Author newsletters are a must-have for any author or writer who's looking to distinguish themselves from others. Why? Because a great author will want to keep in direct contact with their readers, which is why a newsletter is so handy. Not only that, but it helps for extra promotion and credibility. If you're a new author I would definitely prioritise this as a MUST DO.
Why is an author newsletter needed?
An author newsletter will keep your readers informed and thus keep you relevant to them. It's a shame when readers are interested in an author and their work but rarely get anything back for supporting an author, and no I don't mean free promotion. Readers want to be fed content, so by doing a monthly or quarterly newsletter you'll gain reader engagement, email subscribers and credibility. You'll be constantly at the forefront of your reader's mind. Not to mention, an author newsletter is one of the best marketing strategies for selling your book.
Developing a newsletter strategy
To begin developing your author newsletter strategy, you need to plan out a few things first.
Start by coming up with how frequent you'll want to email. A good starting point is monthly and it gives you enough time to prepare the content in advance.
Next, decide on who your audience is and how you will entice them to sign up to your newsletters. For example, my current target audience is the authors, particularly new, first-time authors and to entice this target market into signing up to my newsletter I offer monthly book features in return for a sign-up. It makes sense too, how else will they see their books in my monthly newsletter?
Finally, decide on the components of your newsletter. These components would be included in your newsletter every time you put one out, a recurring topic that readers can look forward to.
Here are a few that I would suggest and a few of my own:
The Latest News - This should be about you, whether that's the latest news in your personal life or the latest news in your book. Did you get a fantastic review? Share it. Did you just secure a publisher? Share it. Think of this part as your personal diary. Readers will appreciate the inside scoop on a great author such as yourself.
Giveaways and Competition - As you could probably guess from a few of my other posts, I'm big on giveaways and competitions. I've seen many established authors do this every month, but who has that budget? Doing this as and when still works and will provide a great increase in sign-ups. You could do an E-Book giveaway or Amazon voucher. Think outside the box.
Behind the Scenes - Not to be confused with the latest news, behind the scenes could feature a look into the life of yourself, you could show authors your work in progress (WIP), or give a behind the scenes look into your life. It doesn't have to be completely writing-related, your readers want to see the real you and what you get up to daily.
Book Recommendations - This is something I have personally taken on and have used as a basis for gaining author email sign-ups. Your newsletter shouldn't be all about you, think of a way to include your target audience in the content of your newsletter. For example, I give my target audience the chance to be included in my monthly book recommendations which are included as a blog post on my newsletter and social media sites.
Latest Blog Posts/Podcasts - If you host a blog or podcast then you should include the monthly posts in your newsletter. It ensures that any posts that your readers may have missed can be seen again, and ultimately provides the chance for more engagement.
Latest Social Media Posts - Similar to the above point, if you don't have a blog or podcast, you could also link to any social media posts you would like more engagement on. This could be a post talking about your published book or any special promotion you have going on.
Link to Social Media - At the end of the blog, and throughout if you can, you should always link to your social media channels. Why miss the opportunity to grow connections and your following? The bigger the following, the more credible you are. Not to be confused with follow-for-follow - this lessens your credibility.
Email providers you should use to build your newsletter
Now that you have your target audience, how often you will email and the components on your newsletter, you need to pick the right email provider. I personally used Wix.com which I have used to build my author website, not only does it come with website building tools but it also allows me to craft enticing emails to my subscribers and provides many email templates should I want to use them. If you haven't built your website using Wix, there are still some great providers out there, such as Mailchimp, MailerLite and Substack.
How to promote your author newsletter
You should be promoting your author newsletter from here on out, include it when making new connections and promote it constantly on social media. You could promote it on Writers Lifts on Twitter or on Facebook group discussions, but something you must never stop promoting it. Email subscribers aren't just built in a day, maybe not even in a week but with a few months hard work, and constant promotion you'll have built a well-known newsletter and then you can use it to promote your work.
Another way to promote your email newsletter is by putting multiple opt-in forms on your website. My website has a sign-up on almost every page and I've found it to be extremely helpful when users want to sign up.