Sam would be very disappointed in me. As a man with a deep love of concision and order, he would despair at the confusion I have created in recent days. As you know, I am always trying to learn more about the marketing of self-published books, and the received wisdom is that a sign-up emailing list is the way to go. Quite what I can do with the email addresses I gather – apart from send my own updates – is not yet clear, but it’s a learning curve, and frankly I am such a Sam-obsessive that I like the idea of another channel through which I can spread the love. But by encouraging you to sign up, I have created confusion – not least in my own mind. So here’s what’s on offer.
Anyone can read this blog. It’s public: type in the URL and this page will appear. Some of you have kindly decided that you never want to miss a single word of it, and so you have “followed” the blog. How you have done this depends entirely on your computer system – your search engine, your email program and its server, and so on. And – this is the crucial bit – I have no control over that. I have no access to the “master list” of who is following the blog, which means that I know only that there are 236 of you (it says that in the left-hand column of this blog, when it encourages new followers), and not who you are, where you are, or what email addresses you use. So you are, as far as I am concerned, anonymous.
The “occasional updates” that I am now proposing are different. These are administered through a mailing system called MailChimp, which takes me by the hand and helps me to create mailing “campaigns”. And for anyone to be party to these campaigns, you have to tell MailChimp that you want to do that (via this sign-up form), and – here’s the thing – I know who you are. I am provided with a list of the names and email addresses of people who subscribe. As I say, I’m not quite sure how that will be better, but I am assured that people are more loyal to, and more interested in, updates to which they have actively subscribed, so we shall see.
Of course, I need to differentiate between the two – between the content of the blog posts and that of the occasional updates.
- The blog posts will continue to appear on an ad hoc basis, as and when I feel I have something useful to share, and will remain focused on the writing and self-publishing process.
- The occasional updates will go out once a month, and will be more aimed at the Sam fan – looking in detail at some of the issues raised in the books (e.g. more history concerning the locations, as I always learn much more than I ever put in the books). And subscribers to the occasional updates will regularly be offered freebie downloads (e.g. a cut-out-and-keep glossary of Regency slang used in the books).
I think it comes down to whether you’re more interested in writing and self-publishing (the blog’s the place for you), or Sam and the stories (occasional updates will feed your fancy), or indeed both.
I am off on my hols soon, and this blog will go quiet for the first two weeks of June. Rest assured that Sam is coming with me; I’m off to Switzerland and he always seems to flourish in the clear mountain air.