by Patty Smith Hall, @pattywrites
One of my goals for 2017 has been to develop a quality newsletter that I could release each quarter. A nice goal, but with only 32 names on my list–I’ve got to remember to put out those sign-up sheets–it almost seemed like a waste of time.
Enter Ryan Zee.
For those unfamiliar with this marketing website, Ryan Zee works with authors to grow their social media presence through 1) building email lists for author newsletters and 2) growing your following on Amazon and Bookbub. For our purpose today, we’re only going to focus on email lists.
Here’s how it works: each week, Ryan Zee opens, a new genre focused contest. One week, it could be historical romance; the next small-town romance. The genres vary widely from erotic to Christian fiction so finding a contest with your genre is relatively easy. Sometimes, they even break them down according to publishers like the one they ran for Harlequin authors last December. Each contest generally has ten to twenty-five authors participating.
Once you chose the contest you’d like to participate in, you submit your book and pay a small fee—usually around $50. You will also be asked to give 2 copies of your novel or novella, e-book or hard copy to the winners of the drawing. When your application is accepted, the site provides you with a custom-made graphic to post on your Facebook and web page as well as a contest landing page made specifically for your contest. There are also tips on how to increase your social media presence as well as updates on the contest progression.
Once the contest is over, you’re receive the names of the two winners. In every contest, the first-place winner receives an e-reader as well as a copy of every book advertised while the second-place winner receives books.
A week to ten days after the contest is completed, you’ll receive a file with readers’ email addys. To clarify, the reader has a choice as to which author newsletter they will receive. In other words, if there are 2400 readers who enter the contest and you receive 900 of those email addys, it is because those readers chose your mailing list. They’re interested in your work.
So what kind of results did I have using Ryan Zee? My email list grew from an anemic 32 to well over 900 after my first contest. I added another 700 with the Harlequin contest previously mentioned. While the site offers a 50% open rate, I saw an open rate of 60.5% as compared to the industry standard of 14.9%. The click-through rate was steady at 6.9(industry standard—1.5) A little over a hundred unsubscribed after the second newsletter. From this list, I organized a street team of 15 dedicated readers.
The only downside I found in using Ryan Zee is availability. Slots fill up quickly so it’s best to check the website each week for updates on future contest. Another way to work around this is to organize with other author who are looking to expand their email list. Ryan Zee will set up a contest for your group.
Seven women seek husbands to help them rebuild a Kansas town.
Meet seven of Turtle Springs, Kansas’, finest women who are determined to revive their small town after the War Between the States took most of its men. . .and didn’t return them. The ladies decide to advertise for husbands and devise a plan for weeding out the riff raff. But how can they make the best practical choices when their hearts cry out to be loved?
Patty Smith-Hall is a multi-published, award-winning author with Love Inspired Historical/Heartsong and currently serves as president of the ACFW-Atlanta chapter. She currently lives in North Georgia with her husband of 30+ years, Danny; two gorgeous daughters and a future son-in-love. Her next release, New Hope Sweethearts will
be available in July on Amazon.