One tool we offer that we want our authors to consider is our New Release Notifications tool. Building a mailing list is one of the most important things a self-published author can do to turn her successes into a real career. Discovery is the biggest challenge for any writer, but once you’ve been discovered, it’s critical to keep that new fan engaged.

Mailing lists are the industry’s most commonly recommended method for securing that relationship. At every opportunity, ask your fans to sign up for your list so you can contact them directly when you have important news for them. It’s the cheapest method with the lowest barrier to entry for keeping a reader you’ve already engaged.

Best Practices

Many authors recommend mailing-list services like Mailchimp or AWeber Email Marketing to handle this task. You can sign up for an account and send some newsletters out for free, until you reach a certain number of subscribers or mailings. You’ll have to provide some personal information to comply with anti-spam laws, though, and the setup can get pretty technical for someone who’s not already comfortable writing HTML.

You’ll also need to prepare promotional copy for a signup page in the end-matter of your books (encouraging readers to visit your webpage, where they can sign up), then a landing page on your website to capture those addresses, and (for best results) some sort of sign-up incentives and regular, engaging content to send your subscribers in between book releases.

We…can’t help you with all of that. Not yet. And we do recommend all of that as the industry’s best practice. But not every author has the time or technical skills or money required to do it all while they’re also managing social media, marketing initiatives, accounting, and, you know, writing the next book.

As usual, that’s where Draft2Digital comes in. While we can’t help you with a full newsletter, we can offer you a next-best alternative that costs no money and only enough time to check a box on our website.

New Release Notifications

Starting now, you’ll see a new option on the Layout page whenever you edit a book at Draft2Digital. Not only will we provide you with easy, one-click store-specific Also By pages, teasers, and About the Author pages, but we will also embed a New Release Notifications sign-up page in the back of your book if you ask for one.

Readers who click the link on that page will end up at a new landing page on our reader-facing service, They’ll have the option of choosing their favorite bookstore, and we’ll record their email address for future use.

What use? New release notifications, of course! Since this service is integrated directly with your Draft2Digital account, the next time you schedule a pre-order or release a new book, we will automatically send an announcement email to everyone who opted in to your list. Not only that, but we will send store-specific announcements to everyone who told us their preference, and we’ll make sure we send the notice as soon as the book is live on that particular store (and not a moment sooner)!

Just in Time for Christmas

To make sure that your shiny, new mailing lists get a quick boost, we’re making it available just as you all go into your big, holiday pushes. At the time of year when the most ebooks, ereaders, and gift cards are being sold and, therefore, the most new eyes are landing on your work, you’ll have another simple tool to convert those new readers into diehard fans. Diehard fans who will get an email automatically when you make your next new release or pre-order. Happy Holidays!

Cool, huh? Sure, it’s not full mailing list support, but it’s a huge step in the right direction, and it costs no time and no money at all. That’s important, because self-publishing shouldn’t be a day job, and we’re doing everything we can to help.