Do you have a newsletter? Do you need one? Do you really want one? I know, I know, some of you are groaning at the thought. Let’s face it – newsletters, if used incorrectly, are horrible torture devices that clog up our emails and force us to unsubscribe to something we don’t even recall subscribing to. Right? But it doesn’t have to be that way. Think about the newsletters you sign up for and look forward to when they arrive in your email. Why can your’s be the same?

Over at Writers in the Storm, I first blogged about street teams and the topic of author newsletters came up. Below is my post:

Some authors groan at the thought while others smile. But when used correctly, a newsletter can be your new best best friend. Why? Because it’s your number one method of communication with readers.

What can you use your newsletter for?

  • Announce the release of your latest book
  • Promote when you have a special deal on your book
  • Get word out about a special contest
  • Boast about a great review or that sparkly new award you won
  • Tease your readers about your latest project

However – and this is a biggie – your newsletter isn’t just a way to promote you and your latest release. Your first task with a newsletter is to get people involved with you and your brand.

Getting them to sign up is the easy part. Keeping them signed up can be tricky unless you remember this one golden rule:

It’s not about you. It’s about them.

Every newsletter you send must be filled with things for your readers. Yes, you want to be sure to inform them about your latest sales, all of your exciting news – but that’s not all.

This is where the fun part comes in. Your newsletter should be branded similar to your website – so that you stay consistent with your brand (which is YOU not your book). The inside of your newsletter needs to stay within your brand as well.

I’ll use myself as an example to show you what I mean. I’ve branded myself as a chocoholic, writer, mother, chocoholic (yes, that is strategic placement on my part…as I am a chocoholic and I use that as part of my branding).

Every newsletter contains the following:

  • Information about my books – whether a new release, a sale or new series.
  • A special recipe that is not found on my website – preferably with chocolate in it.
  • My TBR List where I share what I’m reading and a contest for that month.
  • Information about my street team.

See what I mean? My newsletter is consistent with my brand. There are quite a few options for developing and delivering your newsletter. I chose Mailchimp so that’s what I’ll use as my example.

Newsletter options you can choose:

  • Set it the newsletter template to use one of Mailchimp’s templates but with the colors of your website.
  • Or you can create a newsletter to look very similar to your site by having a designer develop a template for you.

Either way, you should include a banner or graphics and colors that are consistent with your website and/or Facebook page.

There are a few things to be careful of when sending out your newsletter:

  • Do not spam your readers.
  • Don’t send out multiple copies of your newsletter because you saw an error. Proofread before you send or if you do have errors, use those errors as a contest on your website.
  • Do not send a newsletter for every little update. That’s a surefire way of ensuring your unsubscribe rate climbs high.

When do you send out a newsletter?

Myself, I like to send out quarterly newsletters. I’ve signed up for a lot of author newsletters and I find that when I receive one every few weeks or even every month, I tend to unsubscribe unless it’s a favorite author and I don’t want to miss out on any of their news.

There’s no set standard though – send out a newsletter when you need to.

If you’re thinking to yourself – How do I get a newsletter started? – just remember: Everyone started with zero followers. Whether you have one book or multiple books out, there’s no better time than now to get a newsletter started.

What you can do to start:

  • Sign up with Mailchimp (or another newsletter provider).
  • Use the code they give you to place on your website.
  • Be sure to have your newsletter sign up at the top of your website where everyone can see.
  • Place the link in the back of your books.
  • Have it on your author page on Facebook (you can set it up as a tab).

How do you get people to sign up?

If you’re anything like me, when you first start you’ll question your sanity. That’s okay – just eat some chocolate and you’ll be fine. There are several different ways you can get people to sign up:

  • Hold a contest and have joining your newsletter part of the requirements.
  • Ask people (but don’t spam with repeated pleas).
  • Offer something special to all those who sign up: a special discount, a free book, a sneak peak preview of your next book…the options are endless.

The sky’s the limits when you begin your newsletter. Have fun with it, be smart with it, and watch it grow one subscriber at a time! Have fun and good luck! And if you want to see how mine work…check out my “keep in touch” area at the top right of the screen and sign up for my newsletter.


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