Monday, August 31, 2015

Newsletter Anyone?

I’m not sure how many of you with fan pages on Facebook have noticed that your ‘reach’ has probably seen a slow decline. For a while now, I’ve realized that only a few people are being ‘reached’ when I post to my pages. 

If you read this article about the changes to Facebook, you’ll understand why. I have gotten over my annoyance that I have to pay to ‘boost’ a post to people who I believe would like to hear from me now and then. That’s why they liked my page, right?

Well, the times are a-changing have changed and a lot of the things posted to Facebook just languish on the page.

What this wake-up call urged me to do is take a look at my mailing list. I do know that mailing lists are valuable to writers—so much so that I have two of them. The thing is, I haven’t been very good with sending out newsletters. I'm trying to do better though by shooting for once per month.

I’ve added the sign-up links for my newsletter to my websites and in the back matter of my books. I've also added links on my Facebook page that can be accessed via a dropdown menu. I’m not sure how much use Facebook fan pages will be in the short run if people are not willing to pay to ‘boost’ whatever they post.

So, if you're a writer who hasn't yet thought seriously about adding a newsletter to your repertoire, here are some ideas to get you moving.

1.    Provide value to your readers by giving them useful information or some other item to encourage new subscribers - maybe an ebook or an offer for swag.
2.    Use your newsletter as a way of rewarding your readers with exclusive material or news about what you have coming next.
3.    Run contests and giveaways. Gift cards are always popular, so you can always find innovative ways to give away a card or two to your subscribers.
4.    Encourage feedback from your readers by asking for their comments on a subject of your choice or by including a poll.
5.    In today's fast-moving world, newsletters don't need to be dense with text, or take up several pages. Keep things simple by including 3-4 articles consistently.

If you haven't started yours yet, what are you waiting for? It's simple to do and there are free email marketing service providers like Active Campaign, Benchmark Email  and Mailchimp. Are there other good options not listed here that you can share? How are you building your list? 


Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi JL - the further the spread via a mailing list - makes absolute sense. This I'm sure will be mega for all authors and a learning curve for many of us working/blogging away in the background.

Cheers and very good luck with it - excellent idea ... Hilary

Lan said...

I hear only good things about mailing lists but am finding it hard to get any take up. Hopefully once my book is released more people will want to join up!

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I wish I'd started one ages ago, but I do have a large email list if I need it.

Christine Rains said...

I do have a newsletter and it's difficult to build. Recently I started offering a free ebook for subscribing, but still, not a lot of people jumped on it.

Pat Hatt said...

Facebook can bite me, nothing but a money grubbing piece of s*** site now. Newsletter is another thing I'd have to do, thought about it, but still haven't done it

Yolanda Renée said...

Facebook, once free has learned like all the others, a little charge here, a little charge there turn those billions into trillions. Fewer and fewer things on the web are free. Soon nothing will be. When that's the case I'll go my own way!
I tried to get folks to sign up, fewer and fewer want to clog an already clogged mail box.
Even during contests with the public, folks are reluctant to give information that will be used against them - spam anyone?
Maybe one day soon we'll have to go back to the highway billboard! :)

Chrys Fey said...

Seems like everyone is starting a newsletter now. ;) I just sent out my first one last Tuesday. Right now I am doing a gift card giveaway. Anyone who signs up is entered. I've received a lot of good feedback so far.

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

This is something I've given a lot of thought to but still only thinking. Timely post for me.

SpacerGuy said...

Fascinating, its definitely worth a go. I think its the coolest thing spreading awesomeness out there in the blogosphere, LOL. Its why I started, so I could reach beyond the stars.

Murees Dupè said...

I had a newsletter set up through Mailchimp, but in truth, it was all very confusing, if not intimidating. These days I keep my blog updated with all relevant information. Maybe I will try another free newsletter provider one of these days. Great post.

Toi Thomas said...

Newsletters work for some but not for me. I had one and built of a good subscribership with it, but no one was reading it. I know because I checked the stats. It was a waste of my time. Even doing a monthly giveaway, not giving away copies of my book, but gift cards and books of choice, it was still pointless. I commend anyone who can actually get people to read one.

