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Ever pick up a book and flip right to the “about the author” section? I know I do!
As humans, we have an inherent curiosity about other people, especially the writers who pen the words that move us, entertain us, teach us, and excite us.
And your readers are no different! They want to get to know you, and one of the best ways you can connect with your fans is through your email newsletter. The newsletter is a great place for you to share a bit of yourself, giving your followers VIP access to you and the products/services you offer.
But sending out an email with a pasted blog post or slamming your readers with sales pitches is not going to work. In fact, that’s a great way to build your UNsubscribe list.
Instead, you want to make your newsletter stand out from the rest by filling it with value and giving your fans a reason to click on it.
So What Content Does a Stellar Newsletter Contain?
Here are some of the things I see in my favorite newsletters (in no particular order). See what might be a good fit for you and your audience.
A sneak peek behind the scenes
Where you are in the writing process
Motivational/inspirational quotes or advice
Videos (of your day, your writing space, a walk, or even a chat with your readers)
Share how you became a writer. What’s YOUR story?
Sneak peeks of book covers, blurbs, or chapters
Share book reviews of books you love
Interviews with other authors or publishing professionals (editors, cover designers, etc.)
Contests or giveaways
Share your favorite books, podcasts, TV shows
Launch team invitations
Book release announcement
Beta reader request
Your hobbies outside of writing
Photos of places you visit
Research process and interesting discoveries
The publishing process
Involve your readers in the writing process by asking them to name a character. Could be a contest or a poll.
Tell us about a mentor you had/have
Fun facts about a character (not shared in the book)
Tell us where your ideas and inspiration come from
And, of course, anything that shows off your unique personality!
1 | Choose an email service provider & create an account. The first thing you’re going to want to do is sign up with an email service provider. There are many options for this and you can shop around to see which one fits your situation best. Personally, I’ve used Aweber, Constant Contact, and Mailchimp (which is what I currently use). While they were all strong platforms that I highly recommend, I found Mailchimp to be the easiest one to learn.
3 | Create a newsletter template. Each email service provider will have their own process for creating a template. Having a template in place will make your job a lot easier moving forward, and will help you maintain consistency in appearance of your newsletters and frequency of delivery.
4 | Add your bio and photo. People get tons of email in their inbox every day. Remind them who you are by including a very brief bio and your photo.
4 | Add social media follow buttons. Social media is another way to engage with your audience, so be sure to invite them to your Facebook page, Instagram, Twitter...wherever you hang out!
5 | Use your name in the From Field.
6 | Send yourself a test email to be sure everything is working properly. You always want to send a test email to be sure everything is working properly. Glitches happen, and sending a test can help you catch problems before your newsletter gets sent out to your entire list. (Also, remember to proofread your emails!)
7 | Create a unique headline for each newsletter you send out. You want to create a unique and interesting headline for each newsletter you send rather than a generic one like “Jenn’s Author Newsletter.” A unique headline will pique your reader’s curiosity, increasing the chance that they will open and read.
8 | Be consistent. Decide how often you’ll send your newsletter and stick to it! Consistency is key.
Spread the Word!
Now that you’re all set up to deliver your newsletter, how can you let people know about it?
Create a freebie to give away in exchange for an email address. Freebies can include free chapters, book, short story, video series about your topic (nonfiction), checklists (like my Indie-Publishing Checklist). Be creative!
Put your freebie and link in the header or bio of your social media accounts. You can also pin a post to the top of your feed letting readers know about your freebie.
Place an opt-in link or image at the end of blog posts. (See below.)
Include an opt-in in the front and back of your book.
Participate in group promos. Just be sure to hyperfocus on your specific niche. For instance, if you write clean romance, include your book in that specific category rather than general romance for better results.
The most important thing to remember about author newsletters is to be intentional in your approach and be yourself. Have a plan in place, create a template, send your newsletter out consistently (i.e., same day weekly or monthly), and engage your readers on a regular basis by asking questions and responding to all replies and comments.
I hope you found this guide helpful! Have any other tips? Share in the comments below.