Why I Build a Writing Community Not an Email List

Many authors say email lists are essential to promote their writing, I disagree.

There was a large number of writers on Medium, promoting the use of email subscriptions.

I tried to start two separate email subscription lists and failed both times. I say failed I got 5 subscribers.

I devoured all the posts on how to build an email list and nothing happened. I plugged away at it for two months writing posts every week for my followers.

Then the reading rate dropped to 20% and I new email subscriptions were not for me.

Writing for my email list was taking time out of writing posts. Publishing posts were getting me more reads. I sent emails weekly and tried to interact with my subscribers. When the read rate fell below one person, I knew that this was not my area.

Why do you want an email list?

I wanted an email list to build a small group of people I could interact with, share ideas with and grow as a writer. Yes, I wanted to promote my writing and that elusive first novel but, mainly I wanted to grow a small community.

Yes, an email list is a good way to sell books and products you have but, is that all a list should be about.

 I have lost count of the number of lists I have unsubscribed from because they offer me nothing.

Writers that start with content and then offer nothing more than advertisements. They start out well with a few writing tips but, soon they turn into one long line of advertising. There are of course exceptions to this rule. Some writer’s carry on producing tips and giving you value every time you open their email.

What is the aim of your email list, would a writing group be better?

Writing Community
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What I did.

Having failed at email subscriptions, I closed my list down.

After a couple of months of recovery and concentrating on my writing I knew I still wanted to build a community. After a couple of weeks of throwing ideas around my head I stubbled Facebook groups.

Two months ago I started my Facebook group Bloggers & Medium Support. I know the name is awful and I would be interested in any suggestions but, I digress.

The group has evolved over the months, it started as a place to post links to your posts for exposure. It has now grown into a supportive group of people who are always there to cheerlead for others. We still share links but, interaction has gone up between followers.

I value every single person in that group and have made some lasting writing friends.

The advantage is that I have a place to ask those questions I would be embarrassed to ask elsewhere. I also have a place where people read my posts and give me feedback. I have interacted with every person in the group and read some amazing posts over the months.

Several posts made my top 3for this month. Posts I would have never found if it had not been for this group. I interact on it every day and so do the majority of the members. We have built a writer haven.

It hasn’t been easy, the group has taken some work. On average I spend an hour a day. The work has paid off and finally, it has developed into something I am proud of.

If the time came and I needed to promote my book. I could do so easily on this platform. Not that I want this to be the sole aim of the group but, I know I have a support group if I was to publish.


Email subscriptions work well for many writers who have more followers than me. They were not for me.

One mould does not fit all, a Facebook group is far more my niche and could be yours.

Have you had any success with email subscriptions? What did you do to achieve this?

Published by Sam H Arnold

Sam H Arnold is a writer of True Crime, Parenting and Writing Tips articles. If you have enjoyed her work you might consider donating her a coffee on Ko-Fi. Links to this and all her other work can be found on the about me page.

11 thoughts on “Why I Build a Writing Community Not an Email List

  1. Good post. I am glad you found your group. I mostly stay far away from Facebook as I have had bad experiences.. But you gave me something to think about… We all have to find a niche, find something that makes us comfortable

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Omg omg I don’t get Pinterest too and when I open the app, I feel like the dumbest person on earth as I don’t know how to look for what I want or do anything in my account. I have 1 person following me, pretty sure it is a porn site. Too scared to open and check.
        Glad Facebook worked for you

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Good Morning Sam, You hit the nail on the head. I like the idea of “a writing community” rather than an “e-mail list.” E-mail list sounds so cold and uninviting. Thank you for sharing and have a blessed weekend.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I briefly had an email list as well. I managed to amass a decent number of subscribers but I found I wasn’t telling them anything I wasn’t also sharing across my other social media platforms. I felt like I had to provide exclusive incentives to keep people interested, which was just more work for me. In the end I realized I was better off focusing my attention on my social communities instead. So many people say that writers — especially indie authors — need to have mailing lists so you can capitalize on those contacts when you need to but so far, I’m not convinced.

    Liked by 2 people

      1. Another thing social media has over e-mail lists: two-way conversations! It’s kind of depressing to send an email out to all of these contacts and only have cold analytics to tell you whether or not your work is resonating.

        Liked by 1 person

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