Next Phase of the Newsletter Move

I’m moving all of my newsletters from one service provider to another, as mentioned a few weeks ago. A number of you have told me that you find this process interesting, so I’ll keep you updated each week on my progress. There are a lot of variables to juggle, and since I have three newsletters, it’s a bit complicated. 🙂

So far this month, I’ve migrated the subscribers to my contemporary romance newsletter, Heroes & Happy Endings, to the new service. I built a new sign-up page and welcome sequence, then updated the link here on the website. I had to split the list to meet the specs for my first ‘send’ from the new service, so the first send went out last week. The second one, to the rest of the H&HE NL list, goes out this week.

The sign-up link is also in the interiors of my ebooks, so over the past few days, I’ve updated the ebook interiors for 23 books (all of my contemporary romances) and uploaded them to 9 portals. This means that new customers will get the new interior with the new link. The old link will remain in the ebooks owned by existing customers, so I’ll leave the welcome sequence running at the old service and import new subscribers every month to the new service before sending the monthly newsletter. I’ll leave that for a few months, anticipating that the traffic will slow to a trickle.

I’ve also migrated the subscribers to my paranormal romance newsletter, Dragons & Angels, to the new service. Those subscribers will get an update this week from the new service, inviting them to choose their portals in their preferences. This is a feature that I really like. My paranormal romances are moving to Kindle Unlimited, and there are discount coupons available at some of the other portals. Using these preferences, I’ve scheduled updates to Dragons & Angels subscribers who shop at those portals, with links specific to those portals, to go out on the 31st. (This makes me feel clever.)

I’m participating in a PNR promotion this year, which generates a monthly list of new subscribers. I’m going to continue to bring them onboard at the old service, then export them to the new service each month.

Next job is moving the Knights & Rogues subscribers. They’re getting an update this week from the old service for the publication of A Most Inconvenient Earl and after that, I’ll start their migration to the new service. The sign-up form and welcome sequence is already done, so those book interiors need to be updated (fortunately only at Amazon, since there are about 50 books to update and upload). The other wrinkle is that I have a newsletter “tour” for Ravensmuir & Kinfairlie set up at the old service. I’ve turned it off for new sign-ups but existing ones will continue and complete the tour. If I rebuild that at the new service, it won’t happen before the fall.

And then there are the newsletters for other languages than English. I’ll do those last.

That’s my progress so far!

First Newsletter Send

I sent the first newsletter from the new service yesterday and at this end, it looks as if everything went well. The delivery rate was really good – much better than at the old service – so that’s a relief.

The first newsletter to go out was the March Heroes & Happy Endings – but only to part of the subscriber list. I’m following the recommendations for shifting services in increments, so I had to divide the list somehow. If you subscribe to Heroes & Happy Endings and opened the January newsletter, then you were on yesterday’s delivery list. If not, you’re on next Tuesday’s list. This is recommended to keep the first send under a certain count of emails. Now that it’s done, all future newsletters can go out to all subscribers at the same time.

Some people are getting a warning about insecure servers when they click on a link. The help desk at the newsletter service recommends turning off your WIFI and trying again. This has worked for my subscribers so far, so if you get that message, give it a try.

In April, all three English newsletters will come from the new service. The dragons have moved and I’ll move the knights after next week’s new release alert is delivered. I’ll move the newsletters in other languages after that.

I’ve updated the links in the ebook interiors for Flatiron Five Fitness so far. The book list has been updated and the newsletter sign-up link. If you own any of those books, your portal of choice may offer a new edition. (Amazon won’t – it will just deliver the new version to new customers. The changes aren’t big enough for them to push the new edition to existing customers.) Next up, updates to Flatiron Five Tattoo book interiors and the Coxwells. Then I hear the dragons calling…

Dragons & Angels Newsletter

Phase 2 of my transition to a new newsletter service is done – the dragons have moved. There’s a new sign-up page, a new sign-up bonus read and a new welcome sequence for my monthly Dragons & Angels newsletter.

The first Dragons & Angels newsletter from the new service will be sent on April 13.

Now, on to those knights…

Here’s the sign-up link for Dragons & Angels, in case you don’t already subscribe.

And here’s the sign-up link for Heroes & Happy Endings, my monthly contemporary romance newsletter. If you sign up now, you’ll get your first email on March 23.

Changes to the Newsletter

I’ve made some changes to my newsletter, in order to make a fresh start in the new year.

First, the newsletter will come from a new email address. Please add deborah AT deborahcooke DOT com to your address book. The next newsletters will go out the week of the 26th and you might need to look for them in your spam folder (or promotion folder if you use gmail) because of the changed sender address.

Second, I changed newsletter service providers. The main difference on your end is that the newsletter will look different. I’m still playing with the design!

Third, I stopped all of the automations and simplified them. Each of the groups below now has a single welcome message when you sign up.

(I realized later that if you’d subscribed in the last couple of weeks, I probably cut off your welcome sequence. 😦 I apologize for that, but the fact that I made this mistake is yet more proof that things had gotten too complicated.)

Fourth, I eliminated the dedicated series lists. They seemed like a good idea, but were proving hard to maintain. I needed to simplify things so I can write more.

Fifth, I eliminated the All the News option. Compiling this newsletter was a problem as it always exceeded the maximum size for the email.

Sending too long of a newsletter means several things:
• the long newsletter will be truncated by some email servers, which has to be annoying to subscribers;
• the truncation cuts off the footer. This means that the bit of code that tracks whether the newsletter is opened hasn’t even been delivered, so it can’t be triggered, so the information about open rates is just wrong.
• my previous provider also had some issues with reporting when subscribers read the newsletter on their phones. Given how many people who do that, I had no faith in the data.

There are lots of sexy things you can do to resend to subscribers who haven’t opened the newsletter or to re-engage with subscribers, but if the open data is wrong, then those really aren’t possibilities anymore.

The new set-up is much like the old in that there are three groups in my list:

Dragons & Angels is the newsletter for my Deborah Cooke paranormal romances. Subscribers were added to this list who had chosen Deborah’s paranormal romances in the old list, and also if they had joined the Dragons of Incendium list.

Heroes & Bad Boys is the newsletter for my Deborah Cooke contemporary romances. Subscribers were added to this list who had chosen Deborah’s contemporary romances in the old list, and also if they had joined the Flatiron Five list.

Knights & Rogues is the newsletter for my Claire Delacroix medieval romances. Subscribers were added to this list who had chosen Claire’s medieval romances in the old list, and also if they had joined any of the medieval romance series lists (like the one for the Champions of St. Euphemia).

Those subscribers who had chosen to receive All the News were added to all three groups.

For 2018, each group will get a newsletter when there’s news about relevant books. I’m going to focus more on new releases. Subscribers will get a 30% discount on many new releases for shopping in my online store – this offer will only last a short time around the launch date. The transaction will be processed in my Selz store and the book will be delivered by BookFunnel, who will ensure that the book is delivered and ready to be read on the device of choice.

I’m pretty happy with this change and how well the transition went. Be aware that managing your group membership is a little different. On the old service, you could update your preferences and change which groups you belonged to. On the new service, when you choose to unsubscribe, you can leave specific groups or leave the list completely. To join new groups, you need to use the links above to subscribe to them.

My next newsletters will be delivered by the new service from the new address. Look for Dragons & Angels on December 26, Knights & Rogues on December 27, and Heroes & Bad Boys on December 28. They might end up in your spam or promotions folder this first time, so keep an eye out for them.

I have a lot of new ideas for the newsletter for 2018 and am looking forward to this fresh start!