The Ultimate Guide to Newsletters for Authors
In today’s digital age, where social media platforms come and go and algorithms are as unpredictable as the weather, one thing remains constant: the power of a well-curated newsletter. Whether you’re an entrepreneur, a content creator, or an author, having a robust newsletter list is like having a golden ticket to sustained engagement and success.
For indie authors, especially in popular genres like romance, newsletters are a vital tool for building loyal readers. But how do you create an email newsletter that fans actually want to open? Here are tips to make your fiction newsletter a must-read:
The Importance of a Good Newsletter List
Direct Access to Your Audience
Unlike social media, where your posts may or may not be seen by your followers, newsletters land directly in your reader’s inbox. This direct line of communication is invaluable for building a loyal community around your brand and books.
Control Over Content
Social media platforms have limitations on content length, format, and even the kind of content you can post. Newsletters give you the freedom to express yourself in the way you see fit.
Newsletters allow you to engage with your readers on a more personal level. By sharing insights, stories, or exclusive content, you can build a stronger emotional connection with your readers.
Analytics and Feedback
Most newsletter services offer detailed analytics, allowing you to understand your audience better. You can see which content resonates the most, what time is best to send your newsletter, and even who your most engaged readers are.
Choose the Right Newsletter Service
A professional email provider like Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Madmimi, or Substack is essential. Offer sign-up forms on your site, confirm subscribers, and avoid spam filters by verifying your sending domain. This ensures your newsletters consistently reach inboxes.
Here is a list of some of the services available to authors (do your research on each):
- Mailchimp – Popular and user-friendly, with free tiers available. Lots of templates, automations, and integrations.
- Constant Contact – Long-running email marketing platform with tools to manage contacts, campaigns, and analytics.
- ConvertKit – Focused on creators and bloggers, ConvertKit makes it easy to build email sequences. More affordable pricing tiers.
- AWeber – Robust features for complex email marketing needs, with a focus on automation and integration options.
- MadMimi – Easy-to-use email marketing service known for its simple editor and automation capabilities. Good option for small businesses.
- Campaign Monitor – Offers simple and visual email builders with automation and integration capabilities.
- GetResponse – Features include email designer, autoresponders, automation, landing pages, and webinars.
- Benchmark Email – Provides hundreds of professional templates and strong analytics. Integrates with many CRMs.
- MailerLite – Freemium model good for individuals and growing businesses. Easy-to-use drag-and-drop designer.
- SendPulse – Has a free plan for up to 15,000 subscribers, with good flexibility between bulk and automation emailing.
- AuthorEmail– created specifically for authors
- Flodesk– can create visually stunning newsletter
How to Create a Quality Newsletter List
Place opt-in forms strategically on your website. Make sure to offer something valuable in return for the email address, like a free eBook, a discount code, or exclusive content.
Quality Over Quantity
It’s better to have a smaller list of engaged readers than a large list of people who never open your emails. Make sure you’re attracting the right audience by providing targeted and valuable content.
Consider using a double opt-in process to ensure that the people on your list genuinely want to be there. This adds an extra step, where subscribers have to confirm their email address, but it significantly improves the quality of your list.
Ways to Add Value to a Reader’s Inbox
My rule of thumb is to only send out a newsletter when I have something that can add value to my readers’ inboxes. That means, I don’t send a newsletter just for the sake of sending one.
Share the writing journey
Give sneak peeks at your writing routine or upcoming projects. Romance readers love knowing what inspired a new book. Sharing your path as an author makes you more relatable. Just don’t reveal spoilers!
Feature exciting exclusives
Offer exclusive excerpts, deleted scenes, character Q&As, bonus stories, or advance peeks at cover reveals. These special extras make readers feel valued as newsletter subscribers.
Host fun contests
Run monthly contests with prizes like free books, swag, or memberships to insider fan groups on Facebook. Contests equal engagement.
Collect reader submissions
Ask questions and invite fan art, playlists, reviews, cosplay, or other content submissions. Feature their contributions in newsletters to get them involved.
Go behind the scenes
Give peeks at your revision process, research trips, bookish events, conferences, or signings. Photos make it come alive. Dish on the realities of the writing life.
Provide added value
Consider author interviews, articles on writing craft, fun polls about characters, book club questions, or even quick recipes tied to your books. Treats beyond your fiction excerpts satisfy and delight.
Let readers know when to expect your next newsletter, and keep sign-up forms prominent. Promote on your website, in the front and back of books, and on social media.
Focusing on exclusive, engaging content in a consistent newsletter is one of the best ways for fiction authors to foster fandom and build readership.
Maintaining Your Newsletter List
Not all subscribers are the same. Segment your list based on behavior, location, or engagement level to provide more personalized content.
Consistency is Key
Whether you’re sending out newsletters weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly, consistency helps build anticipation among your readers.
Always aim to add value to your readers’ lives. Whether it’s through tips, insights, or exclusive offers, make sure your newsletter is something your readers look forward to.
Creating and maintaining a good newsletter list is not just an add-on to your marketing strategy; it’s a cornerstone. With direct access to your audience, the freedom to create content as you wish, and the ability to build stronger relationships, a well-curated newsletter list can be your most powerful asset.