Your mailing list is your most important asset.
After your actual book, that is.
You can use it to build a rapport with your audience, announce upcoming events, build a buzz for your book, request blurbs and reviews, launch a crowdfunded campaign, ask your audience their opinions about your content, title, or cover design, let people know about special offers, drive viewers to your book trailer, recruit helpers, and more.
Ideally, your contacts will all be in one place, so you don’t have to use multiple lists to communicate with your audience. By directing all your contacts to one mailing list, you can consolidate information and communicate in an orderly, organized way. That’s mailing list management.
Mailing list management systems take a little time to understand, but they’re a necessity for ongoing communication. Here are the biggest players:
Here’s PC magazine’s May, 2015, article about The Best Email Marketing Software of 2015 Reviewed and a related article, How to Choose an Email Marketing Service for Your Small Business. And here’s an article called Best Email Marketing Services (last updated in July, 2017) with a good rundown of pros and cons of ten different services. (It’s on a site called Website Set-up, which also has other helpful information.)
This might seem a little intimidating (especially if you aren’t a techie), but if you’re serious about your writing career, you need to manage your mailing list, or hire someone to do it for you.
The most important considerations in choosing a mailing list management system are price, availability of help/service, and whether they offer an auto-responder, which you can use to set up and send automated responses at certain times (one month after a person signs up to join your mailing list, for example) or after certain events (after a person buys something from your website).
I use MailChimp because it’s free for small users, relatively easy to set up, and has good online instructions. It offers a paid version that includes an auto-responder. (I think the paid version offers on-line help, too.) Mailchimp can also be set up to automatically send your blog posts to everyone on your mailing list, on whatever schedule you choose (daily, weekly, monthly, or on-demand).