A Writer’s Guide To Email Marketing With Dan Blank

One of the fundamental things an author needs is to build a list of fans who like their work.

dan blankThis gives you control of sales, because on launch day you can move your book up the charts through the power of the list and even if Amazon disappears, you will still be able to sell books. I promote the importance of lists all the time, but many authors still haven’t grasped the important aspects.

In today’s video interview, Dan Blank from We Grow Media talks about the importance of building a list and how to use it effectively which he covers in his new guide, The Writer’s Guide to Email Marketing. Dan helps writers grow their platforms and publishers grow their communities so he is passionate about this space. You can watch the video below, or here on YouTube.

In the video, we discuss:

  •  How Dan works with the craft of platform, helping writers with reader discovery, branding and connection.
  • What is email marketing and why should authors care? How you can be marketing without being spammy
  • Why use email when there are other social mechanisms like Twitter and Facebook?
  • How to set up an email list from a practical side and also a psychological point of view
  • What services can you use? We discuss Aweber (affiliate link) which I use and also Mailchimp
  • How your list will grow slowly over time and if you don’t start a list you will regret it. I mention one author who suddenly made it big on Amazon and didn’t capture interest in a list. Don’t wait until you are huge!
  • Once you have a list, what do you do with it? On newsletters and updates as well as formats (plain text is great as many people read email on cellphones now).
  • On privacy and anti-spam laws and some of the ‘rules’ around list building

writers guide emailIf you are taking your career as a writer seriously, you need an email list.

Dan’s new guide, A Writer’s Guide to Email Marketing contains everything you need to know about why and how list marketing works.

It’s $29.99 so click here to check out more details or to buy the guide.

You can find Dan at www.WeGrowMedia.com and also on twitter @DanBlank


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  1. says

    Unfortunately newbies often put building the list off till “later.” I did it too.

    If I only knew then, what I know now. :)

    Yes, it’s probably going to cost you a nominal fee to get set up with a reputable (easy to use) email platform, but do it! It’s the best way to start “hanging out” with your peeps.

    I often ask questions in my Newsletters or let my subscribers ask me questions directly, that they wouldn’t get to do otherwise. This builds interaction and loyalty that’s priceless.

    ~ darlene

    • says

      Hi Darlene, I totally agree – you should be planning for success and starting the list early, rather than waiting. A trickle every day soon adds up.
      I used to have open questions but I was getting so much email that I rarely do it now, but the capability is definitely important.

    • says

      Thank yo uso much for sharing your experience and ideas! Yes! So many people wait until they are “ready” for an email list, of course at which point they are already missing a lot of value.

      Much appreciated.

  2. says

    I bought the book in your post as I’ve been trying to find authoritative info on how to properly build and manage a list. I also wrote a rough draft of my own book on email marketing, but haven’t published it.

    So this is a topic that always captures my attention. That being said…Why for the love of communication is this guy’s book formatted in brochure columns????? Why! Does he not like us?

    It’s hard to read. I have to go left to right through one little two inch column, then scroll up for the next and repeat for the third. It’s awkward. It’s clumsy. WHO writes books this way and then charges $30?

    I’m on the fence as to whether I’ll return this or not. FYI for anyone looking to buy, be warned you’ll be reading little brochure columns. If you need to enlarge the print to make it more readable, it’ll be an even bigger pain to wade through.

    Let us pray they reformat this thing to make it more reader friendly.

    • says

      I’m so sorry the formatting is not as readable for you, that was certainly not my intention. I did a survey of a lot of ebooks and guides before formatting it this way, and that is how I came up with the design.

      I will ABSOLUTELY be taking your feedback into account for reformatting it. I don’t have a timeline yet, but I want you to know that I take this very seriously. Thanks for giving it a shot!

      • says

        Thanks for being open to my feedback, Dan. The font ends up being very small on the computer screen and the extra navigation required is annoying. No ebooks I’ve read have ever been formatted like this one and it’s a departure from what I’ve experienced as a norm. Given that there are a lot of boomers publishing books and the shift in vision that occurs around the age of 40, a different format would be much more reader friendly.

