The importance of the author newsletter
In my decades as a published author, I’ve learned a few things about the author newsletter.
First: it is the single most important thing you can do to reach out to your readers. Experts on book marketing say that an author’s newsletter is more effective than any amount of social media (although social media certainly helps).
Fortunately, sending out a newsletter is also one of the easiest things an author can do.
Research by subscribing to author newsletters
Subscribe to author newsletters in order to learn about all the various styles. In this way you will see what engages interest — and what does not.
Sign up for an email newsletter service
Decades ago, I started out with a simple email sent to family and friends. I quickly learned that there was a limit to how many emails my computer mail program was willing to handle.
That’s when I discovered the need for an email service. (I use GroovySoup, but many authors use MailChimp.) For a reasonable fee, an email service will provide you with a newsletter template, maintain your email database, and give you statistics (how many opened your newsletter, for example, and which links were the most popular).
You can have a standard template customized. I have the header of my newsletter reflect my website:
Feed your email newsletter database
Most everything you do as a writer should be with an eye to gathering email addresses to add to your newsletter mailing database. If you give a reading: pass around a newsletter sign-up form. On your website and blog, be sure to have a sign-up link. This database is gold: these are your core followers.
Some author newsletters are formal. Mine is more chatty. I like to imagine that I’m writing to my closest friends and family, so that the tone of my newsletter is close and familiar. Decide what tone is best for you.
I feel it’s important to give nuggets of news: the newsletter shouldn’t be too long, and it should be easy to skim. The headlines, too, should attract interest.
Write about a variety of things: your research, your work, your travels — your news — but also include things that will be of interest to your readers: books you’ve enjoyed reading or a writing tip, for example.
Give things away. With each of my newsletters, a subscriber wins a copy of one of my books.
I revise my newsletter several times over, and before I send it out I have a few people read it and make suggestions. Because it is hard to see one’s own mistakes, I have an editor look at it for errors. This is money well spent.
There should always be visuals in a newsletter. I use Google image search and my own photos. Be sure that the images you use are in the public domain. Wikipedia images are available for use, as a rule. Canva is a site for creating your own custom designs.
Give thought to the subject header
The subject header in your newsletter is very important. Imagine all the email people get. The subject header is what will make someone decide whether or not to open your newsletter. Make it interesting.
How often should you send out a newsletter?
Some authors send out a newsletter once a week, others once a month. I aim to have a newsletter out every three months. I think once a month is considered the most effective.
Do you send out an author newsletter? If so, please link to it in the comment section below. I’d love to see it. What has worked best for you?