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Do authors need a mailing list?

Here it is – another dose of my book marketing advice, so if you want to know how to market a book here we go. Call it whatever you want; a mailing, email or contact list, whenever we talk about this, what we mean is a list of people who have agreed to give you their email address, because they are happy for you to contact them via email, for the purpose of giving them information about what you are doing and your books.

Now why would an author need such a thing? especially if they are active across social media platforms? there are loads of great reasons why you need a list, but here are the two most fabulous ones; firstly because you don’t, you won’t ever, own your social media profiles, or the connections and contacts that you make through them. You could work really hard on building relationships through your social platforms only to turn on your device one day and discover that a fundamental change has happened, and all that hard work has disappeared. Leaving you with no easy way to connect with your audience without starting all over again. That may seem unnecessarily dramatic, but you will already have noticed that various platforms seem to make unfathomable changes to who sees whom and how. So, that is one very practical reason why a mailing list is so important.

And the other main reason why you’d want to create your own contact, or mailing list is that it means you having a group of people who you’ve already qualified as being in your ideal reader group, who have said that they want to hear from you, by opting in, signing up and giving you their email address. These are the people who want to reach, and they have chosen to hear from you.

Before you send anything at all you need to make sure that you understand GDPR rules, and although this sounds technical and scary, it isn’t, because it simply asks you to conduct yourself in a professional way.

  • You must ask for consent to put someone on the list, this needs to be separate from other terms and conditions.
  • You must use blank opt-in boxes, so that customers can actively choose to give consent. So, no pre-ticked opt-in boxes, they are not allowed. You must phrase your request for consent clearly and explicitly, in a way that’s easy to understand. That would look like “would you like to sign up to my mailing list to receive monthly/quarterly/occasional news, articles and blogs about my work…”
  • If you plan to use different bits of data in different ways you must explain that you will do this and allow consent to be given for each element separately.
  • If you are getting consent on behalf of a third party you must make this clear.
  • It must be easy to withdraw consent. Never hide your unsubscribe button.
  • You must keep a record of what each person has consented to, what they were told, and when and how they consented.

How will you remember all this? The great news is that you don’t have to, using mailing software (even a free one) means it’s all done for you, and you won’t be able to get it wrong.

So now you know the reasons why authors really need a mailing/ email/contact list. If you want to find out how to go about creating your very own list check out the Out of Your Head and Onto The Page Masterclass “I don’t need a mailing list”

and if you have any feedback on this article or want to get in touch about mailing lists or any other book related issue get in touch at



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