Build your Newsletter list 101
As I've said before, I'm no expert, and don't pretend to be. However, I've been slogging through the promo trenches since I published my YA Fantasy debut, Dragons Walk Among Us. Since then, I've published a sequel, and the third book in the series is under contract.
Your Author Newsletter
Do you have an author newsletter?
You don't? Why not?
If you've searched up book promotion, you've probably come across numerous websites telling you an author newsletter is critical to promoting your work. It allows you to do permission marketing, which just means that when someone signed up for newsletter they're giving you permission to try to sell stuff to them.
It also allows you to stay in contact with your readers on a regular basis. Some articles claim you should email your readers once a week…personally, once a week seems like overkill to me. About once a month is the frequency I prefer. Honestly, I unsubscribe to many mailing lists that dump an email into my inbox more than biweekly. Many others, I simply ignore. Those lovingly crafted marketing messages are nothing but noise. Your goal is for your newsletter to be read, at least by a percentage of your audience. You want to remind your audience that you're writing books and want to connect with them without being pushy.
Of course, even producing a newsletter once a month can seem daunting when all you want to do is write books!
Ideas for Newsletter Content
Oh, so you only want to write stories? You don't want to write boring newsletter copy?!
I get it.
So there are some obvious newsletter topics:
Got a new release? Tell your fans!
Book won an award? Crow about it!
Participating in a promo? Let your readers know.
Cover reveal time? Show your newsletter subscribers first.
Unfortunately, you won't always have a new release or be winning an award, etc. So what do you
include in a newsletter? I post regularly on my blog. I include links in my newsletter to content that I think might appeal to YA fantasy readers. I also do a brief write up on a book I have recently read or I'm reading that I find particularly compelling. Depending on the time of year, I might mention the holidays or the start school or jot down a few words about my soccer fanatic sons.
That's great but how do I get subscribers?
That's a question I wrestled with! Tons of articles go on and on about the importance of reader magnets. This can be a free book or short story or other content that you hand out to people in exchange for them signing up to your newsletter. Do you have a reader magnet? If not, I'd suggest creating one. However, unless you can come up with one that people are just dying to get ahold of, it probably won't win you thousands of subscribers.
I use a short story for my reader magnet. This was pretty straightforward because before finding a publisher for The Allison Lee Chronicles, I had about 20 short stories published. Honestly, it's probably time for me to update my reader magnet. The story I have out there right now has been around since this blog's inception back in 2019 or so.
The most straightforward way to gain newsletter subscribers is by signing up to participate in giveaways from sites likeAuthorsXp and Booksweeps. In terms of promo, their services are relatively inexpensive and very reliable. You sign up to participate in a themed giveaway. People sign up to win in exchange for signing up to participating authors' newsletters. Now, there is a catch. Both of these services expect the author to be ready to gift the winners two copies of their book. So, you have to have a book to give away. But once you do, these are reliable sites to work with.
However, you might eventually face diminishing returns once you participate in a few promotions. Instead of having hundreds of new email subscribers per promotion, you might have only 100 or even less. That said, using these sites will grow your newsletter subscribers.
But what if you want to build your newsletter before your book is out? If you write science fiction or fantasy, maybe even thrillers, check out C.L. Cannon's promotions. She runs tons of newsletter builders. All are inexpensive, and none require you to have a book to offer as a giveaway. I've had great luck with these.
These are the main methods I've used to pick up newsletter subscribers. Tons of authors use Book Funnel to grow their subscribers, but I've shied away from using this site because it is a subscription service.
Do you have any tips or questions about finding subscribers? Drop your thoughts in the comments.