Archive - June 2016

Why I recommend MailerLite for your email lists
The Author’s Lifestyle
A quick, easy & cheap way to get your own email address for your mailing list and still use Gmail
Why you need your own mailing list

Why I recommend MailerLite for your email lists

When it comes to author mailing lists, there are two major programs that most authors seem to use: Mailchimp, and MailerLite. I have paid accounts with both.

Honestly, I’m a way bigger fan of MailerLite. It does have its drawbacks, but the bigger your list gets, the more it’s worth working around those limitations and sucking it up, because the pricing differences become massive.


Now, I’ll be totally honest here, Mailchimp looks like the more promising option when you’re just getting started. And to be honest, I think that’s how they get people.

With MailerLite you get your first 1000 subscribers for free.

With MailChimp, you get your first 2000 subscribers for free.

So at first glance, especially when you’re just getting started, I wouldn’t blame you for going “hey I’ll sign up with MailChimp. After all, it might take me a while to get to 2000 subscribers, that’s double the number of people I can have on my MailerLite list before I have to pay for it.”

But you pay a lot more in the long term. Have a look at MailerLite’s pricing:

Now compare that to MailChimp’s pricing:

5200 subscribers with MailChimp costs the same amount as 25000 subscribers with MailerLite.

You might not think 5000 subscribers is something you’ll ever get to, but believe me, it adds up faster than you might think, especially once you start actively building up your mailing list.

I also find the MailerLite interface to be cleaner, quicker loading, and easier to make email campaigns with.

Now, there are some major downsides to MailerLite though. For one thing, if you have multiple pen names, their list sorting options are very limited. You can split your subscribers into different groups, but honestly, their list sorting really leaves something to be desired. Until recently, myself and a lot of people I know would actually just start new accounts for each list since that was easiest, but MailerLite have decided they don’t allow that anymore. Huge bummer!

I personally still use them though. The list sorting is a bit of a pain, but it’s still manageable, and seeing as it saves me tons of money every month, I think it’s worth a little bit of hassle here and there.

So there’s my reasoning for going with MailerLite. It’s almost (but not entirely) price-based, but that makes such a major difference I think it’s worth it. Full disclosure: there aren’t any affiliate links in this post, I don’t get anything from MailerLite for recommending them. I honestly just find them to be the cheapest and easiest option for making my newsletters for my readers.

Until next time!


The Author’s Lifestyle

Now, while I’ve written a couple of posts in the last few days, they’re also the first posts I’ve written in a month. And I’m not gonna lie, I hadn’t planned on taking that much time off from here. But I also wanted to show you what I was doing, and give you an idea of just what kind of life is possible when you’re a professional author.

The view from my apartment in Dubrovnik.

The thing is, sometimes when you work full time as an author, you get caught up in the “grind”. I know I do. Write, release, rinse, repeat.

And sometimes, when you’re just starting out and you’re not making a living with your writing yet, it seems like an endless road.

Well, most of my posts are informational. That’s the goal. But this one, this one’s completely motivational. I want to show you what’s possible with writing. I want to show you the vacation I had, and the life it’s possible to lead.

To be honest, I have too much tying me to home to really go off and travel the world all the time. Family, of course, and my little doggie. I couldn’t bear to be separated from her full time.But I did just spend two weeks travelling around Florence, Slovenia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Croatia. My husband and I would go out during the day, then we’d come back in the late afternoon and I’d do all my writing work at night. I didn’t have the time to write the posts for the blog that I wanted to, but I did have a fairly successful novel launch during that time that’s already paid for the whole trip.

This is all stuff that writing has paid for. I went on holidays and came back with more money than when I started. What other job can you have where you can say that? I can’t think of a lot of them off the top of my head, and I certainly can’t think of any that I’d be qualified for. Writing affords us the most amazing opportunities. When you’ve been doing it full time it’s easy to take it for granted, and when you’re new it’s easy to feel like it’s an impossible challenge, but I promise you – it is not. I was in your shoes once. Four years ago I pressed publish on my first ever story. I made something like $8 that month.

A year later I was pulling in a full time income.

Now, I can travel the world at will. I’m thinking of going back to Europe in October, we’ll see.

But here are a few photos that show how writing has changed my life. Just think of how it can change yours.

The view from my apartment in Florence

Ljubljana – the most underrated city in Europe in my opinion.

Also Ljubljana

Me enjoying the Slovenian countryside.

Predjama Castle in Slovenia

Enjoying Lake Bled, Slovenia

The view of the old bridge from the restaurant where we had lunch in Mostar, Bosnia.

Plitvice Lakes, Croatia

Split, Croatia

Panorama of the view from our apartment in Dubrovnik, Croatia. This is where Game of Thrones films a whole lot of their stuff!

If this post inspires you to keep writing, well, I have done my job.

Until next time,


A quick, easy & cheap way to get your own email address for your mailing list and still use Gmail

So chances are you’ve probably seen by now that some changes to Gmail means it’s a bad idea to keep using them for your mailing lists. Basically, using your gmail emails is now going to get pretty much all your emails sent to the spam box.


