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Monday, June 27, 2016

Author Newsletters--Yes or No?

Today's topic requires lots of participation. From you!

That's right, whether you're an author trying to figure out how newsletters work or a reader who signs up for newsletters. Especially if you are the latter. I know I have lots of questions, and I'm sure others do as well.

Newsletters have been on my mind for the last month. I started one two years ago when I ran a kickstarter to fund the cost of publishing FADE INTO ME. I think I've sent 5 whole emails since then. I just didn't know what to put in those newsletters. They are supposed to be a good way to communicate with your readers, your fans, but what the heck do you write about?

Recently, another author (Tamara Hart Heiner) opened my eyes to a new world of possibilities. Before I tell you what I learned from her, let me ask you a questions.

Do you have an author newsletter? What do you put in it?


Do you sign up for author's newsletters? Why and what do you hope to see in your inbox?

My approach has always been not to send too many letters. I know I get so many emails that it's hard to keep up. When I do send email letters it's like tossing a paper airplane out the window. There is no response. I'd love to enter into conversations with my readers, find out what they want from me so I can try and accommodate them if possible.

However, here's what I learned from Tamara:
  • Send a newsletter every week because you want to weed out the people who aren't really your fans.
  • Talk about all kinds of things and only mention your books when something is going on.
  • Use it as a way to share YOU with your readers
  • Use automations (more on this later)
  • Have a book that you can give away to people when they sign up for your newsletter
  • Make sure you are sharing exclusives with your newsletter subscribers--make it worth their while
The more she talked about what she was doing, the more excited I got. I sat down and came up with weekly topics that I find fascinating--scientific advances, astronomy lessons, history of space flight, etc. Things that I love to research while writing. Things that others might find just as interesting, and maybe want to talk about. I came up with some personal topics as well--recipe shares and my 50 by 50 goal reports. 

It will require a lot more work and focus on my part, but if it's entertaining for my readers it will be worth it!

So, my next question for you...
Do you really want to get to know your authors this well or not?


What individual topics could you add to your newsletter that reflects you and/or your genre?

We will cover newsletter automation--what it is and why it's cool--Wednesday.

Want to sign up for my newsletter? Click HERE.

NOTE: If you start looking at newsletter apps, look for one that offers free automation or at least really cheap. I signed up for mailchimp before I knew about automation and it's an extra cost with them. 

Thinking about starting a newsletter, but not sure where to start?


mshatch said...

Considering how much time I don't have these days, a newsletter is out, but it might be fun if I had more time to devote to it. I will admit that I almost never sign up for newsletters.

Liz A. said...

I only subscribe to one author newsletter. Because she doesn't have a blog and she sends the newsletter out when she has a new release.

I have roughly 50 emails sitting in one of my email addresses waiting for when I'm going to have time to sit down and really read them. They've been collecting for months. Author emails would get ignored by me.

But that's me. I'm not anyone's target audience.

Huntress said...

the one and only newsletter I have is The Creative Penn by author Joanna Penn.

She made it into an industry.

D.G. Hudson said...

I've only signed up for one blogger's newsletter. I don't like them much and usually avoid it to keep clutter down in the email box.

An newsletter should have new material in it, and not rehash same old same old they should also NOT be forums for rants.

DMS said...

I do subscribe to a few newsletters and I have one that I put out each month. I really liked the tips you included. Definitely a lot to think about! I would subscribe to more newsletters, but my email is out of control. That is something I plan to work on this summer. :)

Patchi said...

I think of newsletters like that old friend's holiday card that catches you by surprise and delights you with news and photos of their kids. I subscribe to a few, but I honestly don't read them very carefully. The ones I get are monthly, I think, or maybe just a few times a year. I like hearing about new books coming out, but if these newsletters started cluttering my inbox, I'd probably unsubscribe.

When I get to the stage that I should compile one for my own career, I probably won't do it weekly as that's not what I would like to receive. And I don't want the commitment to deliver something I might not be able to on a regular basis. Just my opinion, you should focus on what works best for your career.

Kristin Smith said...

Once a week seems like a lot. I have a newsletter but I've only sent one email so far, when my cover came out. My subscribers were the first to see the cover—kind of an added bonus for being a newsletter subscriber. I plan to do special giveaways for newsletter subscribers only. And I'd like to send it once a month or maybe only once a quarter, and also when there's something special like a new release, giveaway, or cover reveal.

I have heard that it's important to have a newsletter, but I think it can be a combination of things you love and upcoming news or events that your reader might find interesting as they stay in-the-know.

Darla M Sands said...

This advice certainly seems sound. I'm a bit like Liz, honestly.

In fact, I finally decided to group blogs I follow into bookmark tabs for each day of the week. That way, I can follow them without spending so much time, even if it means reading multiple posts for some blogs on their prescribed day. It's working out pretty well, too.

I wish you all the best with your newsletter plans. Be well!