Building an E-newsletter List Part 2 of 5

Building an E-newsletter List Part 2 of 5

Hello Lovely Authors,

Last time we talked about why you should be doing an e-newsletter. (If you missed out on the rest of the series, it is as follows: the importance of having an e-mail newsletter,  the broad planning of what you will offer, choosing a Service Provider, and What goes in the Welcome Email, Just Because You Build it, Doesn’t Mean they’ll Come. be sure to see the whole series.)

Now let’s talk about the broad scope of how to get started. Before you can do an e-newsletter list, you need to decide a few things: What you want to accomplish with your newsletter, what you should include in your newsletter, and how often you should send out your newsletter.

What Do You Want to Accomplish?

“SALES!!!” Yeah, I know you do, but put yourself in your readers’ spot for a moment. Would YOU want to get an e-newsletter that was nothing but “Buy my book, buy my book, buy my book?”

That’s a big nope, right?

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What we need to determine is how we are going to approach connecting with our reader and moving them from preference into purchase, loyalty, and advocacy, right? 

This is where you need to decide what your Worldview as an author is, and pitch that to your readers.

There are several different approaches to take with this. I have a monthly e-newsletter that’s all about An Angell’s Life of bookish goodness. It shares my top blog posts of author interviews, book reviews, booktubing, bookstagramming and other bookish adventures. I am looking to appeal to readers as a reader. This works for me.

Another author, Andy Peloquin, has chosen a solid niche to write in (dark fantasy) and all his stories happen in the same world. He is targeting readers who will fall in love with that world. He sends out a monthly e-newsletter with short stories in his world, as well as notices on when the next book will release, if there are any promos, other dark fantasy authors he’s reading and a variety of other things. But he always has that short story to offer his readers. I LOVE it!

Author Alex J. Cavanaugh does the “Ninja Newsletter” and it is geared around his pop-culture obsessions. There are tons of pop-culture bits, and he spotlights bloggers from the Insecure Writers Group, providing a wide range of interesting articles about everything from movie critique to book releases, to writing about writing. Plus, it pulls at the heartstrings of anyone who’d “Rather be a Ninja” (ME!)

Make sure that your worldview is a true extension of both you, and your writing. You don’t want to be constantly changing expectations for your readers. You will lose a lot of them.

So figure out your worldview and that will determine your next step:

What Should You Include In Your Newsletter?

This should be all about building that worldview you’ve decided to cultivate. If you are cultivating the world view that erotica is awesome, then only focus on sharing erotica content.

If you are building the worldview that indies are awesome, then only share indie work.

If you are building the worldview that we need strong female characters, only share books about strong female characters.

If your worldview is that you are an accessible writer, then share personal stories, short samples, and what you’re doing besides writing.

How often should you send your newsletter?

It’s tempting to just leave this on a whim but don’t. There’s nothing worse than telling someone they will get something, and not following through. We feel cheated, or worse, annoyed when three months down the road we open our email to discover an email from some weird person we don’t remember subscribing to, telling us that their book is on sale. No. Thank. You. Unsubscribe.

The worldview you’ve chosen will determine, in part, how often you email. In my case, because I’m sharing lots of bookish goodness, not just my own, I can email weekly and it isn’t too annoying for my readers. But my personal schedule doesn’t permit it so I took it back to once a month. If Andy emailed me weekly, I might get annoyed. Andy emails once a month. But he’s publishing three or more books a year, so that’s not super overwhelming, and he always offers those cool little short stories, so it’s something I look forward to.

I have other authors who email me once a month and I don’t read it most of the time. Why? Because I don’t really care about their new crafting project, I’m not interested in knitting, I don’t want to hear about their book signing in Alberta. That’s me, I’m probably not their best audience, but they will find their niche audience and those people will like those things!

Alex emails quarterly. It’s a huge newsletter, and sometimes it takes me a week before I get to it, but it’s worth it and I know I will enjoy spending most of a day hopping through all the fun articles and getting my pop-culture geek on.

The key is to establish your frequency and follow through. You want your loyal fans to know that you will send an email on the 15th, or the first and second Thursdays of the month, or during the four seasons, and be looking forward to that newsletter.

Next time I will discuss the mechanics of How to Do your E-newsletter, some options of programs to use, and automation. Fun stuff! Do you have any questions, or want to bounce your ideas off me? Drop them in the comments below. I’m always happy to help!

Until next time,

Keep Writing!