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A few months ago I wrote about a book called Making a Living Writing Books for Kids by Laura Purdie Salas, which I highly recommend for children’s book writers.
In that post I stated the following:
“Some things mentioned in the book that I have heard over and over again yet I have not taken the leap to complete just yet include creating an email list, joining Twitter, and doing school visits.
All three of these are things I keep thinking about, but I keep telling myself I will do them if (hopefully when) I get a traditionally published book deal. In the meantime, I have my reasons (really just excuses) to not do each of them.
Baby steps. I will get there eventually.”
Well, I finally took the steps to create an email list. No, I didn’t get a traditionally published book deal (I wish!), but I decided it was finally time.
Please don’t roll your eyes at my excuses, but creating an email list has been something I have been putting off for quite a while because …
… according to the CAN-SPAM Act, all business emails must include a valid physical mailing address. I didn’t feel comfortable putting my own home address on the bottoms of all of the emails, which left me with the option of renting a PO Box.
I have had a PO box before. In fact, the house I previously lived in did not have a mailbox, so a PO Box was mandatory. I have gotten so spoiled at my current location with not having to drive to the post office to check my mail, and I wasn’t sure if having a PO box would be a worthwhile investment. Would anyone actually sign up for my email list?
Well, if you sign up for my email list (which I now have as an option), you will see I now have a PO box.
Before creating an email list, I did some research (that’s just what I do!).
I’ve read many websites saying you must include a free incentive for someone to sign up for your email list. It could be a download, an ebook, an entire section of your website, etc. Essentially, you offer someone something for free with the catch that they must enter their email address. And voila, they are now part of your email list. Waa haa haa (my odd evil laugh).
Some websites have people sign up for their email list in order to get access to certain sections of their website, which I figured out how to do for my Fun Extras page. But when I went to do that, I actually felt bad. If someone wants to print off free coloring pages or activity ideas, I want them to be able to do that without any strings attached.
So, I did something that goes against the advice of all of the websites I read about creating email lists: I simply offered to provide updates on my journals, books, and writings. I’m not saying that offering something for free is bad. I’m just saying it is not what I am doing at this time…unless you count free updates as my free offer!
I don’t want people to sign up only because they want something for free and have no interest in anything else. I also don’t want to be holding back all of the coloring pages, activity ideas, and more for people who aren’t comfortable with providing their email address.
I know I’ve signed up to other people’s email lists simply because I was interested in hearing updates from them and wanted to know when they had more information available. I hope others will do the same for my email updates.
I’ve also signed up to email lists just for the free download and then unsubscribed right away. Yes, I’m like that. I get enough emails as it is. There is no point in me remaining on someone’s email list if I am not interested in anything else they are offering. And they don’t have to continue sending emails to me for no reason. That’s what I hope to avoid.
I even spent quite a while coming up with this as my email sign-up text:
“To Join or Not To Join…
Many websites make you enter your contact information for a FREE product. Not mine. Instead, you are welcome to enter your contact information if you would like to be kept up to date on any added fun extras, books, and journals created by me. I would love for you to join my email list! But, even if you don’t subscribe, you are still welcome to enjoy all of the FREE coloring pages, activity ideas, and more on FUN EXTRAS. You’ll just miss out on learning about all the new fun things as they are added!”
Somehow, that doesn’t pop up anywhere on my website. If you’ve read this far, though, you’ve probably seen what actually does pop up. Thankfully, I was able to figure that out (I think!).
Within a couple of days of adding the subscriber popup form, I had one subscriber (who I don’t even know). Yay!
If you are interested in receiving updates about my writing adventures, journals, books, and fun extras, please sign up for my email list. I hope to send updates to all of my subscribers’ inboxes with a monthly e-newsletter (as long as I can figure it out). I have no intent on bombarding inboxes with email after email!
Unfortunately, every time I try to install the email sign-up form within this post, it doesn’t work properly. (This is another excuse I’ve had for not creating an email list…I’m not very knowledgeable with all of the computer technology, and I knew it would take a lot of time to figure it all out.)
I am still trying to determine if there is a way for me to install a subscribe form on this post using the products I have. In the meantime, you should be able to sign up for my email list on any page or post on my website when the form pops up, which should happen when you have scrolled about halfway down the page. Otherwise, you are welcome to email me and let me know you are interested in signing up for my email list. I’m sorry for any inconvenience as I figure this all out!
If you aren’t interested in receiving updates from me, that’s okay, too. Thank you for reading this far!
So, do you really need to offer a freebie to have an email list? I guess we’ll see.
What do you think?