Advent Calendar Round Robin Anyone?

I want to round up authors to make this happen. Every day from Dec 1st to 25th every author in this round robin would send an email out to their list with one author highlighted and presenting her gift to the readers. Of course, readers can opt out any time, and it would go out only to those interested in it. But that might be a lot of people. We could send something free (really free, not sign-ups) every day: short stories, coloring pages, gift card giveaway, Holiday recipes, jokes, calendar pages, links to funny video, any kind of swag. Of course, everything should be romance related and stories beat swag any time. We could all pitch in for a big gift card on the last day. That might entice readers to stick to the list to the end.

An entry could read something like:

Today’s sponsor is xy. She is a bestselling author of … [author bio]. You can find her on [favorite social medium or website or Amazon author page]. If you want to learn more about her, sign up to her newsletter [here]. Her gift to you today is [prequel short story, inserted right into email.] If you want to know how the story evolves, [buy Book 1 in series here.]

So although we give something away for free, we also have the chance to add our newsletter link, social media links, and highlight a book of ours. I think this sounds worth the work to set up the newsletters.

I’ve created a Google spreadsheet for you to sign-up. Any additional info would be gathered once we know whether this is going to happen. Please state if you’re going to have a release/cover reveal/book announcement in December so that the email will highlight you on that very day.

We don’t need to be 24 authors, and they don’t have to be of the same genre (all romance though). I could prepare goodies for 3-4 days—the more, the merrier though. And—thinking big here!—we could have several round robins for different romance subgenres or heat levels if there are enough authors interested.

Access the Google spreadsheet and sign in to show interest

And as I’ve been asked how to set this up and make sure that people don’t unsubscribe from the entire list, but just the calendar emails, I’ve written another lengthy instruction.

TLDNR: Have them in a group and once they don’t want to be in there anymore, get them out.

I’m on classic MailerLite, so this instruction will be of most use to those who use them, too. But I should think you’d be able to work out how to adapt this to your EMS. And sadly, no, I won’t be able to help you. All I know is other EMS might call “groups” by another name: “tags” or “segments”.

This is meant to be a guideline and an instruction for those who want to do as I do. Always be consistent with your author voice.

Create a group

Go to subscribers, groups, and click that orange button and create a group. I’ve named mine „advent calendar round robin 2023“ because I’m terrible at remembering things and would like to know even in two years time what that group did and why I had created it.

Populate that group

Who is going to get the emails? Your entire list, including even those in the welcome automation? Or just hand-picked subscribers? Or those who actively opted in for the calendar?

Either: Chuck all your subscribers into this group

Go to subscribers, groups, and find the one you want to send these emails to. Click it to open.

Click that drop down arrow and „Select all.“

A new button showed up. Click „Action“ and select „Add to group.“ Find the group you had created earlier and click it. Repeat for any other groups you want to send this to.

Or: Let your subscribers decide

In November and December all your emails could have this section.

Send the people who click to a page on your website. Could be anything, it doesn’t even have to be a working link. But why would you send them out into nothing? This is meant to be a fun event, let’s make it truly enjoyable for our readers. Make it a proper link to a page you own.

Make those clicks count

So now they clicked on some arbitrary link, and we’ve got to make sure it puts them into the group.

Go to Automations. Click that button to create a new workflow.

Name that workflow something you’ll remember. Choose „When subscriber clicks a link“. Put in the link from that button in your email. In this example, that would be:

Click the + below and select action, then choose „Copy to a group“. In the sidebar, choose the group you had created earlier. Save.

So now your emails contain a button to sign up, that will put all those who click it into your calendar group. Great.

Which method to use?

I dunno. Both work. The first assumes that everybody on your list would be interested in the calendar. Which might be true. Or not.

The second gives them the option to sign in.

I haven’t decided yet, which method I will use. It’s months until then, after all.

About consent

Consent is paramount—who would know better than romance authors? Don’t send emails to people who didn’t ask for it. AND give them an easy way out. That is not just common courtesy, nor even a legal requirement—it is wise. People who stumble over a fat, big button to get out of unwanted emails are far less likely to mark you as spam. And as we all know that’s something we want to avoid. So let’s talk about how to set up an exit for them.

The unsubscribe button

Seriously, there is nothing new here. If you followed so far, you’ve got that covered.

Put some explanatory text into your emails. INTO ALL OF THEM! Make it easy for people to opt out.

Make the button’s link go to some page on your website (we’ve had that).

Make that link nice/beautiful/funny/sexy—whatever your style is.

Create yet another automation.

This is almost exactly like the first automation we did. Instead of the opt-in link, you now put in the opt-out link, and instead of “Add to group” you choose “Remove from group”. Pick the right group, and save. Done.

So now you’ve got a full setup: People opt in to your calendar emails, get shoved into the right group. If they choose to get out, you oblige.

Send those emails. Finally.

No big deal. All you’ve got to do is to send it to those in your calendar group.

I definitely won’t be composing an email every day. I’d be scared out of my mind that something happened that would keep me from it. So I would set them up in advance, as soon as I know what to put into it. And then I would schedule them so that they’d go out without my doing.

I’m not sure whether I will send them this early. Usually I send my emails at 10:15 am. Might pick something earlier for those who would like to start their day with that freebie.

The end.