Some of our posts have mentioned author newsletters, and they are incredibly useful tools for authors, but a lot of authors still don’t have newsletters. We believe that a newsletter can help you reach more readers and sell more books than ever before. So how can a newsletter help you and why is it so important?
To Connect With Readers
1. You create a personal connection with your readers, making them your friends. Friends are much more likely to buy your books and pass on the word of your writing.
2. The readers who sign up for your list are already interested in what you have to say. You have a captivated audience.
3. You list is yours: you own it, and you don’t have to worry about a social media network cancelling your account.
To Continually Remind Readers about You and Your Work
4. Your newsletter remains in the subscribers’ inbox until they take action, rather than being quickly forgotten as a social media post can be.
5. A large percentage of your subscribers will see your newsletter, which will not happen on social media or blog posts.
6. A newsletter allows you to continually sell to readers who have already expressed interest in your books and convert them into avid fans who will buy everything you publish.
7. Those who loved your books, have read them all, and are just waiting for sequels will not forget about you as time goes by.
8. You can do group promotions with other authors using subscriber magnets. With a group promotion, all the authors involved share the book page with their readers via their newsletters and social media. Each book can only be downloaded if the reader signs up for that author’s newsletter. Authors who don’t have newsletters cannot participate in these promotions and cannot reach thousands of new readers.
To Get Feedback and Suggestions from Subscribers
9. You can quickly get reviews and sales on a new release by simply letting your subscribers know about it.
10. You can use your author newsletter to ask for feedback on a book title, a book cover, or every-day questions that you may have.
11. You can ask if anyone on your list would like to be a beta reader for your new book. Feedback from these readers can influence and improve future works.
It’s Not as Hard as it Looks!
Sending out an author newsletter can be easy—getting started is the hardest part.
12. You can create an easy newsletter template. This template may include a section for the main story of the month (this changes every month), a small section with book or appearance updates (something as simple as “My new book, ____, is currently being proofread!” or “My new book, ____, will be released in 7 days! Click here to pre-order.”), another small section of book recommendations or giveaways, links to your social media and website. Once you have a template in place, updating it is much easier.
13. You can re-use content from your blog posts—just slightly condense your story. This same content can be shared in smaller bits in social media. For example, in my blog post, I may tell a long story about a trip we took and all the disasters that happened, but how it was fun in the end. In a newsletter, I would cut out unnecessary parts to condense the story. In social media, I might mention just one disaster, and then say “but this also happened, so it all worked out!”
14. You can quickly turn Facebook and Twitter followers into subscribers by offering them a free book if they sign up (a subscriber magnet).
15. Setting up a newsletter can be free or very cheap. Popular providers are MailChimp and Mailerlite. Authors who are more techno savvy (or have a family member who is techno savvy) may choose to host their own newsletters and use an email service like Amazon AWS to send it.
A Couple Notes About Author Newsletters
Don’t send email newsletters to someone who hasn’t opted in (in other words, finding people’s emails addresses on Facebook and adding them to your newsletter will only generate bad will). Also make sure to include an unsubscribe button at the bottom of all your newsletters.
Remember that while you can use your newsletter to sell more books, the main part of your newsletter shouldn’t be selling your books. Your newsletters allow readers to get to know you, and then, just a small note about a new release will result in them buying your book. If you just use your newsletter to advertise your books, you will lose subscribers. A good recommendation is to sell every third newsletter.
Author newsletters should go out every 7-10 days. This is a good recommendation to create avid fans. Yes, this will be too much for some readers, so creating a “new release only” option is always a plus. If you feel you can’t send that many newsletters, at LEAST try the monthly or bi-monthly version. Your readers may not become avid fans, but enough will buy your books that it will still be worth it. And who knows? Maybe in the future you will be at a place where you can start emailing more often.
But what if I’m with a traditional publisher?
Even if you’re with a traditional publisher, you’ll still get all the great benefits of an author newsletter. A newsletter is not something that a publishing house can do for you; they cannot give readers that personal connection to you. A newsletter is a great way to take marketing into your own hands and sell more books!
One way to find more newsletter subscribers is to use a subscriber magnet, where you give an ebook away for free in return for readers signing up for your newsletter. But if you’re with a publisher, you cannot give away ebooks (and you probably don’t even have a copy of the ebook files). You could ask your publisher if you can give away a novella for free as a subscriber magnet—they may be willing to work with you. Alternatively, you could write an unrelated short story (publishers usually keep the rights to stories set in the same “world” as other stories you’ve published with them) and get it edited and turned into an ebook yourself, then offer that as a subscriber magnet. Just make sure you’re not violating your publishing contract!
The bottom line—don’t get stressed!
The bottom line is that a newsletter can help you make more sales and reach more readers than any other marketing technique. If you don’t feel you can do all that some authors seem to be doing, that’s okay! Don’t get too stressed. Just start with a newsletter, a simple website, and a Facebook page for now.
The key is to build an audience over time. Remember, you’re in this for a lifetime, not just a few months. Happy emailing!
We hope this post has convinced you of the importance of author newsletters! If you have any questions or comments, let us know below.