Although primate-themed clothing is involved, I promise that this post has NOTHING to do with a now infamous H&M hoodie. Instead, it’s all about using chimpanzees not only to help me stay on the right side of the law, but also to hand out free stuff**. Oh, and I should put out a disclaimer that no chimps were harmed in the making of this post. In fact, I think they were having quite a bit of fun.

**If you’re just after the free stuff, go ahead and scroll down to the Come Join My Barrel of Monkeys section of this post to see what’s on offer, or click here to get your freebies ASAP.

Accepting I Need a Chimp in My LIfe

As you know, I’ve been cramming my head with loads of information about how to market my books better. Since it does seem (from what readers have told me) my books don’t suck, the only way to account for their lack of sales is my complete ineptitude in regards to marketing them.

In the many podcasts and books I’ve been reading, one of the key components to any viable book marketing strategy is a mailing list for many reasons, but one that struck me as most important was…

A mailing list gives you a way to get in touch with fans in case everything hits the fan. Amazon could suddenly change the rules and not allow indie authors (eek!). Facebook has already screwed over plenty of lesser-known authors by no longer showing any post the Facebook gods deem as “not-engaging-enough” (More on this here, if you’re interested). But if you have a mailing list chock full of interested fans, you still have a way to reach out to them if other channels disappear.

Basically, a mailing list keeps me from relying on another source (social media, retailers, blog host) as a way to communicate with my readers. Shall I say a mailing list puts the “independent” back in indie author? No, I shouldn’t, but I did. Sorry.

Why My Old Mailing List Had to Go

Although I didn’t know why I needed a mailing list, long ago I did know I needed one. So, every now and then I’d put out a plea for people to join my list.

A list I maintained simply using the Contacts app on my Mac.

A list I barely contacted once people signed up.

A list that actually was breaking some anti-spam laws. Oops.

And worst of all, there was no incentive to join the list. Basically, other than having the list, I was doing it ALL wrong.

Chimpanzees to the Rescue!

Of the mailing list services out there, I opted for MailChimp not only because they had the cutest logo/mascot, but because until I start sending over 2000 emails a month, it’s completely free. A price that’s right in my budget.

And MailChimp (despite what some of the podcasts were saying) had all the features I wanted…

  • An Automated Welcome sequence (so I could stay in touch with people right away)
  • A way to track which of my emails people found most interesting
  • A variety of sign-up forms I could scatter all over my website
  • And a way to easily deliver those freebies I mentioned earlier

I won’t say it wasn’t a HUGE learning curve to figure all this out, and I’m still not sure I have everything “right” but I plugged away at creating my first campaign. Not only did I get the satisfaction of embarking on a new phase in my marketing, I also got free monkey socks!

Yes, I know chimps are apes, but Ape Socks just doesn’t have the same ring as Monkey Socks.

Come Join My Barrel of Monkeys!!!

Now that I’ve gone on and on about how this is all going to benefit me, let’s talk about getting you some goodies.

One of the key things my old mailing list was missing was an incentive for people to sign up. With the chimp’s help, I’ve solved that problem and am now offering not just one, but TWO free books  when you sign up to my list. Sorry, neither of the books have anything to do with monkeys, or apes, or even lemurs.

Here’s what you get for signing up

  1. When you first sign up you’ll receive the e-book Inside Osteria – a behind the scenes peek into the world, the geography, and the characters of my fantasy series the Osteria Chronicles, as well as a deleted scene and an exclusive short story based on characters who will appear in Book Four (The Bonds of Osteria). Think of it as akin to the special features on a DVD.
  2. After a few days, you’ll receive your second freebie, Six Pack of Short Stories, which is pretty much what it sounds like…six short stories. These stories give you a taste of my non-Osterian writing, and range from horror to humor (and humorous horror).

And here’s what to expect after you sign up.

  • Over the first couple weeks you’ll receive a welcome series of five emails (yes, including the two freebies) in which I’ll introduce myself and try to get to know you a little better.
  • I really want you to interact with me, not just read my blathering, so I hope you’ll respond when I pose a question.
  • Every three to four weeks I’ll send out a newsletter to keep you up to date with what I’m working on, new publications, upcoming sales, etc.
  • The newsletter will also have two new features: an article on some aspect of self-publishing, reading, libraries, or anything book-related that has caught my interest, and a book recommendation based on what I’ve read over the previous month.
  • For those of you who also follow this blog, I am making a sincere effort to keep the content of this newsletter more original than my blog content (something I was very lazy about with the old list).
  • If you stick with my new system for three months, there will be a very special invitation for you!

What Are You Waiting For?

Head over to my sign-up page to join the team that’s following me on my creative journey!

A Little Note to Previous Subscribers: My old mailing list died on 12 January 2018. If you signed up to my mailing list prior to 2018, you need to sign up again to get your free books and for us to keep in touch.

Thanks for reading everyone and I can’t wait to see your names on my list!!!

What about you? Have you tried MailChimp? Do you enjoy reading author newsletters or are they just another thing cluttering up your inbox? Share your thoughts in a comment below!!


What I’m Reading…

The Plantagenets

Whispers Underground

Wonderbook: The Illustrated Guide to Creating Imaginative Fiction

The Dragonblood Collection

11 thoughts on “Monkeying Around with Marketing

  1. I have a newsletter email list, but I’ve never sent out a newsletter yet. Guess I better get on it. I use Mail Chimp too, but haven’t really explored it much. Not enough hours in the day!


    1. It did take several passes through MailChimp’s help section to figure everything out (okay, not EVERYTHING), but I set aside a little time each day way back in November to tackle each question I had until I’d finally cobbled it all together. And I think I remember signing up for your list many moons ago!!


  2. I’m signed up and ready to keep up with all things Osteria! And once I’ve sent my current batch of Beasties on their way, I’m looking forward to cosying up with my free books… Can there be anything better than free books? I think not! And can I just say again… Those monkey (ape) socks are genius! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Whoop whoop! I’m almost finished with the excellent short stories (very Black Mirror/Electric Dreams esque!) and looking forward to delving deeper with Osteria! I’ve had to put ‘The Voyage’ on hold for a bit while I work on stuff for class but…. eager to finish that too! I’ve enjoyed the welcome packages and think the new mailing list is working well–nice and sleek look. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I can’t believe you’re not putting your life on hold to read my books! Glad you’re enjoying the stories, I always have fun writing them and it’s nice to find a way to get them into people’s hands. Thanks for singing up and good luck with your class!!

      Liked by 1 person

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