But what do you do if you don’t really care about having your own website, but still want to have your own email that’s pretty easy to use?

Here’s a quick and easy tutorial. This method will cost you around $10 a year, but looks more professional than having a email address (which is also, as far as I’m aware, a totally valid method to getting around the whole gmail thing).

The way this method works is it will forward the emails from your new email address to your old gmail address. When you respond to people, they will get emails from your address, but that’s fine, because the only thing you really need the new email address for is your newsletter.

Now, without any further ado, since I know I sometimes tend to ramble, here are the instructions:


Step 1: register a domain with

First, go to

Now, when you’re on the main site, you want to choose your author website name. The number one, 100% best name to get is

Always buy a .com domain. Even if the .com is taken but .net is available, don’t. People are so used to typing .com now that they’re not going to remember that your website is a .net.

If is taken, try Or

At least one of those three should be available. Click “Add to Cart” and then go to checkout.

Now, when you’re in your cart on, you’ll notice that whois privacy has been added for $3.99. DO NOT TURN THIS OFF. You absolutely want whois privacy on all your domains, it hides the information of the person who registered the domain from the public. Basically, if you don’t have whois protection, anybody with an internet connection can look up your real name and address.

However there’s no reason to pay $3.99 for this. So click the button for Promo Code, and in the window that appears enter ‘PRIVACYPLEASE’ and will give you the whois protection for free.

Then enter your payment info, and buy your domain.

When you’ve bought your domain, you should be taken to your dashboard, which should look something like this:

Click the domain name you just bought. On the right hand side, you should see a menu bar like this one:

Click the “email forwarding” button.

In the “email” section, type the email address you want to use. So, if your domain is and you want your email address to be, simply type “john” in the email box. Then, in the “forward to” box, type in your existing email address.

Click “add record” and you’re done! From now on, any time anyone emails this new email address you created, it will forward your emails to your existing email account. Easy, right?

And you’re done! Congratulations.

Note: Gmail does have a “send email as” function in the account settings that lets you choose which email account you use to send your emails from. DO NOT USE THIS WITH YOUR REAL NAME EMAIL. Some older versions of Outlook let people see all the email addresses associated with that account. For this reason, I haven’t included the instructions to use this method in this post at all.

Why you need your own mailing list


So I know I’ve already written a post or two about mailing lists, but I’ve never covered the real basics: why you need to have your own mailing list in the first place.

In my opinion, there are three main reasons why as an author you absolutely, 100% need to have a mailing list.

  1. It gives you direct access to your customers
  2. Gives you a great marketing base at launch
  3. Opens a ton of doors with other authors in your genre

Now, let’s look at these points, one by one.

1. It gives you direct access to your customers

Right now, without a mailing list, how do you get direct access to your customers, your fans, the people actually buying your books? Sure, you might have a Facebook page, or an author profile, but if you’ve got a page then every post you write is only getting shown to a fraction of your fans (because Facebook want you to pay to boost them) and with an author profile there’s a chance your posts are getting lost in people’s timelines, and you’ve got a very limited scope of what exactly you can send them.

On the other hand, with an email list, you can land directly in your readers’ inbox. You can split test to see what kind of headlines and content get you better responses. You can make it a lot prettier, and include a lot more content than your standard Facebook post.

And more importantly, it lets you contact your fans directly, no matter what happens. You don’t need to depend on Facebook to show your posts to your friends/fans. You don’t need to depend on Amazon to email people who bought your last book about your new ones. Your email list gives you – the author – the tools to contact your fans, the people buying your books, directly. And that’s just so, so important. In part because…

2. It gives you a great marketing base at launch

The first 30 days of a book’s life are the most important at Amazon. In some genres, like romance, this is more true than others, but it generally applies to all genres. What’s the most important thing to make sure your book gets good visibility on Amazon? Also-boughts. And what do you need to get them? Sales. No one knows the exact number, but it’s suspected that in order to get the also-boughts to populate, you need at least 50-100 sales. Borrows don’t count. The faster you get those sales, the faster you’ll end up in other books’ ALBOs. By having a mailing list, when it gets big enough, you can make sure that you’re getting those sales pretty much straight away, and making sure that you hit the also boughts faster than lightning.

And here’s another trick: when you write your launch email, send your readers to your book, but also include links to similar bestselling books. That way, you’re increasing your chances of ending up on the also boughts lists of current bestsellers, which can only increase your book’s visibility.

3. Opens a ton of doors with authors in your genre

See the bit I posted at the bottom about the trick to send readers to other good books in the genre? Well once you’ve built up a good sized mailing list, you can get together with other authors in your genre with similar sized lists, and do a newsletter exchange. Meaning, you link to their book in your newsletter, and they do the same for you. Do that with 3-4 authors per launch and you start multiplying your reach like crazy!

Mailing lists are absolutely invaluable for authors. Every author should have one. I’ll put up a step-by-step tutorial on how to set up a MailerLite account in the next week or so, so if you haven’t got an email list yet, watch for that, coming soon!

’till next time, peace out!


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