It seems to me there’s a lot of hidden pitfalls to planning an author newsletter. I’m signed up to a number myself and I’ve seen it done both rightly and wrongly. I’ve been studying them quite a bit in order to start my own. Here’s what I’ve learnt:
First is the problem of getting people to sign up for it.
I’ve seen posts on Instagram or Twitter which say simply ‘sign up for my newsletter.’ My usual reaction is ‘why?’ Unless it’s a well known author, or we are already a fan or a friend, there are too many author newsletters out there too sign up for them all. So we only sign up for those that appear to offer us something we want. Many author newsletters therefore hold out the lure of ‘free stuff.’ This works, providing you’re offering something worthwhile.
Once someone has signed up and got their free item, though, we need them to stay signed up and keep reading. That means producing consistent, quality and enjoyable content. Simple, right?
I’ve seen this done wrong too. Having signed up for an authors newsletter, lured by their free ebook, I’ve frequently forgotten all about them in the massively long gap between doing so and actually hearing from them. So my advice would be make a schedule and stick to it.
Then there’s the quality. My first newsletter from one person contained little other than apologies for all the typos in the free ebook. Even though the author assured us they were all fixed, I never bothered to download it. Some authors switch from writing from their point of view to their character’s, and then back again. They haven’t decided how they want to write their newsletter. So I would say, make sure your content is completely ready before you put it out there. In many cases, you have just one chance to hook your reader.
Finally, make it fun. A newsletter that’s one big sell soon gets boring, even irritating. Write about things that will appeal to your target audience. Make it interesting and interactive. Make it have a common theme as well.
And finally make sure you deliver what you promised you would. A newsletter that discusses how to build an author platform is great, unless you promised us true crime.
So, how am I going to do all this?
My newsletter will come out on the first of every month, starting in December. Because my books are set in Victorian times, that will be the general theme. There will be free Victorian recipes, craft projects and more. There will also be interesting Victorian trivia, columns and interviews. You’ll get reviews, excerpts, competitions and cover reveals. I’ll spend November building a list and crafting excellent, polished content.
If this sounds like something you’d enjoy (and I hope it does) you can sign up on my contact page.
Email addresses will be treated entirely confidentially and only used for this purpose.