I have been blogging for about 5 years now. I love trying new things as I blog. I see blogging as playing a game of lemonade stand, but you can actually make money at this game. But the reason it is like a game is because you never can be 100% sure people will click on or buy things.
So I have tied social media but never a mailing list. I tried to create my own using google docs forms but was never really happy with the outcome. Too much copy and paste and not enough people would sign up. For the 50 Things to Know company I made a mailing list on mail chimp. Then I made a few campaigns. I used the names I already had and put a forum on the blog and a link from the fifty books. I even tell people about free days and they an get a free book by signing up. You can actually see how many people clicked on link to open the email and how many people clicked on the links on the email. I was getting a very low read rate (20%) and about a 5% click forward rate. When I would send out an occasional people some people would unsubscribe. For all the work and time that I took to create this mailing list, I was not happy with the outcome.
Then came Charlie the Cavalier Books. I started a separate list. I created the Charlie the Cavalier puppet to accompany the book. The people who want the puppet need to sign up for the mailing list to get the puppet. The list began to grow. I then found reviewers for my first book on Tomoson.com. I added their names to the mailing list. The list has about 69 people. I created the Charlie the Cavalier Busy Book to add activities and promote Charlie the Cavalier Begs for Attention or the first book. At the end of the busy book I included links to the Charlie the Cavalier Begs for Attention Book.
Then I told my mailing list about the busy book. I said that if they gave an honest review of the book on Amazon I would send them a free PDF of the book. Twelve of the sixty nine people responded. I think I will get five reviews from them. This is a great response. This makes me happy to have the mail chimp list. As it grows and I create more books I have a fan base that is a positive influence on my future books. As they buy more books, my rankings on Amazon will go up and other people will get to see my book.
I would recommend mailing lists for authors. There is a large amount of set up but now the list is currently paying off.