweepstakes. What does that mean? I now add USA residents only. No Purchase necessary. Must be 18 years old or older to enter/participate.
Okay, I’ve prolly bored you beyond measure. How about some of the shoddy details of mega promos in which we hope to collect thousands of subscribers. Let’s say 50 authors participate. Rafflecopter offers one winner $100 plus a basket of all 50 books. Wow. Entrants number 5K in the Rafflecopter. Next thing, all 50 authors are slamming out newsletters to all 5K subscribers. I awoke one recent morning to above 100 newsletters in my inbox. I didn’t subscribe, but somehow my email address got mixed in with the entrants in a giveaway. Horrid. I looked at each before I kindly unsubscribed instead of marking each spam. Of those 100 newsletters, only three were well composed and hit all cylinders. Many were sloppy and all were beggin’ letters offering the subscriber no value. Some were offering free short stories or novellas, but those were already free on Amazon or other sales venues or from the author’s website. This not the first time my inbox has been slammed and spammed.
Only one of those newsletters promoted colleague’s book. Erotica. Golly. I did not subscribe. Networking is so key to our success. I love promoting my colleague’s new releases, free and discounted books. And hey! If you want to see how I put together a newsletter sign up here. It is not the greatest, but it gets the job done and is respectful of my subscribers. To read earlier blogs on newsletters go here and here. Some good tips in those blogs that will generate downloads. Remember! Downloads are the goal of a newsletter.
Sharing this promotion to drive subscribers because the promotion is done right. E.B. Brown [Beth] sets up the Mega Mailing List Promotion so that entrants must subscribe directly to the individual author’s newsletter. That avoids 3rd party generated lists–which are useless for some carriers–NOT ALL. Even if you have a newsletter carrier that accepts 3rd party generated list, beware of spam. No carrier likes to see spam running at 5%. Industry standards for hard and soft bounces is between 2% – 5%. Mad Mimi culls hard bounces automatically and allows soft bounces up to five sends. After that, the subscriber is culled from the subscriber list. A soft bounce is perhaps Wi-fi service is down.
I’m Jackie Weger, founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Fabulous group of networking indie authors. Here is a heads up. Don’t take my word as gospel. Do your own research. Check things out. Do NOT assume anything.
Comment always welcome. Add to the discussion. Be nice. If you can’t be nice, be articulate. We love to learn and appreciate different viewpoints.