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Author Newsletters and How to Swing Em

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Author Newsletters (a.k.a. How to Win at Marketing)

I’ve had a few authors lately on various stages of their journey (some brand new, some who’ve been around a while) ask “Do I really need an author newsletter?”. An author without a newsletter would be like Bob Ross without PBS. Sure, he’s great, but no one would ever know!

Do People Still Read E-mail?

Yes, yes, and yes. Not only is e-mail marketing alive and well, according toDragon reading my newsletter

 

Statistica, e-mail marketing will grow to $11 BILLION in 2023. When correctly done, e-mail is still one of the best ways to engage with your readers.

I highly recommend Newsletter Ninja by Tammi Labrecque, and the follow up Newsletter Nina 2. These books explain some of the way of e-mail marketing, and go into more detail about the how than I’m going into here.

Another book I really recommend is Strangers To Superfans: A Marketing Guide to The Reader Journey by David Gaughran. In fact, David has an amazing class I recommend to all authors to want to sell books. Oh, it’s FREE.

Why a Newsletter?

See, one of the main purposes of a newsletter isn’t to sell books, it’s to make connections. Then, once the connections are made, you want to move those connections to be loyal customers by giving them useful information.

Not everyone is going to love your writing. That’s ok. The inverse is also true; some people will really enjoy your writing. They just don’t know it yet. The process of adding to and pruning from your newsletter is simply about sifting through hundreds of thousands of people to find a group of those who will love your work and follow you forever.

Author Newsletters allow you to bring other people alongside you as you take your journey as an author. They get to see you build your brand. I’ll paraphrase a great quote I read recently: “Newsletters (social media) don’t sell your books. Bookstores do that. Social media gathers your readers so they can interact with you. Newsletters curate”. So true.

How Do I Get Started?

This is a common question. It’s usually followed by “I don’t know anyone”. Go buy the books I suggested. They offer some great, detailed insight. Here’s the quick and dirty.

You Gotta Give A Little

You are going to need something to give away for free, maybe two somethings. I use short stories set in my world. They are different. One is a funny story, the other is a bit darker. I offer these stories for free on sites like StoryOrigin (my favorite) and/or BookFunnel. These stories are called Reader Magnets. Then you do Newsletter Swaps on these services with other offers. They offer your free story to their readers and you do the same. Even if you are brand new, some authors will swap with you to help you get started. In fact, this is a curtesy to remember when you have a nice sized list. You can also join group promotions. This is where most of my subscribers come from.  I join a promotion, put information about it in my newsletter and post about it on social media.

What this does is attract subscribers to your author newsletters while you sleep.

How Do I Catch Em’?

You use a mail service. I use SendFox. I used to use MailChimp. They have a free tier that allows you to have up to 500 subscribers for free. This is good to start out, but you will soon outgrow this. MailChimp can be a bit pricey once you go beyond 500 subscribers. But it is a VERY nice product.

I’ve heard nice things about MailerLite and SendInBlue as well. Each of these services have a TON of free, helpful information about how to connect with the various tools you use.

Ok, What Do I Put In An Author Newsletter?

Again, get the books I recommended for details. You want to share something about yourself. Do you have a cute dog or a crazy cat? Share some pics and stories.

Ask questions and provide a means for them to easily answer. I put my e-mail address at the end of my question and get e-mail every time my Author Newsletter goes out with wonderful answers.

Also include any author swaps or promotions. Don’t be pushy. Don’t put dozens in there. And don’t dominate the landscape of your author newsletter with big images. A good way to figure this out is to subscribe to a few newsletters of your favorite authors and see what they do. They will all have them.

Finally, have a point. A call to action, if you will. Maybe you have a sale going on, or a new release, or your book cover is entered into a contest. Provide your subscribers something to do. It doesn’t always have to result in sales. Sometimes your CTA can be to answer poll questions so you can get to know your readers.

Subscribers want to be involved, and they like free stuff. Think about what kinds of things you would like to see in an author newsletter you subscribe to.

These are pretty basic things because I’m still pretty new. I really enjoy some of the technical aspects of being a writer and working with my author newsletter is one of those. If you want to engage with me on these things, feel free to look me up on Facebook or e-mail me: jack@authorjackadkins.com (see what I did there?)

P.S. I’m an Amazon affiliate. If you buy things from Amazon by clicking on my links, I get a few pennies and it costs you nothing extra.



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