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?
- Share tidbits about your current work-in-progress (WIP). Include the title, a one-sentence summary or blurb, and stock photos that are relatable.
- Provide information about your book’s characters. What are their names, ages, goals, and motivations? Again, add stock photos that are relatable.
- Include an excerpt from your WIP.
- Include a short story. It can be related or not related to your WIP.
- Share what you’re reading.
- Share what you’re watching on TV.
- Share your hobbies (what you’re cooking, knitting, painting, etc.).
- Share where you’re vacationing.
- 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.
- Do a freebie. Giveaway a book from an author that you like.
- Include a review of another author’s work.
- Include a guest post from another author.
- Include links to your most recent blog posts.
Check out Newsletters Are Immortal on Medium.com.
“Wait a minute. Back up. How do we even create the newsletter?“
- Use MailChimp or a similar program. We can use their templates. They have plans that range from free to, well, not-free.
- 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.
- Make it visually appealing with stock photos.
- Make it short. They said not to have too much text, like 300 words or less.
- 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
- Aunt Sally
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.