Newsletters

This week I’m working on revisions to my third “Crows” book (Eat Crow and Die), but I’m also still mulling over all I learned while attending Sleuthfest 2014. The sessions I sat in on primarily followed various publishing options and promotion.

With over a million books being published each year, either by traditional publishers or self-published, the primary question was how to get one’s book noticed.

newsletter

One way mentioned by several authors was to send out a newsletter.

  1. But send a newsletter to whom?
    Many writers have a mailing list (email addresses) and use that for their newsletters. They have people sign up to be on the mailing list or they pull the names from their contacts.
  2. How often should I send one?
    Some writers only send a newsletter out when they have a new release, others have scheduled times: monthly, quarterly, twice a year, etc.
  3.  What should the newsletter include?
    This, of course, is a personal choice which might depend on the writer’s personality or the book’s genre or sub-genre. Some writers include information about what they’ve been doing: family matters, trips taken, hobbies; some include a blurb and/or teaser from a book they’re promoting, along with reviews, and how to order the book; others include research they did for the book, pictures, recipes, and interesting tidbits they learned. And, of course, some include a bit of all the above.

There are mass email newsletter programs. The cost depends on how many newsletters you want sent out (how many names on your list) and what kind of support or feedback you want. I looked at several and I think I will go with Mail Chimp (http://mailchimp.com/) because that program’s free service allows up to 2000 names. But other programs that interested me were Mad Mimi (https://www.madmimi.com); Vertical Response (http://www.verticalresponse.com); and Your Mailing List Provider (http://www.ymip.com/).

My next step is to create my list. I have several names already; however, when I do send out a newsletter, I want to make certain that anyone who wants to be taken off the list can easily do so. The idea is to make people aware of me and my books in a positive way…not to have them dumping me in the spam file and cussing me for bothering them. (So, for sure, if you get a personal notice about this blog or a newsletter from me and don’t want to be on my list, do let me know so I can remove your email address.)

So, do you send out newsletters? If so, do you feel they’re worth the time and effort? And how often or when do you send one?

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7 Responses to Newsletters

  1. Liz Crowe says:

    I just began my newsletter campaign and use it no more often than every 4 weeks, typically to promote a sale or a new release.
    I use Mailchimp which is very easy to use in my opinion.

  2. Hi Maris,
    Your info on newsletters sounded so useful I took advantage of your offer at the bottom to tweet it. It’s been a long time since I did the Mid Michigan newsletter, but I can see myself getting involved again for myself. I’ll keep your advice in mind when I do.
    All the best, Annette

  3. MM Pollard says:

    Hi, Maris.
    I send a newsletter monthly — that’s my goal anyway. I feature topics: interesting articles, bragging rights — new books coming out by writers with cover and blurb, Ask MM where I answer a question on grammar or a composition question, and my workshops for the next month. I also try to write an article for the newsletter, but sometimes time gets away from me and that doesn’t happen.

    I agree with you, Maris, about making it easy for people to unsubscribe — there’s a place in my newsletter to do that.

    I use Benchmark because the publisher I work with at Black Velvet Seductions uses this company. It has live people to talk to when there is a problem. I think newsletters do a good job of keeping in touch with subscribers. I keep the tone chatty.

    Thanks for sharing your tips for a newsletter — excellent ideas on newsletters.

    MM

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Marilyn, that’s an excellent idea about including books by other writers as well as my own. I’m afraid monthly would probably be too often for me, but I’m pretty sure I could do one every three months. Thank you for taking the time to comment. I’ll have to look into Benchmark.

  4. Melissa Keir says:

    I haven’t started a newsletter yet. I find them to be spam to me, so I can’t see sending one out. I have favorite authors I already one click, I see when they have a new book coming out and buy it.

    • Maris SouleMaris Soule says:

      Melissa, in a way I agree with you. I don’t like receiving newsletters that simply tout the writer’s book, but I think one that had information about some research, or a craft that would be good for the season, or recipes might be interesting and fun to put together. In my case, I can see including information about crows or martial arts weapons or recipes.