One of the best strategies an author should employ is to start building their email list as soon as possible, especially if you intend to write more than one book. So what is the best email service for authors?
The truth is, they are not all created equal. Some start off cheap and then quickly balloon in price. Others offer free accounts, but they aren't complete and ultimately cause problems. Furthermore, switching from one service to another is a pain (trust me, I've done it four times in my career).
So, choosing the best email service from the get-go is extremely important and can save you loads of time and money.
Therefore, to help you choose the right email service, I've gone through and tested four services I consider the best for authors and have stacked them side-by-side. I'm happy to report that there is one specific email service that is the best fit for most authors.
Also, I created a free course to help you set up your account and get going with that particular email service.
In this review, you will discover:
Table of contents
We’ll be deciding which email service is the best one for authors based on their features and pricing.
Full Disclosure: I did use affiliate links in this article and please know that if you do end up using one of these and pay those companies, I will get a percentage of that, which will go straight to my coffee fund and keep me writing and testing things like this. However, that doesn’t change my opinion of these products. I tried each of them personally, so be prepared for my unfettered opinion…
Why Only These Four Email Services?
In my years of working online, I've personally used Aweber, Mailchimp, GetResponse, ConvertKit, ActiveCampaign, Send Fox, and more. The truth is, there are probably hundreds of email services out there and more added every month. So, it's implausible to test them all.
Therefore, in order to showcase the best grouping of author email services, I turned to author groups as well as my own research and chose the following four to compare based on the needs of an author and what is working in the industry. These four were unanimously the most talked about and used of them all and therefore needed the most in-depth analysis.
Now, there are some newcomers that have started to make waves like Author Email and Send Fox. However, being relatively new, their untested deliverability capability, and the fact that they are missing a lot of features, I didn't include them. That being said, I will keep this article up-to-date with worthy email services that show true stability and applicability.
Side-By-Side Comparison of Email Services
|Ease of Use|
Important Things to Note From the Email Service Comparison:
- MailerLite and Mailchimp have the best free accounts
- Mad Mimi is pay to play–no free account
- ConvertKit has the most functionality and advanced capabilities
Price Comparison of the Best Email Services for Authors
Pricing is important. Although free accounts will probably suffice for many of you, knowing how much you'd need to pay when you go beyond the free account is extremely important. As you'll see, some of these hook you with a great free account, but then get you with the pricing. So, beware.
Important Things to Note From the Email Service Pricing Comparison:
- ConvertKit is extremely expensive but, as we discussed above, it also has the most capabilities
- Mailchimp starts off great but increases their pricing dramatically
- MailerLite and Mad Mimi have the best pricing
Best Email Service for Authors (Ranked Worst to First)
- 4th: Mailchimp
- 3rd: ConvertKit
- 2nd: Mad Mimi
- 1st: MailerLite
4th Place: Mailchimp Review
Mailchimp is probably one of the most well-known email service providers out there. And that’s because it works great for big businesses who have loads of subscribers to send to. But will it work for indie authors? Bear in mind that most indie authors need pretty simple stuff out of their mailing lists: the ability to automate a welcome sequence, deliver emails, manage their subscribers, occasionally tag them, have accurate reporting and remove inactive subscribers who don’t click or open.
Check it out:
- A free account with up to 2000 contacts
- Automation in the form of customer journeys and linear automation (kind of like a ConvertKit–MailerLite brainchild)
- Landing pages with templates
- Forms that you can set up (not very easily though)
- Email campaign sending with a drag and drop email content builder
- Email scheduling
- Segmenting and tagging
- Social media posts
- Ad management
- Loads of integrations with other services
Overall, I found that Mailchimp offers some good services for authors but that it’s overpriced for what you get, and it has some issues with contacts. For example, you might have duplicate contacts. And when someone unsubscribes, you have to manually archive them or remove so you don’t pay for them being a part of your list. That’s why it comes in fourth.
- Most authors and businesses are familiar with Mailchimp
- Easy to use email creation
- Multiple lists allowed
- Tagging is available
- Cool reports
- Free plan is generous in that you have 2000 contacts, but then there’s only 12,000 emails so… you’ll soon outgrow that.
- Removing a subscriber from your list does not remove them from your contacts–you still pay for them!
- VERY EXPENSIVE in comparison to the author options.
- Their pricing structure is also tricky. They say $9.99 for a Standard Plan but then you quickly realize that is for only 500 contacts, meaning that you had 2000 with the free plan, and you’ll
- have to pay a whopping $29.99 to upgrade.
3rd Place: Convertkit Review
ConvertKit is a super powerful email marketing service that’s geared toward businesses with multiple different revenue streams. There are authors who use this service, and I use it for Kindlepreneur and Publisher Rocket, but it’s not necessarily geared toward the indie author who is just starting out. That’s why it’s in third place on this list for authors. It does have a free account, so you can check it out and see if it’s a fit.
