Wednesday, February 03, 2016

Author Newsletters, Yea or Nay?

Confession time. I have an author newsletter, but it’s pretty much at the bottom of my priority list behind writing my next book, writing blog posts for this and other blogs, and other writerly activies like updating my website. Not that I ignore it completely. I do try to send one out now and then, especially at book launch time or when I have a lot of events planned.

For me, I prefer short newsletters. I don’t have any problem reading long books that are printed, but when I read online I prefer everything to be short: short emails that get to the point, short newsletters, short blog posts. If something’s too long, I’ll either not read it or set it aside to read later (which often means I’ll never get to it). So, whatever I do with my newsletter, I don’t want it to be too long.

I subscribe to a number of my fellow authors’ newsletters, partly as a fan to see what they’re up to and partly as a writer to get ideas of what to put in my own. Recipes seem to abound in most of the newsletters I subscribe to, but the authors who produce them also have series that involve food and include recipes at the back of their books. That doesn’t seem like it goes with my series, which is set in the world of decorative/tole painting. I did recently add a Painting Tip section to my newsletter as well as an Ask Sybil section where I answer questions about myself and my writing. But, beyond that, I’m not really sure what else to do with it.

My publisher believes that newsletters are important, also, and encourages us to send them out. But what to put in one? This article on talks about the eight elements in an effective newsletter. I’m not sure how much applies to me, but I found it an interesting read. Jane Friedman also has a Get Started Guide for authors. I’ve only skimmed this one, but it’s on my list to read when I start thinking about my newsletter again. Hah, you noticed, didn't you? The article was a little long so I set it aside. Told you that's what I do. I will get back to this one, though, after I've made more progress on my book.

And there’s the recent post by author Tonya Kappes on titled “Newsletter = Marketing Gold”. She puts out a weekly newsletter and has found it a rewarding and effective way to connect with her readers. She’s a big believer in content that’s only available to newsletter subscribers. When someone subscribes to her newsletter, she gives them a free download of a short story that introduces the reader to her Divorced Diva mystery series. That’s an interesting idea I may put in practice someday.

Type M Readers, what do you want to see in an author newsletter? What don’t you want to see? Do you think they’re worthwhile?

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