Hey writers! Are you ready to build an audience without paid advertising, while being authentic and in a place where you can shine? If the answer is YES, then this episode is for you!

In today’s episode, Lauren talks about email marketing as an alternative to the social media popularity game and shares the top 10 benefits of having an active and well-fostered mailing list. 

We know dealing with the ever-changing social media algorithm can be exhausting and lead to burnout. But having a list of engaged people can help you share your writing publicly without constantly having to post to be seen. Plus, it is the perfect space to build trust with your audience at a fraction of what you would normally pay for ads!

Like Lauren says, social media fads come and go, but email usually stays the same!

Building an audience is about creating connections, nurturing your readers, and fostering intimacy. Not sure how to do all of that? Don’t worry! Head over to schoolforwriters.com/mailinglists and start building your loyal audience today!

Thank you so much for tuning in today! If you haven’t listened to episode 41 where Lauren and marketing expert Liz McVoy talk about online marketing tips for writers, then go back and check it out!

We want to know who you are and where you’ve been! Come hang out with Lauren in the Writers Squad Facebook group and over on Instagram @laurenmariefleming. We can’t wait to chat with you there!

You can also stay tuned for new weekly episodes @schoolforwriters, and if you want to spread the love even further, consider following, rating, and reviewing!

Resources mentioned in this episode:
-Are you ready to start, build, and foster your mailing list? Go to schoolforwriters.com/mailinglists to learn how!

Book recommendation of the week:
Accidentally Engaged by Farah Heron.

Love audiobooks? Listen on Libro.fm and support independent bookstores. Plus, use this link and we both get a free audiobook: http://libro.fm/referral?rf_code=lfm116869

Wondering why we don’t link to Amazon? Check out Episode 2 of the Business School for Writers Podcast to hear all about how supporting independent bookstores helps you see more stories like yours out in the world.


Picture this. It’s 2003, I’m living in Florence, Italy, sitting at an Internet cafe, and a woman next to me asks if I have an invite to that hip new site everyone is talking about called Friendster.

“It’s a whole new way of connecting with people,” she tells me in Italian. “I hear all the Americans are doing it.”

Pretending to be cool, I told her I totally wish I could help, but I’d used up all my invites. She sighed and went back to her email while I secretly opened my Internet Explorer browser to Ask Jeeves and put in the term “Friendster.”

That was the beginning of my relationship with social media. Since then, I’ve spent years of my life scrolling through Friendster, MySpace, LiveJournal, Twitter, Tumblr, FetLife, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Clubhouse, TikTok, GoodReads and more. If there was a social media app to be had, I was on it.

Trouble was, every time the latest social media trend came out, I had to completely rebuild an audience, learn new skills, and figure out how to best increase my odds for being seen on this brand new platform.

Then, just when I got the hang of it, the companies would introduce new features, switch up algorithms, and basically make me live on the app in order to get people to see my content.

Constantly trying to gain more followers on social media was soul crushing, exhausting, and keeping me from the exact thing I was on there to do: create a thriving writing career.

Mailing Lists are an Alternative to the Social Media Popularity Game.

The first time I sent my book out to publishers, they wanted me to have 100,000 followers on social media, which I didn’t, so they refused my book. I had a recent client with over a million followers on Instagram turned down for not having enough of an audience.

Around the same time, a colleague of mine with 2,000 Instagram followers got a massive six-figure book deal and made it on best-seller lists when her book came out. How did she do what my Insta-famous client could not?

Her email list.

This colleague had spent years fostering trust, building rapport, and creating a loyal fan base through email marketing.

Email is the best way to build an audience, monetize your content, and publicize your offering. Emailing is easier and more effective than social media, and it’s a great medium for writers. 

That’s why spending time building and fostering your mailing list should be one of your biggest focuses as a writer.

Mailing Lists Matter

The only thing that hasn’t changed about online marketing since the days of MySpace is my email address. I have tens of thousands of followers on various different social media platforms, and most of them never see my posts. 

Social media fads come and go, and algorithms are always changing – but emails stay the same.

That’s why mailing lists matter. They are the easiest, most efficient, and most personalized way to connect with your audience.

If you’re looking for full support building your list, be sure to go grab my guide to mailing lists for writers at SchoolForWriters.com/MailingLists.

Still not convinced you need a mailing list? Here are the top 10 benefits of having an active and well-fostered mailing list: 

  1. You own the list, which means you can take it with you if you switch email providers and foster it however you like.
  2. You don’t have to constantly be emailing to have your message seen. Unlike social media platforms that require you to live on their apps if you want your audience to see your posts, most of your mailing list will see your emails when you send them whether you email once a week or once a year. (More on the nuances of this later.)
  3. You can educate your new and old subscribers in a specific order and style you want, versus them randomly seeing posts on social media.
  4. It’s a lot more cost-efficient than paying for advertisement.
  5. Emails are intimate and personal. Don’t believe me? Let a stranger read through your inbox. Or worse, a parent. For most people their inbox is a very private place, so when you enter it with an email, you’re seen more like a friend or colleague than a stranger on the internet.
  6. You build trust with your audience more easily. Because emails are less superficial, more intimate, and more story-driven, they’re a great way to build connection with your audience and make them feel like they’re a friend of yours, which in turn builds trust.
  7. Mailing Lists help you share your writing publicly. Most social media these days is based around visuals, which is great if you want to be a visual storyteller, but not so great if you’re reliant on words. Mailing lists, on the other hand, are 99% word based, so this is a writer’s place to shine!
  8. Mailing Lists can be/feel exclusive. While you can post your mailing list publicly, more often than not the content within it is only available to view if someone is on your mailing list. You can even charge for mailing list! Many creators do that through Patreon or directly in their mail provider. 
  9. You can target a specific part of your audience. Say, for example, you want to reach only people that haven’t bought your book, or only people that have. Doing that on social media is practically impossible, but targeting who gets your emails is simple to do in most email marketers.
  10. People click on links in emails. Social media is created to keep you on it, so it’s hard to impossible to get someone to stop scrolling and click a link to your book, offer, product or website. Email, however, makes clicking easy and encourages people to learn more about what you have to offer.

All of the above is why mailing lists are the best way to build a loyal fan base for your writing, monetize your content, and publicize your offerings: all things you need to grow a thriving writing career.

Now that you’re convinced that you need a mailing list, you need to set one up! We have a whole guide on how to do that for you at SchoolForWriters.com/mailinglists, so go grab that.

In that guide, I take my decades of mailing list experience and research and break it down into bite-sized, actionable, and easy steps for you to start and grow your mailing list.

Whether you’re just starting out or feel like your existing list is stale, this guide will help you foster your mailing list with ease, build a larger following, and make more money as a writer.

Grab it at SchoolForWriters.com/mailinglists.

That link is in your show notes.

To recap this episode:

  • If you want to build an audience of loyal readers that you can take with you wherever you go, then you need to focus on mailing lists even before social media.
  • Mailing lists are the best way to foster a relationship with your readers, publicize your writing, and monetize your content. They’re also a natural place for writers to shine.
  • If you want to start a mailing list, or infuse life into an existing list that has fallen stale, go to SchoolForWriters.com/mailinglists for our extensive guide.

And remember, mailing lists don’t have to be hard. Think of it like simply sending an email to friends.

If you found this episode helpful, ping us at @schoolforwriters on Instagram and let us know what you implemented! We love hearing from you.

Until next week, happy writing!