I’ve written so much email content on this site, but I haven’t FULLY explored creating an author newsletter. WHAT! Well, it’s time to get after it.
- If you want to check out the post directly before this one and related to it, go read AUTHOR PLATFORM IN 2021.
I have long been a fan of email lists. I think I started mine in … 2010? Long, long ago in a galaxy far, far away. That’s how it feels, anyway. Mostly because I was growing a newsletter as a blogger.
Now? I’m growing one (or several, actually) as an AUTHOR.
Some principles of creating an author newsletter are the same. Some are different. Let’s dive in and take out some of the intimidating factor of what I still believe should be the cornerstone of your author platform.
LISTEN TO EPISODE 198 – CREATING AN AUTHOR NEWSLETTER
CREATING AN AUTHOR NEWSLETTER
Why am I still harping on email all these years after starting Create If Writing? (Because, if you’ve been around the whole time, email has always been my recommendation.)
After growing email lists for nonfiction and for fiction, it is STILL king. It’s still more effective to sell books than social media platforms.
It also is the only real DIRECT connection with your readers. Any time, Instagram could yank you, or your Facebook account could get hacked and shut down. And then… you’re done.
With email, you have that list of emails. You can hit up their inbox because they’ve given you permission, inviting you in. Sure, inboxes are crowded. But readers still get excited hearing from their favorite authors personally. And if they hit reply to an email you send out to everyone, it then becomes a one on one conversation.
Email is YOURS. It’s a direct line. It’s personal, and there’s no algorithm to an inbox.
GROWING YOUR AUTHOR NEWSLETTER
There are two big distinctions when it comes to growing your author newsletter. The first is organic growth, which would be having someone join your list from the back of a book they purchase or just on your website.
The second is paid growth, where you’re running Facebook ads, joining giveaways, or doing paid author promos. Essentially, you’re not BUYING subscribers (ew! don’t do that!), but you’re paying to get in front of the right readers who might opt in.
There’s also what I’d call orgnic-ish growth, which may not include paying to get in front of subscribers, but has an incentive to opting in, like a free book or chapter. This might be something like a Bookfunnel group promo by genre with other authors. Or–it might be inviting readers at the end of a book to opt in to your newsletter to get a bonus epilogue, a free prequel, or a chapter from another character’s point of view.
WHAT’S WORKING FOR ME?
What I’ve found is that using shorter pieces of content as incentives to join my newsletter has worked REALLY well. Readers have so many options for free books. They’re overloaded with whole free books. Try something smaller.
I’ve REALLY grown my list giving away shorter prequels related to my books and series or giving away a bonus epilogue. A bonus epilogue in the back of my first romcom has given me 2k subscribers just since October. (As a caveat, I’ve sold a LOT of books. I still think this can be super effective, but will depend on your book sales and how many people see that offer.)
In other words… short and sweet. And related to your other stories.
Over the years, I’ve done a mix of organic, organic-ish, and paid, and have gotten a good response with solid open rates and engagement, even as I’ve grown to over 7k.
Recommendations for Free Organic-ish Growth
Recommendations for Paid Growth
- AuthorsXP (hosts by genre giveaways where readers must opt-in)
- Booksweeps (hosts by genre giveaways where readers must opt-in)
- Fussy Librarian (you can pay to have traffic sent to your Bookfunnel page for your freebie)
- Fiction Atlas
EMAILING YOUR READERS
What do I say? How often do I send?
I hear those questions a lot, but not the question that needs to drive those answers. Which is: WHY am I sending email?
There are specific reasons you might use email, but the big, overarching WHY of email is not to sell your book or promote your new release.
GASP! I know. I know.
The overarching WHY of email is to connect with and build your superfans. They don’t just buy your new release. They buy ALL your releases. Everything.
I write short and sweet emails, usually recommending 1-3 books from other authors in my genre as a newsletter swap. But I also have a few paragraphs (often just a few sentences) about something personal. Typically humorous, though I’ve also shared struggles and heartaches.
Does everyone care? NO. But it absolutely does help me form a relationship with my superfans. It makes me stand out in their inbox as not just another author in my genre. They get to know me. We bond.
So, I’d highly recommend drawing some lines about what you want to include that’s personal and then BEING personal. Doesn’t have to be pics of your kids or your house or you in pajamas. Consider a few areas you’re willing to share and then let that flag fly.
FINAL WORDS ABOUT AUTHOR NEWSLETTERS
I know not everyone is a fan of email, and that it might not be as effective for everyone. HOWEVER, I still believe it’s the best place to connect on a more permanent level with readers and create superfans. It’s also the one platform that’s not changing.
We’ve seen a lot of upheaval this year on various platforms. Email is… decidedly the same as it was years ago. It’s a dinosaur. It’s stable. Even if it’s not your favorite, don’t miss out on creating your author newsletter!
Other email resources from the blog/podcast: