One of the most common pieces of advice a new author receives is: establish a newsletter. There’s a reason for this—a newsletter can be a very powerful marketing tool.
When I was baby author, newly signed to Dorchester Publishing for The Hunt, my marketing contact told me I needed a newsletter. She suggested that I offer a “valuable” giveaway to drive newsletter sign ups. I dutifully hosted a giveaway for an opal necklace like the one my heroine wore in The Hunt; for my second book with Dorchester, I put together a $300 basket of Tahitian products, including a black pearl. I ended up with about 100 sign ups, sent one newsletter—and didn’t send another for almost eighteen months. Oops. That really wasn’t the way to go.
You want newsletters that are not driven by contest entries because you want people who are genuinely interested in your books. They want to know when you have a new release and they’re going to help drive your release week sales numbers. The contest gives you some immediate satisfaction (droves or mini-droves of people signing up! Woot! They like me!), but many of them will unsubscribe the minute your newsletter hits their inbox. They wanted the prize (understandable)—not my next book.
- Make it easy to sign up. Have buttons or links everywhere on your website and (if you’re indie-publishing) in the back of your ebooks. Make it clear what readers get if they sign up: early previews, first crack at ARCs, free books, free bonus content… give them something.
- Give readers an incentive to join. I offer a free short story (Crash & Burn) when readers sign up. I need to switch that out soon for something else.
- Give readers an incentive to stay. Again, give them periodic free content, early access to books, or just a reason to feel special. Because these are special readers: they’re the ones who’ve bothered to reach out to you and say “I’m interested! Tell me more!” Last year, I sent all of my mailing list subscribers a free book to say “thank you!” for their support.
- Send three newsletters for each release (unless your October/November looks as crazy as mine!). Send a newsletter prior to the release announcing “It’s coming!” (a substantial exclusive teaser excerpt doesn’t hurt here either). Then, send another newsletter on release day…and a third one about a week after release, reminding readers that the book is available if they haven’t picked it up yet and thanking the ones that did.
- Daisy-chain newsletters. You typically need to get into the 10,000-30,000 subscriber range to be able to hit a major list like the NYT Times or USA Today based solely off a call to action to your mailing list buyers. However… although you may not have the world’s largest mailing list today, you can share the wealth with other authors. Ten authors with 1000-subscriber lists can pack a pretty powerful punch if they unite—and it’s one powerful way to get onto a bestseller list. It’s one of the advantages that authors participating in a boxed set have…you pool your readers and cooperate to get a larger reach.
Want to see what I’m doing? Hey—join my newsletter at http://ymlp.com/signup.php?id=geumewqgmgb 😉 I recommend subscribing to as many author newsletters as you can. That way, you can see what other people are doing, the good and the bad. I keep a folder in my email for newsletters that seemed particularly effective. Nalini Singh does an amazing job with offering free content, while Felicity Heaton is an example of someone who sends frequent newsletters with sneak peeks.
What do you, as a reader, like to see in your newsletters? Do you have any examples to share with us?
Wicked Nights (Men of Discovery Island #2) by Anne Marsh
Published by: Harlequin
Winner takes it all…off
Former diving champion Piper Clark never loses. Unfortunately, if she doesn’t land this lucrative contract, her diving business will fail. Worse still, it will be at the hands of her childhood nemesis, Cal Brennan—six feet of hard, rugged former Navy SEAL. So Piper proposes a wager: whoever loses the diving contract must take orders from the winner…in bed.
Cal needs this contract for his own reasons. A former rescue swimmer, he may be having a few issues with diving since his last mission ended, but Piper doesn’t need to know that. Something about her impulsive nature makes Cal rise to the bait, and there’s nothing he’d like more than to show Piper exactly what rules are good for.
All bets are on. And someone’s about to start playing dirty….
Add Wicked Nights to your Goodreads shelf.
About Anne Marsh
I live in Northern California with my husband, two kids and six cats. After ten years of graduate school and too many degrees, I escaped to become a technical writer. When not planted firmly in front of the laptop translating Engineer into English, I enjoy gardening, running (even if it’s just to the 7-11 for slurpees), and reading books curled up with my kids. The best part of writing romance, however, is finally being able to answer the question: “So… what do you do with a PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures?” You can visit me online at www.anne-marsh.com.
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