Growing Your Mailing List with Instafreebie

Welcome to the Cow Pasture, Guest Contributor, Kimberley Cooper – Kimberley Cooper Blog

Firstly, thanks to Sheila for giving me the chance to chat with the folks that visit her blog. Nice to meet you all. I’m based in the UK, so please excuse any spellings and expressions that you might not be familiar with.

Ok, so this isn’t a ‘how to’ as much as a ‘what happened and can anyone else benefit?’

Probably like most of us who like to write, but even more, would like to get a little money in for our efforts, sales have been so-so. Enough that the tax man wants to know but not enough to make an appreciable dent in the monthly bills.

So now, with two novels in the bag, a novella, and two short story collections, it seemed like a good time to take a month off writing and concentrate on promotion. Because hey, writing is one side of the coin, but letting people know that you’ve written something that they may (or may not) be interested in, is the other.

I’m an avid user of Facebook. I keep my private page and my writing page pretty separate, and that works well. In late October on my private page, up pops details of Instafreebie. And me, being always keen on a bargain noticed one word. FREE. So I had to click, didn’t I? But being hopeful and untrusting in equal measure I also had to see for myself that there didn’t appear to be a catch (I haven’t found one.)

  • You can set up a package that doesn’t cost you anything. I tried this for a few days, and it means you can give away copies of one of your books (you decide how many copies or when to end the giveaway). Originally that was my intention – give away a few copies and hope people liked what they read and then bought some of my other stuff from Amazon. But after a couple of days when I’d given away close to a hundred copies, it occurred to me I was missing a trick. This option doesn’t allow you to collect the email addresses of the people downloading your book. And if those people didn’t head over to Amazon, I’d lost them forever.
  • So I went to the next level of Instafreebie. Currently, $20 a month allows me to link Mailchimp to my Instafreebie account, and between them, I get to record who is downloading my book. And then I can email them directly with what else I can offer. And write off the cost against tax.
  • There was another piece of advice I picked up on growing your mailing list, from Facebook – offer more. Don’t just offer the minimum you can get away with, but more. So I sent a ‘welcome’ email to everyone who joined my mailing list via Instafreebie/Mailchimp and offered a free copy of my quirky dark fantasy novella Adventures of a Girl Death Demon. And readers contacted me in droves. I had some great back and forth conversations via email with some, and YES, more sales started appearing on my KDP dashboard and Createspace account.
  • So that’s a result for me. As is the hundreds of people on my mailing list that I wouldn’t have had, that I can email when I have new content to offer. And setting up an account with Instafreebie gave me a chance to join their closed Facebook group which coordinates promotion of books so that you benefit from a much wider audience, potentially.

So, am I pleased to have done it? Oh yes. The first promotion that I took part in has finished, but I’m still seeing new subscribers joining my mailing list at almost 50 a day. And I’ve joined another promotion which is more long-term, so I hope that will steadily raise my numbers further.

I haven’t got any connection with Instafreebie or Mailchimp; this is just the experience of how it’s been for me. Yours may well be different. But it might be worth a go … whatever you decide, good luck, and here are links that you might find useful.

If you enjoyed Kimberley’s post, let her know, and as always, I’d love to hear from you. Talk to me. Tell me your story and look for me on Facebook at SheilaMGood,  PinterestBloglovinTwitter@sheilamgood, Contently, and Instagram. You can follow my reviews on Amazon and Goodreads.

NaNoWriMo – what now?

Welcome to the Cow Pasture, Guest Contributor, Kimberley Cooper – Kimberley Cooper Blog

Firstly, thanks to Sheila for giving me the chance to chat with the folks that visit her blog. Nice to meet you all. I’m based in the UK, so please excuse any spellings and expressions that you might not be familiar with.

Now, I enjoy writing. Although some days it’s hard. Some days, I wish I’d taken up lion-taming, surely that would have been easier.

In 2014 I decided (at midday on 1 November – madness) to have my first go at NaNoWriMo. National Novel Writing Month for anyone who hasn’t come across it. And it was madness. And glorious. And stressful. And the most fun I’d had writing for ages. 50,000 words in 30 days. In the company of thousands of other writers all over the world. All challenging themselves to do the same thing – write the first draft of a novel in a month, between 1-30 November. And I learned a couple of things from that first go:

  1. Considering I’d never written anything longer than a 2000 word short story, I could write longer fiction. Moral – yes you can, you just have to believe you can.
  2. If I’d actually done some planning rather than just rocking up on 1 November with a vague idea, I could have saved myself months of editing.

So, I had a second go, in 2015. That time, I had at least a rough idea of where I was going. Three non-return doorways and an ending, to shape my story. And that made both the writing during November, and the editing in December, much easier. So, if it was that much easier with some planning, surely 2016 would be a doddle if I planned completely, wouldn’t it?

Er, no.

I tried that. September and October 2016 were almost completely taken up with planning NaNoWriMo to the nth degree. And that didn’t really work for me. Planning so much took away a lot of the pleasure of discovering the story. I knew what was going to happen, so I didn’t want to put the rest of my life on hold for a month while I wrote it. I still wrote 50,000 words, so technically I won, but it felt a bit of a hollow victory. I wasn’t afire with the story the way I’d been the previous two years.

So, what now? Take a breath, regroup and learn for next time. And not beat myself up for making (for me) a mistake. If I hadn’t done it this way, I wouldn’t have learned what I prefer. And that’s the overall moral of this tale – in any form of self-expression do what works for you, not what everyone says you ought to do. Yes, listen to advice, but in the end, it’s your choice.

I’m not even going to look at those 50,000 words until January. Hopefully, by then, I’ll have enough distance from the story that it’ll feel fresh and new again. I’ve recognized what sort of writer I am. I’ll never be a planner, not wholly. And I’m not really a pantser either. I’m in the middle somewhere. A plantser? I’ll stick to just planning three doorways and an ending, and come November 2017 I’ll be enthralled to discover the story that’s shyly peeking out, coax it onto the page and then revise the hell out of it later.

Wish me luck.