        I finished reading the book. It is a good basic primer. I am looking for more advanced information, but for those authors who have not even started a mailing list yet, this would be a good guide.

        After folks read this, I would suggest also checking out the mailing list guide that Copyblogger puts out. It’s free if you sign up on their mailing list and there are some little tidbits buried in the book that are worth picking up.


    • says

      Thank Michelle – I have found the formatting to be fine – I think that’s a personal choice.
      It’s more of a magazine layout appropriate for an iPad or a computer viewing.

  3. says

    I like the concept of starting with your friends. That’s something I absolutely haven’t done. I seem to want to fly under the radar! It hadn’t really occurred to me that they could be people who would champion what I’m doing. Duh. 😉

    • says

      Most creative professionals overlook this. Their creative work is something that is often secret at first, they hide it to safely forge this new identity. But SO MANY successful writers and creative professionals talk a lot about how their core (family and friends) did so much to define success.

  4. says

    I have a list of the E-mail addresses of the most circulated newspapers and magazines from the United States. It might need updating since it has been awhile since I used it. I collected it when I was writing articles about my birth country. I understand the importance of an E-mail list. As far as spam editors tired of my submissions simply asked to be removed from my list. I came up with it because I had planned on writing novels and I was given advice that newspapers and certain magazines wanted Book Review submissions of even written by a self-publisher. I have known of authors asking friends to review their books and sending it to newspapers. GOODREADS and other social media have reviews on the Internet, but you have the newspaper’s created circulation who will read the review.

    • says

      I see a couple of red flags here – some concerns that you may want to consider. If these people didn’t take a proactive action to ASK for you to reach out to them repeatedly, you are likely seen as spam to them. Even if they don’t send a note asking you to stop, that doesn’t mean that your messages are being heard or appreciated.

      There are fewer newspapers and magazines now than ever before, and their staffs are smaller. You may do better actually researching EXACTLY which publications review your kind of work, why, who the editor is, and their submission process. A step further would be to develop relationships with those people and others in similar roles. EG: focus on the RIGHT 20 people instead of just spamming 300 people.

      These are some core principals of creating your platform as a writer, a bit of a bigger topic. Thanks for the response here.

  5. says

    Yup, I need an email list. It’s on my list of things to do. I’m a single dad with a full-time job. I write books. I blog. I write and record songs. I just haven’t had the time to get to the email list yet. Maybe this summer, but then there’s the third book of my trilogy and a music project. Hmm? Any solutions for the creative writer’s dilemma? If I keep spending my time promoting and making lists and such, I’ll never write another book.

    • says

      I hear you! Glad to hear you have so much going on, but I realize your days are likely filled juggling too many priorities. What I like about a newsletter is that it can 100% leverage the content you create already – blog posts, social updates, etc. You are just repackaging it. Start out with something super simple.

  6. says

    Great conversation – and concept too – am learning all the time so thanks for this. Just explain please; if people are signing up to receive your blog posts from your blog, why do we need email lists too – what’s the difference?

    • says

      Hi Ross,
      If people sign up for your blog posts through a service like Aweber then great, you have their email address so you can contact them. BUT/ most people have a separate feed for their blog that people sign up for separately e.g. through Feedburner or WordPress and this means you have no way of emailing those people. You can only reach them through the blog, which isn’t so personal and is not usually a mechanism for sales. So the difference is that you actually have a list of names and emails vs a number of subscriptions who you can’t contact directly.
      Thanks, Joanna

    • says

      I (of course) agree with everything Joanna said, and find that an email list gives you dramatically greater freedom. When your only way of reaching out to readers is via a single inflexible channel, such as a blog, you have not built a strong foundation to reaching readers.

      Email is a core channel and when you develop a list, you have the choice to email as you like, including follow up emails, segmentations, and analyzing the results.



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