Sharon Himsl said...

Newsletters appear to work for some and I'm glad they get good feedback. Kudos! Personally, I can't see doing one. Too much work, hard keeping an audience, and I wonder how many like having to read one more thing in their in box? I can barely keep up as it is.

J.L. Campbell said...

Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts.

True, Hilary, a writer should always be about widening his/her reach.

Len, it won't take off overnight, but for now you could probably approach it from Paperli, so you have information coming in from other sources.

Great Alex, it's especially useful during a launch.

Christine, me too, but I've found you have to offert that invitation at regular intervals.

Pat, my sentiments exactly, but it's useful for keeping in touch with a bunch of people.

Yolanda, there is definitely that problem, so I don't do a mail more than once per month and I try to offer something each time.

Way to go, Chrys! I hope the momentum continues.

If you think about it for too long, Susan, you'll never get moving. The process is automated and you can take a couple of sessions and get throughtit if you don't have time all at once.

I like your attitude Spacerguy!

Keeping on top of everything sounds like a plan, MUrees. Do try Mailchimp again some time.

Toinette, it's because of the amount of spam we receive in our mail. There are some newsletter that I will read because I expect they will provide something of value to me that I will learn from. Still, whatever works for you is what you have to do.

Sharon, that is definitely a problem. Information overload. It's wise to find what works for you and use it.

Michelle Wallace said...

These days, it seems like lots of authors are setting up Newsletters.
Sounds like it works well for some...
I wonder how many who sign up for newsletters actually read them?

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have a subscriber list, but I've only sent out two newsletters. I try to wait until I have something interesting to share, and I'm beginning to realize, I may be a bit boring ;)

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I have a subscriber list, but I've only sent out two newsletters. I try to wait until I have something interesting to share, and I'm beginning to realize, I may be a bit boring ;)

Tyrean Martinson said...

I started working on a newsletter and stopped. I think I got bogged down by trying to figure out the upload process and like Elizabeth, I feel like I'm a bit boring. :) I don't know if I have new stuff to say that doesn't sound like "buy my books, I'm begging you, please" which is probably not good newsletter content.

J.L. Campbell said...

Michelle, you can tell who's looking at them because the programmes can tell you who opened them. Doesn't mean they're being read, but at least you know who took the time to at least look at the content.

Elizabeth, that was my approach too. Trying to at least do one each month.

Tyrean, maybe the worlds you create in your story would be interesting to your readers. Try it at least once. You'll never know what good it can do if you never put one out there.

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I've never done a newsletter. I've tried. Sat staring at the blank monitor, wondering what ever could I write about? Nothing comes to mind, so I end up going off and doing something else, like editing my current WIP. Not that I don't appreciate newsletters. I enjoy them. Especially those who are full of enthusiasm for the business. I need a kick in the pants.

Jeffrey Scott said...

Yes, I have a FB page. No, I have not seen much action on it, outside of me posting to it.
Hmmmm, a newsletter. It's an idea I shall think about. But who would actually read it? I'm very insecure in my writing that way.
OH wow, and it looks like tomorrow I get to post my first IWSG article to my blog. I won't be hard pressed to find material for that. Certainly not.

cleemckenzie said...

I've added a Special Offers Mailing List, but not a NL. I'll see how that works.

Nick Wilford said...

It's something I've thought more about recently. I'd definitely like to have interesting content, something unique, so I'll have to come up with a plan for that.

Sherry Ellis said...

Honestly, I'm not sure about newsletters. I've subscribed to a few, but I never read them. I'm inundated with emails, so for me to take the time to open and read one, is taking time away from me trying to accomplish other things. I don't know if others feel the same way. If they work, great. I'd be interested to hear from other authors who do this.

Unknown said...

Great article, JL! I know all the hows of doing a newsletter, but feel with only 1 novel out, and not much to giveaway, I should wait and until I have more "good content" before I start getting people to subscribe.