From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's booksNewsletters can be tricky. As a rule, people avoid subscribing to a mailing list because it eats up their time, and they don’t know how frequently you will email them. A second but equally big concern is that you will share their addresses with spammers.

Correspondingly, starting a newsletter is a potential minefield. Which addresses should you use? Are you allowed to contact people who have contacted you first? Or should you make people jump through hoops to prove that they wish to enroll to your newsletter?

How can one get around these problems? For me, the best answers has proved to be a two-step process. First of all, I decided that I do have a right to contact people who have already contacted me, but will never email people first: I only email people who have interacted with me in some way. Second, I am very careful as to what I send out. In effect, I use my mailing list to send out freebies and holiday wishes. My main aim is to build loyalty, not make a quick sale.

Specifics, please

I send out up to half a dozen emails annually. Most of the recipients are people who have commented on my blog. My emails contain freebies, and are meant to thank people for engaging with me. That’s probably why they seem to be quite popular. Engagement rate is around 60%, or twice the average, and usually no more than one person unsubscribes each time – if any at all.

Another group of people I engage is those who have friended me on Goodreads. When you get a request to connect, the member’s email is shown. This is the only time you have access to it, so be sure to copy it into your mailing list, as you don’t get another chance!

In the future, I plan to run a Rafflecopter campaign. People use these all the time to gain followers and readers, but a side-benefit that often gets ignored is the ability to extract the email addresses of all participants.

Are you sure I won’t annoy anyone?

Well, to be honest, no. All I have is the positive feedback I’ve received so far from recipients of my mail, and the fact that only three person have unsubscribed so far, out of over some 1,500 emails sent. I do try my best to avoid annoying people, though. First of all, I use Mailchimp for the emails. That way, anyone not wishing to receive my emails for whatever reason finds it easy to unsubscribe.

Second, I only send the kind of information I would enjoy reading myself. No hard sales are allowed on my emails. I struggle to give people information that is either of interest to them, or just plain entertaining.

Should I try that, then?

From the blog of Nicholas C. Rossis, author of science fiction, the Pearseus epic fantasy series and children's books

I made this on

Yes. I believe a newsletter is a valuable tool in one’s marketing toolbox, but one that has been abused so much in the past, that it should be used sparingly and with special care. Don’t ask people to buy something – remember, the “Show, don’t Tell” rule applies in marketing as well. Show them why they’d be entertained by your work. Give them reasons to love it.

Remember the cardinal rule of marketing; if people like what you’re saying, they’ll buy what you’re selling. And above anything else, use newsletters to interact with people in a genuine way and to make new friends!

Read my children’s book, Runaway Smile, online for free!

A reminder, that I’m still away on business until the 14th. Apologies if I’m late in responding to your comments, as it will all depend on our hotel’s Internet connection!