18 Tips for Creating an Author E-Newsletter

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Emails, e-blasts, e-newsletters. Whatever you want to call it, we authors have to do it. Even if we’re not published yet. Okay, especially if we’re not published yet.

I will admit, I have been putting this newsletter thing off. I didn’t even realize that I had a short list of reasons why, until the topic was brought up at a writers conference I recently attended. There, a group of published authors leading a workshop shared why they initially put off writing a newsletter. They were thinking:

  • I don’t even have a book out yet.
  • What will my newsletter be about?
  • Only my mom, dad, Aunt Sally, and BFF will sign up for it.
  • I don’t have time, because I’m too busy writing my book.

I nodded at this. Vigorously. All of those points resonated. Then, one by one, all three authors said they wished they had started their e-newsletters sooner. In fact, that was one of their biggest regrets as a pre-published author.

So what tips did they have for creating and writing a newsletter if you’re pre-published?Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.01.32 AM

  1. Share tidbits about your current work-in-progress (WIP). Include the title, a one-sentence summary or blurb, and stock photos that are relatable.
  2. Provide information about your book’s characters. What are their names, ages, goals, and motivations? Again, add stock photos that are relatable.
  3. Include an excerpt from your WIP.
  4. Include a short story. It can be related or not related to your WIP.
  5. Share what you’re reading.
  6. Share what you’re watching on TV.
  7. Share your hobbies (what you’re cooking, knitting, painting, etc.).
  8. Share where you’re vacationing.
  9. Do a giveaway. One author gave away a $10 Amazon gift card to a randomly chosen subscriber, which was a big hit—and not very expensive.
  10. Do a freebie. Giveaway a book from an author that you like.
  11. Include a review of another author’s work.
  12. Include a guest post from another author.
  13. Include links to your most recent blog posts.Screen Shot 2018-07-26 at 10.01.49 AM

Check out Newsletters Are Immortal on Medium.com.

“Wait a minute. Back up. How do we even create the newsletter?Screen Shot 2018-07-23 at 5.47.29 PM

  1. Use MailChimp or a similar program. We can use their templates. They have plans that range from free to, well, not-free.
  2. Do a sign-up/subscribe form. Make a pop-up form for your website or blog. Or, if you don’t like pop-up forms, you can make it a link, and embed it on your website, blog posts, email signature, or social media posts.
  3. Make it visually appealing with stock photos.
  4. Make it short. They said not to have too much text, like 300 words or less.
  5. Stick to a schedule. Don’t make it stressful. Every 2 weeks, every month, or every six weeks. Whatever is most doable.

Read The Definitive Guide To Building An Email List From Scratch on Forbes.com

“But we’re pre-published. We don’t have any readers to sign up for the newsletter, because we don’t have any books out yet. So who do we get to sign up?

  • Your Mom
  • Dad
  • Aunt Sally
  • BFF

Yes, it’s true. All of the authors said that it’s okay to start with the obvious: those who are closest to us. The list will grow if we keep at it. So here’s a link to my sign-up form. Please comment below with a link to yours. Or include tips that you have for creating an e-newsletter. We will be pre-published-author-newsletter BFFs.

 

Photo by Oleg Laptev on Unsplash

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