By Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig
The importance of our author newsletter is reiterated by everyone from Joanna Penn to Mark Dawson. This is because our list of subscribers is something authors own. If Facebook or Twitter were to close down tomorrow, we’d lose our followers there—but we’d still have our newsletter.
Readers who sign up for our newsletter tend to be the most interested in our work. These are the readers we want to alert to our new releases since they’ll purchase and review the books early, leading to better visibility on retail sites like Amazon.
It took me a long time to finally put together a newsletter. I think part of the reason I was a slow adopter is because I already felt as though I were behind. If only I’d started years ago! But it’s never too late to start putting a list together and have it start working for you.
If you’re starting from scratch, you’re first going to want to find an email newsletter service to handle subscriptions for you. I use MailChimp, which is free for up to 2,000 subscribers. For more information about setting up a newsletter and for the different services available, industry expert Jane Friedman has great advice in her post “Email Newsletters for Authors: Get Started Guide.”
You can make your newsletter signup pitch more visually appealing by encasing it in an image. Image creation is easy with a free tool like Canva. Create an image (I used a simple one with a book cover and my picture and a bit of text) and then hyperlink the entire image to your newsletter signup page (here’s how to find your signup form link on MailChimp).
Do you need more newsletter subscribers? Consider giving away a free book to anyone who signs up for your newsletter. You could offer to give away Amazon gift cards, coffee mugs with your cover on them, etc.
Are you linking to your newsletter signup in your email signature? On your blog? In the front/back of your books? On your Amazon/Nook/Smashwords/Wattpad/Goodreads bios? On your Facebook profile? Linking to the signup at reader-facing sites and in our email signature is a non-pushy way to get more subscribers.
My readers seem to appreciate a personal tone in my newsletters. I include recipes at the end, a popular feature for cozy mystery readers. But aside from a personal touch and the recipes, they especially want to be updated on my book progress and any new releases. You can experiment with your newsletter content and its frequency, adjusting it for your genre and readers and what their interests are.
Do you have an author newsletter? What are your thoughts on service providers and frequency of contact with our readers?
Elizabeth writes the Southern Quilting mysteries and Memphis Barbeque mysteries for Penguin Random House and the Myrtle Clover series for Midnight Ink and independently. She curates links on Twitter as @elizabethscraig that are later shared in the free search engine WritersKB.com and blogs at elizabethspanncraig/blog. Elizabeth makes her home in Matthews, North Carolina, with her husband and two teenage children.