It’s official: I hate email lists

Text: Solveig Hansen, 2016

Publish when you have something to say.

Authors recommend email lists as a way of building an audience. After all, writing is a business and you need buyers. If readers like your first book, they are more likely to buy your next, and you need to tell them when it will be out. However, there’s a fine line between information and spam.

Here’s one example of why I don’t subscribe to email lists: I signed up for a free e-book — or was it a webinar? — with a best-selling author and gave away my email address. Then I started to receive a tsunami of emails from the author with his expert advice, well intended, but clearly written for the sake of writing. The information turned into, well, spam. So I unsubscribed.

To the author I would say: I still like you, and I might still buy your next book or attend your next webinar.

So, here’s my advice:

Create email categories and let people choose what they want to subscribe to, for instance news about your next book, webinar or reading gig. They might not be interested in your advice on writing or whatever your expertise is.

Plus, you don’t have to send an email every day or every week. Publish when you have something to say, not because you’re afraid people will forget you if you don’t email them often enough.

Needless to say, you should always include an Unsubscribe link for uninterested receivers to opt-out from your email list. Hopefully, the remaining ones are your hard-core fans, those you really need to reach to keep your business alive. They might be interested in your life-changing advice, words of wisdom, or what the characters are up to in the next book in your series. Then your email list has the intended purpose.

Just don’t spam your readers, OK?

Sidebar photo: philippechazal/

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