In this episode, we are going to talk about one of our favorite topics, favorite because it is currently–and likely will be for a long time–the most powerful form of marketing that you can control. We’re talking about email … and specifically how you can increase the delivery of your emails. In other words, how to make sure they GET to your list’s in boxes.

Email is the most powerful tool for selling books. But it only works if your emails arrive in reader’s inboxes successfully.

Quick News:

Why This is Important

  • As we just said, email is the most effective tool for driving online sales.
  • But … email only works if people get the emails you send.
  • If you show up in spam or in “promotions” your emails are far less likely to work.
  • If you have gmail, do you ever say, “Oh, wow, that’s right … I have two other tabs to look at!” Because you haven’t looked for days or weeks.

How ISP Decide What to Deliver

  • 95% of email gets deleted without ever making it to the spam box.
  • ISPs look at how people interact with your emails to decide whether or not they should be delivered.
  • Okay, we could get into a lot of technical stuff here, but the goal is to make sure you’re doing the things that raise the odds of your emails not getting zapped, or ending up in your reader’s spam box.

Featured Patron: Eloise Whyte

  • Her website is The website has a growing community of readers who visit to find out about newest releases and learn about the latest additions to the Christian Fiction Directory, which has a division called the WISP Directory especially for showcasing indie and small press fiction titles.

How to Improve Deliverability

  • Double Opt In
    1. A “Please confirm …” email is sent to your potential subscriber. They have to click this.
  • Create the kind of emails people want to open. ISPs look at the open rate for emails when determining spam status.
    1. This brings us back to content being king. Not only in your stories, but every single thing you write. For many of the people on your list, they’ll read more of your newsletters than your novels, and it might be a long time before they try one of your short stories or novels. So the impression, style, voice, and content you give in your emails is critical to them trying your stories or not.
    2. Survey your readers!
  • Create an onboarding campaign. These get great open rates.
  • Avoid a fancy template. This guarantee you will always go into the “promotions” tab.
  • Use a trusted sender like MailChimp or ConvertKit.
  • Send Frequently
    1. People will forget you
    2. Spotlight Effect
    3. How Spam Traps Work
      • You can poison your list!
      • At least quarterly to avoid spam traps.
  • Don’t Sent Too Frequently
    1. For most novelists, the ideal frequency is monthly.  
      • If have have riveting content, sure, send more often. But back to the idea of Content Being King, far better to send an excellent email once a month than two okay emails every two or three weeks.
    2. Recommend books by similar novelists.
      • No, you’re NOT sending them to your competition. You become a resource, a trusted voice, and your core readers are LOOKING for other stories like yours
  • Eliminate Bounces
    1. Hard bounce. The address does not exist.
    2. Soft bounce. Might be “box size exceeded” or they’ve stopped checking. After a certain number of soft bounces, Mailchimp will remove the address.
  • Eliminate Inactive Emails – It is not about the size of your list.
    1. You don’t want people who don’t want you.
  • Keep a consistent “from” name
  • How to decide what your “From” name should be
    1. James L. Rubart or Jim Rubart?
  • Subscribe To Your Newsletter and Check Your Sending Reputation
    1. In gmail click the little down arrow next to “reply”
    2. Click “show original”
    3. You want your SPF, DKIM,  and DMARC to all say ‘PASS’
    4. Take you SPF record and check it at
  • Configure Valid DKIM and SPF Records. For MailChimp Info.


  • Jim and I would like to write an onboarding drip campaign for one lucky listener.
  • Not only will you get an amazing series of emails, but we are going to use this as an example series of emails for other listeners. So all of our listeners will get a copy of the ~~emails promoting your book.  
  • Most podcast listeners listen while driving so if you can remember to enter to win when you get home, you have a good chance of winning.
  • Enter to win.


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