Here are some of the features you can expect to get with ConvertKit:
- Amazing visual automations
- Sign up forms and landing pages that are super simple to create
- Email campaigns that are not drag and drop
- A new email builder that is drag and drop surprisingly
- Landing page templates
- Sign up form templates
- Integrations with almost every service imaginable including Teachable, WordPress and Wix
- Amazing customer service
As you can see from the automation image above, ConvertKit is fun to work with and really powerful, but what are some of the pros and cons of using the service for independent authors?
- By far the most powerful for authors with multiple products who want to segment their subscribers
- Multiple opt-in incentives
- The free account has 1000 contacts
- You can build landing pages and opt-in forms
- There’s a 14 day trial account with premium features
- Simple, powerful email
- Fantastic support
- Overall a great product but for the bigger author, really.
- Super expensive. Not for new authors
- No drag and drop email templates to speak of
- No lists. It’s subscriber based so you’ll have to rely on segmenting, tagging and triggers which can be overwhelming for new authors.
2nd Place: Mad Mimi Review
Mad Mimi is second on the list, but only because it’s cheaper than ConvertKit and provides services that are easier for new authors to use. I just had to point that out because third and second place on this list are very close. They offer different things that might appeal to different authors, but Mad Mimi is simpler and cheaper — although a big con is it doesn’t have a free account.
Right, with that said, let’s take a look at some of Mad Mimi’s features and why it’s second on the list of email marketing services for independent authors.
Here are some of Mad Mimi’s features:
- Automations in the form of drip campaigns
- Social buttons
- List-based management
- Great customer support
- Simple drag and drop email creation
- Email reports
- Email templates
- Capacity to have more than one list
- Sign up forms that can be embedded and shared
- Some integrations
Mad Mimi Summary
So, Mad Mimi has a lot to offer for new authors, but might not be the best option for those authors who are already experienced, have larger lists, and need more powerful segmenting and tagging options. Here are a few of Mad Mimi’s pros and cons for you to consider.
- Great support. Very helpful
- Cheap and easy to use
- Can have multiple lists
- Drag and drop emails or plain text
- Drips for automation
- Not over complicated
- No segmentation to speak of
- Removing subscribers from your list can be a pain
- Early pricing structure not as good as MailerLite–but cheap later on
- NO FREE ACCOUNT
1st Place: MailerLite Review
This is my number one choice for independent authors who are starting their mailing list. The reason? All the features and value you get with a free account. Seriously, you cannot go wrong with MailerLite, and the fact that it’s significantly cheaper than other options like Mailchimp and ConvertKit yet offers many of the same features is amazing.
Here are some of the features you can expect when using MailerLite:
- Awesome free account
- Form creation
- Embedded and promotional forms
- Landing pages and even website creation
- Drag and drop email campaigns
- Email scheduling
- Templates for emails, forms and landing pages
- Integrations galore
- Segmentation and tagging for groups
- A simple, sleek dashboard
- Easily remove inactive subscribers
I personally use ConvertKit and even I am super excited about MailerLite’s offerings for authors. I particularly enjoyed using the dashboard, which was super easy to navigate. As you can see from the image, it’s simple to set up your automation sequence too. So, what are the pros and cons of our winning email service for authors?
- YOU GET SO MUCH WITH THE FREE ACCOUNT
- Much cheaper than most alternatives
- Unlimited emails for $10–tagging, segmenting, automation, the works
- Highest value for money
- Slower pricing curve
- Not list based (segmenting instead)
- You have to apply to use the service basically. They need to approve your account.
- Deliverability is the lowest of them, but this has improved greatly
- Some navigation irritation…
Want to Dive a Bit Deeper?
Take a look at this video I made to better compare the different email services…
Free MailerLite for Authors Email Course
To help those who choose MailerLite, I created a free MailerLite email course. While MailerLite does have an extensive list of tutorial videos, many of these go into specialized aspects and areas that don't serve most authors and can overwhelm you. Therefore, I created this course to help you get exactly what you need and get started in setting up your account the right way.
What About SendFox?
SendFox is a bit of the new kid on the block. Created by the amazing company, App Sumo, they have a strong backing and a proven record. But here's two reasons why they weren't included on this list…yet:
1). I bought their lifetime deal (dropped $400) thinking that by buying in early, I'd reap the benefits of having their strong service in time once they caught up and got out a bunch of features. However, I somehow missed the fine print and found out after-the-fact that their lifetime plan is actually very limited. So, most of the NEEDED features were not afforded to me and I'd have to pay monthly to use it. Bummer!
2). Even with their monthly paid plan, because they are new, they are missing a lot of features. More importantly, they are missing a lot of integrations as well. There are a lot of services that don't work with them yet (and no, I don't count Zapier as counting since it costs more). I have no doubt that the team behind SendFox will catch up and crank out those features, but at this time, this service is limited.
So, I'll revisit them when I see their features catchup, and other systems integrate with them.
And that’s it! Kindlepreneur’s top picks for email marketing services. From my research, MailerLite is the best email marketing service for authors with Mad Mimi and ConvertKit in a close second and third, and Mailchimp in fourth. Is there another email marketing service provider I should check out? Be sure to leave a comment below and let me know. What service do you use?