Every author, whether self- or traditionally published, should have a newsletter because it’s the best and most personal way for you to connect with your readers.
Today’s marketing is all about building relationships. Readers don’t want to be marketed to—they can spot a sales pitch a mile away and they don’t want to have anything to do with that. What they want, is a friend, a connection, to belong. I mean really, isn’t that what you—we—all want? And what better way to build relationships than to write a book a reader can love? Once you’ve done that, keep the relationship going with an excellent, personal and personable newsletter.
Starting a newsletter can seem profoundly daunting, but it’s just like anything else, take it one step at a time, and pretty soon you’ll be a newsletter boss.
1. Determine which email service is right for you.
There are many services out there, and each offers something a little different that you might see as advantageous. As you do your own research here are a few things to consider:
As you’re likely starting out with 0 subscribers, consider how much your monthly subscription will cost you per subscriber. Several providers offer free levels up to 1000+ subscribers, which might be appealing as you’re starting out. (It’s relatively simple to move to another service as your subscriber base increases.)
How easy is the service to use? Do they offer drag-and-drop editing? Do they allow for customization?
How well will the service integrate with your website (so you can invite visitors to subscribe to your newsletter) and Facebook?
The most commonly used services for authors are MailChimp and MailerLite, and Constant Contact, but your options certainly aren’t limited to those three. I use MailerLite after having used MailChimp for years. I find MailerLite a little easier to navigate, and I like the price. 😊
2. Begin collecting subscribers.
The best and easiest first steps in accomplishing this task, is to ask the people you already know.
Create a subscribe page in your email service. It might also be called a landing page.
Post a link to your newsletter subscription page on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or anywhere else you have a presence.
When you’re preparing your book interior, include a clear invitation to your readers to come join your newsletter.
Include a link in your Goodreads and BookBub bio, and at the bottom of your general email—basically anywhere and everywhere!
3. Decide how frequently you’ll send out emails
There’s no right or wrong answer here, besides consistency. Whether you choose to send an email once a month, bi-weekly or weekly, just try to stick to that schedule.
4. Send your first email!
Write your email as if you’re writing to friends. Only you can decide how personal your interactions with fans will be. From pen names and faux identities, to your childrens’ names and what you ate for dinner last night—whichever level of privacy you decide is right for you, just be as real and personable as you can. Your readers want to feel they know you, that they’re connected to you, so relax, and enjoy getting to know them, too.
Things you can write about…
Your writing journey, especially funny anecdotes
Funny, tender or special moments with your family
Places you’ve traveled
Your writing dreams, even your fears
Your writing process
Books or movies that inspired your own story
Books and movies you love and recommend
Things to avoid…
It’s generally recommended that you avoid talking about politics and religion
If you choose to talk about sensitive issues, just be careful, personable and have a good reason for doing so. (I’ve successfully shared my thoughts on the current race issues in America, and while I don’t talk about my church specifically, my readers know that I’m a dedicated Christian.)
Criticizing other authors and/or their books. This. So much this! There are so many other things to talk about, and negative messages never gain you the kind of traction you desire.
Take the plunge, my friend. Communicating with readers through your newsletter is one of our privileges as writers. Enjoy it!
Next, I’ll post some tips to help you take your newsletter to the next level!