Elizabeth: Mailing lists and Newsletters

A number of the sessions I attended at the recent RWA conference dealt with marketing and author promotion.  Gone are the days when writers wrote, and “all those other folks” took care of promoting, marketing, and actually selling books.  The advent of self-publishing has also given rise to self-designing, self-promoting, self-marketing, and a lot of other “self-” things that cut into the time when, as a writer, you’d probably really just rather be writing.

Maybe that’s just me.

One of the things that many of the conference sessions I attended had in common was a focus on newsletters and developing a mailing-list as a way to reach potential readers and get them to actually buy your books.  Erica Ridley talked about the mechanics of choosing an email provider, evaluating features, and providing incentives for readers to sign-up on a mailing list; Mark Dawson talked about  leveraging mailing lists in the book launch process;  and a group of authors talked about the benefits of cross-promotions for expanding visibility and growing mailing lists.

While the presenters all made valid points, I had to wonder how effective mailing lists and email newsletters really are, especially considering the amount of time their care-and-feeding seems to require. Continue reading