Set up a mailing list, they say glibly – those experts on book marketing. Your contacts are your best sales-force, they say. Amazon will fulfil demand, they say, but it will not create demand – that is the job of your mailing list. And, they say, the simplest tool for marketing novices is MailChimp – which has the added benefit, given my recent tax calculation, of being free.
Some of you who have been around for a while will be wondering, didn’t we try this before? And yes, we did: back in November 2013 I enrolled with MailChimp and implored blog readers to sign up for updates. They did not, apart from one reader in Suffolk who supports every effort I make – you know who you are. And with only two of us ready to read updates (of course I signed up myself: how else could I test the MailChimp system?), I let it die a quiet death.
But now, with the experts insisting that I would be a fool not to, I am giving it another go. I’m putting more effort into it this time, principally by offering a bribe. In short, if you sign up by the end of June 2018 to receive my occasional updates via MailChimp, I will put your name into a hat (metaphorical – more likely to be a bowl or bin of some kind) and pick out three lucky people to receive a blank notebook. I have laid in stocks of suitable notebooks, of designs that might have pleased Sam, and if you’re a winner I’ll send your notebook to you wherever in the world you might be. (You don’t provide your mailing address as part of the sign-up; I’ll ask for it only if I need it.)
I have encouraged Facebook friends to spread the word. And I am telling all of you about it. I now have three subscribers: the two original ones, and me using another email address (how else could I test, etc.). Although it’s a 50% increase on that time round, it’s not much to write home (or indeed, occasional updates) about. So please, do sign up by clicking on the notebooks picture at the top of the column to the left: after all, the experts recommend it.