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Stark Reflections on Writing and Publishing

Mar 31, 2022

In this episode, Mark interviews Holly Darling, an author and email marketing consultant.

Prior to the main content, Mark welcomes new Patron Holger Nils Pohl, shares a brief personal update, and a word about this episode's sponsor.

You can learn more about how you can get your work distributed to retailers and library systems around the world at

During their conversation, Mark and Holly Talk About

  • Holly's background as a romance author and how that led to her passion about email marketing
  • Her background in the entertainment business doing email and social media for musicians with large record companies
  • Responding to questions like: "Why do I need an author email?" or the idea of: "I'm a new author and don't yet have a readership yet."
  • The industry average of open rates being anywhere between 18% and 22% but how open-rates are not a reliable metric
  • How author email offers you a lot more control over the reader journey
  • The importance of a four-email 2nd phase nurturing aspect of the welcome sequence
  • Building a welcome sequence on paper first before moving on to the email service provider
  • How readers are 42% more likely to buy from an author inside of a welcome sequence than in a standard newsletter update
  • The way that a well-thought-out nurturing plan can help reduce your emails getting targeted as spam
  • What a lead magnet is and what type of content can work best in that regard
  • How, in sales, people buy from other people they know, like, and trust
  • That the trust element is what we're working on inside of the nurturing phase of the welcome sequence
  • The first short email in that sequence which usually contains the following elements:
    • A picture of yourself
    • A link to the reader magnet being offered
    • Orientate them by reminding them how they got there
    • Set the tone for what's to come
  • The importance of the trust in the email delivery service and the receiving email's trust of you
  • How clicks signal to the email service provider that the person sending the email is "legit"
  • Holly's typical email timing sequence for those 1st four emails is:
    1) immediately when they sign up
    2) 2 days later
    3) 4 days later
    4) 7 days later
  • Why Holly is a huge fan of the double opt in
  • That every email service provider out there allows you to customize your standard double opt-in message
  • The survey Holly has added to her emails asking if subscribers to the email want to receive all of the news she has, or if they only want to know about new releases and promotional offers
  • What tends to happen, statistically, when you give someone more than two choices or options
  • The importance of tagging people based on their interactions or status, including why it's good to tag people on their way "out"
  • eMail service providers that Holly would recommend
  • How the initial emails, particularly in the welcome sequence, need to have a heavier text component to them
  • A reminder to focus on the click rather than on the email open rate
  • The free courses Holly has on her site, as well as the 1:1 coaching she does with authors
  • Use code MARK20 to get 20% off any of Holly's paid courses
  • And more...

Links of Interest:


Holly Darling is a self-published author and an email marketing consultant for authors based in the theatre city of Stratford, Ontario. Over the years, she has helped nearly 1,000 entrepreneurs grow their businesses with proven email marketing strategies. And it all began with her passion for writing!

Holly's mission is to teach writers how to use emails to increase their sales and cultivate loyal fan bases. Her signature course, Email Marketing for Authors, is for writers looking to use email to grow their business. Whether you’re a brand new author or an experienced writer trying to cut through the noise, Holly's passion is to help authors turn their readers into raving fans.

The introductory, end, and bumper music for this podcast (“Laser Groove”) was composed and produced by Kevin MacLeod of and is Licensed under Creative Commons: By Attribution 3.0