Tuesday, 13 August 2019

Behind the Curtain: An Observation About Email

For those of you who don't know, I use MailerLite as my email service provider. It's about a million times more suited to author newsletters than Mailchimp (click the link to try it out, if you run a business that needs to stay in contact with people).

Around the time that GDPR became a thing (when was that? A year ago now? Maybe more? Time flies), I decided it might be cool to offer people the choice of how they'd like to hear from me.

Prior to that time, I was sending out a regular monthly newsletter, and then other emails spread out randomly through the month, whenever I had something important to say. In some months, I'd send these weekly. In others, fortnightly, and sometimes, my subscribers would get several in a single week. All excluding my regular newsletter.

GDPR made me seriously consider that strategy because, as I understood it at the time, what the bill meant was the users had to consciously and specifically opt-in to communication from you, and they had to do it knowing exactly what that contact would entail.

Long story short, when someone signs up for my email list to get a free book, there are two checkboxes, and they can tick one, both, or neither (you're also not allowed to make that opt-in a requirement for receiving a freebie).

Now, I had expected there'd be some chancers who wouldn't tick either of those boxes. They just want the freebie. Oddly enough, I don't get nearly as many of those as I was afraid of, though; it seems like most people are honest, and understand the concept enough to willingly agree to hear from me.

I also expected that most people who opted in would tick the "Monthly Newsletters" option, and a few would choose not to receive the occasional ones. For the most part, that's held true, but here's what surprised me: some people are opting into the occasional emails, but not the regular monthly ones!

That floored me because I honestly assumed that, in most people's minds, "Occasional" would imply the regular monthly one.

True to my word, though, I haven't sent those people the regular monthly newsletters. But I have no way of understanding why people would want to hear from me occasionally, but not regularly.

Food for thought. As a reader, do you subscribe to any authors' newsletters? What made you sign up? How often do you prefer to hear from them?

By the way, if you'd like to sign up to mine and get one of my books free, click here.

Tuesday, 6 August 2019

As a Reader, I Choose Bargain Booksy

Free email services offering ebook deals are all the rage these days. You've probably heard of BookBub (every reader's heard of BookBub, surely?), but they're not the only kid on the block. We've also got Riffle Select, BookGorilla, BooksGoSocial... I've subscribed to them all and more.

If you don't know, readers sign up to one or more of these services, give their email addresses, and set some preferences about the kind of books they like to read. Authors and publishers, on the other hand, pay a fee to have their books advertised, and on a regular basis (daily, weekly, or sometimes monthly) the reader gets a curated list of ebooks emailed to them, based on their preferences.

It's a pretty good arrangement: authors get their books in front of readers who are interested in them, and readers get really good deals on the things they like to read most. Many of those deals are even free (Digital Book Today in particular, has lots of free deals).

BookBub's good too, but as a reader, I have to say my favourite such service, and the one that I've bought the most books off of, has to be the lesser-known Bargain Booksy.

Why Bargain Booksy?

See, none of the other services allows you to exclude books which are in Kindle Unlimited from their emails. And we know how I feel about Kindle Unlimited, don't we? (In a nutshell, they're evil. Pure and simply. Read this blog post to get my full opinion on the matter.)

In the past, this wasn't that big of a deal. Aside from the fact that I've only recently developed such strong feelings against Kindle Unlimited (because they've only recently started taking over as badly), it used to be that the chances of a book in one of these emails being in KU was maybe 10%. Now, it's 95%. And since I refuse to buy Kindle Unlimited books on principle, I'm steadily unsubscribing from services that don't allow me to exclude those from their emails.

Mind you, Bargain Booksy doesn't explicitly give you an option saying "Don't show me books in Kindle Unlimited." That would be ideal, but no. You have to be a bit smart about it.

When you sign up for Bargain Booksy (or change your preferences later), they ask you, among other things, where you buy and read books: Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Apple Books, Scribd, Amazon, etc.

Here's the secret: all you have to do is untick Amazon.

Most books you get will include Amazon links as well (because 99.99% of all ebooks are available on Amazon), but you'll only receive them if they're also available in at least one of the other stores you picked.

Smart, hey? ;-)

Over to you: are you subscribed to any of these subscription services? Which ones? Do you ever buy books based on these emails?

Let me know in the comments below.

Happy reading!