Sunday, August 22, 2010

Emailer Services: Are they worth it?

 This old school bus lives in a field up the street - I couldn't help but take a photo of it since it matches one of my scenes in Healey Cave. Funny this is, I wrote the book years before I found this!

I've built a long email list of loyal fans over the years. When I tried to send out email blasts (usually quarterly for my newsletter), I found it exhausting. Yahoo only let me mail one hundred per hour, so it took all day to get 900 emails out. 

Not only that, but I hated the way it looked. All text, no pictures... just -- yawn -- so boring! 

So, with the help of another author friend (thanks, Keith!), I learned about services you could sign up for where you can use templates or create your own nice looking emails with photos. They work pretty much like website templates, where you insert photos, links, change fonts, etc. as you wish.

I decided to sign up with, which cost me a couple of hundred dollars last year when I first subscribed, but this year's renewal was cheaper. I signed up for 500 contacts, but you can sign up for less (100) and then simply forward the email to your other contacts after you receive it in your own mailbox. That sort of defeated the purpose for me, so I stuck with the 500. I had to cull my email list pretty hard, and hope I didn't get rid of someone I shouldn't have. As the list grows, I'll have to figure out which way to go from here. But that's a problem for another day.

The question is, how many books do you sell from such a blast? Profit per book ranges from about two bucks (through Amazon, B&N, etc.) to ten bucks, depending on my re-sale price. It takes a lot of books to make up for the cost of the mailer program. Never mind all the other ads and investments.

So, why do it?

It's called investing in the future. The more the platform grows, the more books sell eventually, the quicker I can retire to just ... writing. At least that's the plan. ;o)

If you'd like to see the content of the email blast - check it out, here.


Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Heh. I guess I forgot to say that Healey's Cave was just released! I have copies to autograph and sell, plus it's now available on Amazon, B&N, via Kindle, as a print book, etc. You can also get all three of my Twilight Times Books for 20% off as eBooks this month - see the links in the article I linked to, above. ;o)

Marta Stephens said...

Each person has to analyze what works for them. Is the effort measurable? Do you see a hike in sales after you send out e-mails? If so, do sales pay for the cost of the service?

Although I may periodically send out mass e-mails, I find them to be too time-consuming, less effective, and more intrusive than making announcements via social sites like Facebook, etc.

If and when I send out a mass e-mail, I’m usually announcing an event, a rave review, award, or something along those lines. Mass e-mails to me are akin to "preaching to the choir" so I don't expect to generate sales from it. These are people who I've known for a long time, are probably already following my blogs/other social site pages, and are aware of my books from those sources. What I’m not doing is reaching new readers, so for me, e-mails defeat the goal.

Terry W. Ervin II said...

At this stage, such an email program doesn't seem like it would be worth it, but something to keep in mind a few years down the road...will email even be relevant then? Heck, twitter might be like casette tapes for music today by then.

Kim Smith said...

hm. I recently invested in advertising that includes a lead program. i send out emails in high volume to potential clients. my idea is it will build name recognition and traffic to my website, but probably not jobs. Sort of think this about this program for emailing as well. I wouldn't do it for sales, but for exposure.

my two cents...

Aaron Paul Lazar said...

Thanks, Marta, Terry, and Kim. I guess I'm in the same boat as Kim - trying to buy exposure and investing as opposed to reaping immediate bennies. ;o) Although I'm happy, I've had lots of "bites" for Healey's Cave! Happy Sunday to all. ;o)