First, I’d like to thank Sharon for asking me to post this article on her blog. I’ve always appreciated her support and kind words. Thank you, my Djen friend.
Sharon has asked me to talk about the pros and cons about newsletters for authors. Although there are both, the pros outweigh the cons three to one.
The first time I learned the importance of having an email list (newsletter) was probably seven or eight years ago when I was invited to attend a small writing conference near where I live in Denver. The speaker was Randy Ingermanson and he wrote “Writing Fiction for Dummies”.
He talked about building a “tribe” with your email list and the importance of building that list. I started out building my tribe, and since I was so far from actually publishing my book at the time, people lost interest. So did I.
As time went on, I became closer to finishing my first book and decided it was time to build my social media platform. I started a blog, and once the book was a few months from print, I began my presence on Facebook and Twitter. I completely forgot what I had been taught – an email list is the most imperative marketing tool.
Now, three years in, and my third book about to be published, I was slowly giving up. I didn’t think I would ever have a fan base. Facebook and twitter weren’t cutting it. I needed more exposure. So I did what I should have done a long time ago – I hired a private marketing guru. It is strictly through the Internet, but I am learning a lot. The most important of which, building an email list.
Yes, it is much harder to start an email list once you have several books out, but it can be done. You just need to utilize the program you’re working with for automatically generating the newsletters you write. In other words, you can set up several posts to go out when you want and to who you want. You also have to have two lists, or more depending. As you build your list you want to separate those who have previously joined and your new people because you won’t want to send your older list a newsletter that they’ve already received. Example: You sent out an intro to yourself and to your book to thirty people. Now twenty more have joined. You will want to send out the intro only to the new people.
Mail Chimp is who I use right now, but I’ve been told there are others with better programs – only you have to pay for them. Mail Chimp works fine for me and it’s free. And we all like free, right?!
Now, the pros and cons: The pros are building an email list will give you a more interactive relationship with your readers. You can probably count on quite a few of them to write reviews and become fans. You will get to know them, and they you, on a more personal level. This builds trust and loyalty. But one thing you need to keep in mind – you have to give them something for free right up front. My suggestion is a free download of your first book.
If your first book is not out yet, then cool swag, or maybe deleted scenes from your WIP, or just a few chapters are things you can give. Why do I say this? Because you want to get them interested in your books and hopefully take that next step – write a review. Reviews are everything to a self-published author. It pushes us up in the rankings with Amazon, which gives us more exposure.
As you build your email list, it is also important to give them a landing page. I suggest a website.
Now, cons: It can be a lot of work. But most good things are. If you set up your posts for automation, then it’s only one day a week or every other week of writing articles and setting them to post when you want. Just make sure to do your follow-ups.
The don’ts: Don’t only send out a newsletter a few times a year. People will forget who you are. I have done this myself and now I am starting over. I get the frustration and feelings of resignation. But it will all turn around if you put the effort into it.
Also, don’t only send out newsletters to announce your new books or covers. People won’t like it because to them you’re pushing a sale, nothing more. Yes, we are doing this to sell our books, but a more subtle approach is required and will help you to accomplish your goals of building a fan base and hopefully more reviews.
So that’s it. The pros of building an email list can make the difference in building your fan base and with reviews. You will interact more with your readers and hopefully gain friends along the way. The only con, it’s a lot of work initially. But well worth it in the long run.
Don’t give up on yourself or your books. You can use this tool successfully and eventually have a long list of people who love your work!
One more thing, I am giving away a digital download of my first book, Fable. It’s a series and book two will be out in a few months. If you would like to give it a read go to my website http://www.djenworld.com and get your copy today. I would love to have you read it and don’t forget to let me know if you liked it!
Thanks for everything Sharon, and if anyone has any questions I’ll be sure to answer back!
My Author Bio: I have wanted to write books since I was a child, but didn’t publish a book until I was much older. (Too old to put down my age) Before writing Fable I married my wonderful and very supportive husband, Rick. Had two kids, now two grandkids, and have lived most of my life in Colorado. No, I don’t have a degree in anything, but I am a licensed Aesthetician. I have, however, taken several classes about writing, and had a writing coach, then later, taught creative writing myself for two years. I’m still a WIP myself, but I’m always open and eager to learn.
You can find my books here:
And you can contact me here: https://www.facebook.com/FableBookI/