Episode 138 – iOS Unsubscribe, Ad Miscalculations, and Preparing for the Worst

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Question of the Week: What are three things you could do to improve your emails to your readers?

May Sage joined the guys this week for an awesome Lab segment as they discussed tips on holiday marketing, preparing for the worst, and mind-mapping. After thanking their patrons Ethan Jones (and his book The Secret Blush https://www.amazon.com/dp/B01LDH2J1G ), Megan Haskell (and her book Sanyare https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00ROBHMFY/ ), and Tara Ross (and her book Cubicle Jail to Laptop Lifestyle http://amzn.to/1ZNNHWl), they took on news stories about Kobo contracts, trad pubs learning from indies, audiobooks in indie stores, Facebook tracking miscalculations, and the iOS Unsubscribe feature. This week’s Question of the Week: What are three things you could do to improve your emails to your readers?
What You’ll Learn:
  • How authors can market effectively in the holiday season
  • What indies can do to prepare their author business for change
  • How authors can get their books into subscription services
  • How authors can use mind-mapping to increase productivity
  • How an iOS feature is decreasing email unsubscribe rates
  • What Facebook has miscalculated and what it means for advertisers
  • What new digital library loan features are available with OverDrive
  • How one company involves indie booksellers in the audiobook craze
  • What contest Italian authors can enter to win a Kobo publishing contract
  • Why a decrease in traditional forms of reading may not be all that bad
  • What traditional publishers can learn from indies and why they need to do more
Question of the Week: What are three things you could do to improve your emails to your readers?

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  • I really can’t wait to hear how May’s promotion went!

    I would think promoting during this week would be very hard/expensive, but the return on investment could be huge.
    $12000/8000readers = $1.50/reader – I feel like that’s a very reasonable goal, especially at the level she is doing it at.

    Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

    • Bryan

      Likewise, David! I guess we’ll see what happens. Thanks for the post :).

  • I looked up the Espresso machine in Ann Arbor, but unfortunately it’s no longer there. Otherwise, I would have gone over to U of M library and checked it out. Oh well.

    Interestingly, the site guides users to Amazon: http://www.lib.umich.edu/espresso-book-machine

  • Dave Haslett

    I loved the Mind Maps for marketing tip. I’ll be using that one! I regularly use Mind Maps for creating book outlines – it’s a great way of generating ideas and ensuring nothing gets missed. I’m definitely a planner not a pantser though. I use Mindjet Mind Manager, which exports the finished spokes as chapter outlines, starting clockwise from the one o’clock position.
    Dave Haslett, Creative Director, ideas4writers

    • Bryan

      Thanks for the software tip, Dave. Hopefully some other mind-map users will be able to try it out!

  • With reference back to an earlier question about mailing lists I’m still in the how to create your emails to your readers phase. Bryan’s free introductory course has got me started but there’s so much more to do.

    I must side with Jim on the whole mindmapping thing. Every example I’ve looked at left me crosseyed on the floor. I need something far more linear when planning a project.

    • Bryan

      Yup, you’re in good company on the linear thinking, Edwin. Where are you in the process of emailing? Have you opened an account? Set up a page where people can join?

      • I like mindmapping for brainstorming, but once the story starts, I want a flowchart.

  • Ethan Jones

    Thanks for mentioning my book, Bryan. In the new year, I’ll try to add more value to my emails, make them shorter and more actionable for the reader.

    • Bryan

      Sure thing, Ethan. Good resolutions!

  • Hi Bryon,
    I unsubscribe from email lists when all it does is:
    1. Bait and switch: “subscribe to our Pro service and only then will we help you.”
    2. Over advertising the same thing daily or in every emailing: “Today’ Special Deal Is!” Monotonous.
    3. Not throwing a bone to me once in a while, not even, “Did you know doing ______ might increase your sales”

    • Bryan

      Hey JB, thanks. Very important to send out tips every so often for Nonfiction. Great point.

  • QOTW – Writer better emails. Show my personality more. Start an autoresponder series. Be upfront on my goals from email #1. Get myself on a schedule. Don’t be afraid to sell, because if you wait too long to sell, you can NEVER sell.

    • Bryan

      Agreed, Roland. You NEED an auto responder series :).

  • Scapple is a sweet little mind-mapping tool. I use it to keep track of my characters and their relationships.

    I’m a new author, and I’m investing heavily into building my email list before my first book series launches this coming summer. I started my list with 60 friends in September, and I’m on track to reach my goal of having 10,000 fans on the list by May. To improve emails I send to them, I need to get out and keep doing cool things!

    I decided that the mission of my list is to stay engaged and connected with fans. I’m in this for the long haul, so although I do see the value in selling to my list, I’d rather have a connected and loyal fan-base than a transactional one. So, while I’m working 14+hrs a day on my series and launch right now, I could really use some free time to go out and do more fun things that my list would enjoy hearing about… I mean, how many pictures of my dog can I post a month on Instagram???

    How about making that next week’s question? 😉

    • Wow. Impressive list building! How are building it so fast? What do you do to find new subscribers?

      • Weird, I thought I replied to this… Perhaps I said something in the comment I shouldn’t have? Goggle me and message me and we’ll chat. 🙂

        • done, and thanks!

        • Bryan

          No censorship here! Must’ve been an internet goblin 🙂

    • Bryan

      Haven’t heard of Scapple, M. Thanks for the tip. Congrats on the goal! I hope you reach it!!

  • Laura Martone

    Well, seeing as how Dan and I still need to build and implement an email list (sigh), I’d say that our biggest improvement would be to, um, actually send ANY emails out to potential readers. Once we’ve nailed down our production schedule, we’ll do just that – if only to start building a rapport with readers. For us, I think our crazy on-the-road lifestyle could make for some interesting tales. So, one way we’d connect with readers would be to share our travel adventures (much like Joanna Penn does). Another way would be to discuss our favorite books, movies, TV shows, etc. (like David Wright does) – just to start conversations. And until we have books to offer, we would recommend other authors’ books, deals, etc. Basically what a lot of other SMBS fans have already said!

    • Bryan

      Hey Laura. You could always start now! If you put together a little 10k lead magnet and promoted it on InstaFreebie or something, you might be able to start with a list of 500-1,000 when you launch. Could be good incentive on finishing the books too ;). Good ideas on interaction!