SFFMP 142: Mailing List Best Practices and Finding an Editor for Your Genre

On this week’s show, the guys chatted amongst themselves, covering such topics as how their summer book launches are going, finding an editor when you write cross-genre fiction, and basic and more advanced mailing list tactics.

Here are a few of the specifics they discussed:

• Where do the guys host their mailing lists?
• Is a mailing list necessary if you’re already on social media?
• What kinds of things do you say to your subscribers?
• How often should you email your subscribers?
• Should you email twice about the same release to ensure people saw it?
• Using free books or bonus stories to encourage people to subscribe.
• What kind of open rates should you expect as a genre fiction author?
• Should you scrub your mailing list to get rid of the dead weight (people who aren’t opening messages)?
• Should you segregate your mailing list? (i.e. sort by demographics, most opens/clicks.)
• Staggering the way you promote a book launch to create more of a steady trickle of sales during release week than a spike.
• Setting up an autoresponder series.
• Including links to backlist at the bottoms of your first auto-responder email.



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  • Technologically comfortable authors should check out buying a copy of sendy and installing it on your website. (assuming you use a host like godaddy or hostmonster or hostgator).

    Sendy is a piece of software that offers many of the same features as aweber, mailchimp etc. You can send the emails themselves through your host’s mail servers, although your host will probably complain once you get a few hundred subscribers.

    You can also hook it up to amazon’s SES service. (email sending) This may sound like a lot of work to set up. That is true. However, sending an email using Amazon’s back-end service costs about 1/100 th or less what mailchimp costs. Once Sendy’s installed and set up, usage is just as easy as the getresponse/mailchimp type services as well.

    I know this totally sounds like an ad, but I have sendy iunstalled on a server that I use for my day job and my author stuff and I love it. You can install it on the same server that you run your wordpress installation on as well. sendy.co if anyone’s interested.

    I think the programmer offers installation services if you’re not interested in figuring out the technical parts..

    • SFFpodcast

      Thanks for the suggestion, Bryce! I think Jeff does something like this, and has for quite a while, and is just now getting to the point where he’s thinking of switching to a dedicated mailing list host.

  • Great episode. I love it when it’s just the three of you folks. There’s so much info.
    May I kindly request you host these informative (masterclass ?) episodes more often, please 🙂
    Thanks and enjoy your blessed weekend,

    • SFFpodcast

      I’m glad you find it useful when we blab amongst ourselves, Ethan! I’ll keep your request in mind. I guess I’m always afraid we’ll keep going over the same stuff, and it’ll get repetitive. 😀

  • Bridgett Powers

    Hello, fantastic SFF hosts! I can’t thank you enough for all the phenomenal information you bring us each week. In response to a listener question during this episode, I’m including a few links to sites that list professional editing services.

    The EFA (Editorial Freelancers Association) is a respected professional organization for freelance editors and writers. Their substantial annual membership dues provide a form of soft vetting of the members listed on their site. http://www.the-efa.org/dir/. Authors can browse their list of members or advertise specific jobs with them. The site also provides a chart of industry-standard rates for freelance editors
    and writers. http://www.the-efa.org/res/rates.php .

    The Christian Editor connection lists well-vetted professions, most of whom do not limit their services to the Christian market. Members must pass a test for each type of editorial service they wish to advertise. https://christianeditor.com

    Joanna Penn also provides a list of recommended editors at https://www.thecreativepenn.com/editors/. I don’t know whether these have been vetted or in what way.

    I hope this information is as helpful to my fellow authors as your podcast has been to me. Please be assured, this is not intended as self-promotion, which is why I’m not including my editing service website.

  • Hey! Awesome episode! It gave me so many ideas for my novels.

    Anyhow, I was coming here to comment on the same thing Bridgett did. In addition to the EFA, I would recommend the Society for Editors and Proofreaders in the UK (https://www.sfep.org.uk/directory/) and Editors Canada (http://www.editors.ca/hire) for our friends to the north.

    I am an editor and author and recently released a nonfiction book called Saving Money on Editing & Choosing the Best Editor (http://amzn.to/2eZR5Qu) , so this is kind of in my wheelhouse.

    I’m looking forward to implementing a lot of the tips I’ve heard when I release my two works in progress, a traditional fantasy and an urban fantasy. Looking forward to more episodes!

  • E. Marx

    I just wanted to thank the gang for answering my niche editor question on the show. Also, a big thanks to Bridgett who supplied some editor links. Extremely helpful information as always!

    I’m going to push my luck. Curious on your perspectives regarding writing associations like RWA. Helpful resource or waste of money?

    Thanks again for all of your help!!
    (I’m female, lol)

    • SFFpodcast

      Hi, female E! For RWA, I think it depends on what your goals are. I was in it for a year and went to the big summer conference, and it was good (though nothing geared toward SFR specifically), but I let my membership lapse. They did have indie-geared stuff at their conference, so that was good. I just wasn’t that interested in the contests or getting an agent or getting involved with a local chapter (probably because the romance is pen name stuff for me and not my main focus). I do think RWA is great for fostering new authors and having conventions that can benefit everyone from newbs to pros.