Thursday, 12 March 2015

More Learning Curve on This Whole Publishing Thing: Mailing Lists

I keep running into these unexpected roadblocks.  Today's particular challenge: mailing lists.

Initially I thought I would definitely have one, but then I heard how it's becoming more and more obsolete, especially in today's Twitter and Facebook oriented world.  Then I heard scary stories about running afoul of the anti-spam legislation and thought: this is probably something I want to avoid.

Since then I've talked to more authors who say their mailing list is invaluable.  Stuff gets lost in the noise for Twitter and Facebook.  Fans want to know when an author is having a contest or will be at an event or is releasing something new.

Ah, I said to myself (because I talk to myself a lot, I'm kind of like Gollum from Lord of the Rings that way ... even to the point of liking sushi and preferring the night to the day ... comparison is starting to freak me out ... back to mailing lists), this is one of things I should do as a Published Author.  Things which connect to fans are good.

I scrape together an hour of time and go boldly forth into the world of MailChimp, a company which manages the actual mailing list for you and keeps up to date on all those pesky anti-spam laws and opt-in/opt-outs for you.  I'm feeling pretty good about myself when I suddenly hit a patch of gravel on my toboggan hill of progress.  (For those who haven't had the pleasure of hurtling down a hill atop a tiny scrap of plastic, it's awesome.  Unless you hit gravel, at which point the sled stops dead and you go tumbling forward for the rest of the ride.)

Young Timmy is caught in my metaphor.

MailChimp wants an address to attach to the form.  An actual physical address where people can send mail to me.

Although I'm all for connecting with fans, I'd rather like to keep the actual place where I hang around in my sweatpants as something of a mystery.  (I'm sure a dedicated stalker can still find me, but I'd prefer not to make it easy for the lazy ones.)  Which means I now need to explore the fascinating and thrilling world of PO Boxes, tool of mass marketing pyramid schemes and spy-action dead drops. 

I wonder if they'll get annoyed if I hum the Mission Impossible theme song every time I go to check the mail?

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