Giveaway and mailing list: how to take care of your readers

Here is a new guest post, this time it's very special to me, because the fellow indie author I'm presenting you comes from my lovely land, Sardinia. Her name is Stefania Mattana and she writes great crime fiction stories. In this article she explains the importance for an indie author of building a mailing list and how to create one.


If you are like me and spend around the 90% of your free time blogging, optimising your blog for search engines, tweaking your social media pages and updating your fans about your new ebook, you’re just one of the thousand self-published authors trying to get read in today’s frantically overcrowded marketplace. It may sound a sad thing to say, but being an author in these days does not mean just writing amazing stories. Today’s indie authors are marketers to all intents and purposes.

To succeed, as a marketer, you need to build a mailing list. There’s a proverb, in the internet marketing community: the money is in the list. To cut a long story short, if you have 30,000 subscribers and send a newsletter like ‘Hey, my new ebook is available on the Kindle Store at less than €/$/£1’, chances are that a good number of those subscribers will buy the ebook straight away. However, things are definitely more complicated.

The question I usually got at this point is: OK, I have a Facebook page and a Twitter profile, with fans, followers and everything, aren’t those two ‘lists’? They are indeed. But here’s the thing, social media are great to cultivate your brand awareness, not for selling. And if they kick you out of their network? They do one click and you lose your lists, all your contacts. So… no, you can’t replace list building with social media.

First of all, let’s talk about techie stuff. You need an email marketing management software. I use 
MailChimp because my partner talked me about it, I don’t have any specific reason. There are countless other options on the market. Most of them have free plans for beginners. They are easy to use and the good thing is that if you run into a wall and google your problem there is surely a solution somewhere on the internet. All of them feature stats and other analytic tools, which is why Gmail is not enough for email marketing.

The keyword for successful list building is value. You have to give your readers the motivation to join your list and don’t unsubscribe. Potentially, every newsletter you send out may make some readers buy your stuff and other readers unsubscribe.

To make people join your list, freebies are great. A short story, or a free lesson (if you want to create a writing virtual class). Contests work too. For example, 
I've launched a giveaway to celebrate my upcoming ebook, Into the Killer Sphere, the second one of the Chase Williams crime series. Among all the subscribers, only ten will win a copy of my ebook. This is a deal between me and my subscribers, because I'm giving them the chance of getting something unique (a book in preview) and for free (the ebook will be sold on Amazon Kindle store after the giveaway).
Create a subscription form, place it in a nice landing page and drive traffic using SEO, PPC and social media. To make people stay in your list, you have to be sure that your content is valuable. If you just link your last blog, paste what you’ve written on Facebook or stuff your content with shameless self-promotion and lots and lots of affiliate links, you’re doing it all wrong. Treat your list as an elite group (because it is), give your subscribers what they would never get from other channels; be interesting, interact with them, ask them questions, be just like one of them - I am a crime fiction writer, but also a huge crime fiction fan, and so are my fans! 
If you build trust in them, they will reward you.


Stefania Mattana
Crime fiction author
http://eraniapinnera.com





STEFANIA MATTANA is a crime fiction author whose stories and essays have appeared in numerous publications, websites and anthologies. Her first self-published short story collection "Cutting Right to the Chase", featuring the former Met Police Detective Chase Williams, was released in June 2013 to great acclaim. She also blogs for Huffington Post UK, her own blog DailyPinner and other webzines.

Visit Stefania's website: http://eraniapinnera.com
Or follow her on Facebook and Twitter.