Welcome to the very first in my new blog series, The Writers Den. Each month there will be a guest post from a very special guest author. Each author will be offering something different and informative on a particular area of writing and publishing. I’m sure this series will be fabulous.
Our very first Writer’s Den guest is author Bree Verity who is going to chat about why newsletters are so important for authors. Bree shares some great advice and tips that all authors – trad, indie, hybrid – can benefit from. And don’t forget, it’s never too early to start a newsletter. Even if you are yet to be published, an author newsletter is an essential tool in your author tool box.
Writing Fiction? You Still Need a Newsletter
by Bree Verity
You can probably come up with a dozen good reasons why you shouldn’t bother with a newsletter. “I don’t have the time.” “Newsletters only clog up people’s emails and annoy them.” “Nobody wants to read stuff about me.”
But there are good reasons why you should have a newsletter – and why it should take precedence over social media and even a website presence.
Three Reasons you Need a Newsletter.
1. To be seen. We operate in a saturated market, and compete not only against other books, but against Netflix binges, little Sally’s hockey training and every other means of entertainment our readers can afford, from going out for dinner to going to the theatre. Fiction is an entertainment product. We compete against all other entertainment products.
2. It doesn’t cost much – all you need is an email marketing account (with a provider like Mailerlite or MailChimp) and you are ready to start. There are free options here, but there are also tools you need that don’t come with most of the free accounts, so you will need to pay a little bit.
3. And the most important reason – you own those email addresses. Your Facebook subscribers can be swiped off you any time Mr Zuckerberg decides to change his modus operandi. But your subscribers have particularly given you permission to hold their precious email address and use them to communicate with them.
So, how does a Newsletter help me sell books?
A newsletter helps you sell by promoting you – the author. Once your readers trust you, they expect to hear sales messages from time to time – this is known as permission marketing. According to these stats from Constant Contact, 61 percent of consumers enjoy receiving promotional emails weekly. 38 percent would like emails to come even more frequently. So, as long as you are providing interesting content, readers actually DO want your emails!
Don’t make the mistake of projecting your own feelings onto your market. Even if you don’t like receiving email newsletters, the fact are clear that most people do.
Is it really the best way to market fiction books to potential readers?
No. The best way is to pay for advertising. Lots and lots of advertising.
But if you do not have a money tree or a sugar daddy, then yes, this is the best way to market to potential readers. It also suits the more introverted nature of the fiction writer better – social media needs constant attention; a newsletter need only be thought about once a month. A website needs traffic driven to it via blogs, and to gain traction with the search bots, you need to post several times a week. And in-person appearances take organisation and energy.
Consumers are bombarded by sales messages at every turn. For them to even notice your message in amongst the noise, you need to build a relationship with them, so they register pleasure when your messages hit their email and are more inclined to look at yours.
What should I put in my newsletter?
Your newsletters should be tailored to your audience. And your audience has been gained (mostly) from the reader magnet you provided.
So, if your reader magnet is a piece of historical romance, don’t make your newsletter about motorcycle club romance (unless it’s a historical one.) Make your newsletter genre specific.
· You should have an introduction that reminds your readers who you are and what you write. Using a newsletter template, you could make this introduction static, so you only have to write it once.
· Next there should be an article. Maybe 500-1000 words on something that will interest your readership. Have you researched something recently to do with your books? Or your pet subject(s)?
· Include a link to someone else’s book. This is where the real value of newsletters comes in – you can link with other writers in your genre and ask them to link to you – and those links go back to your reader magnet, and add another subscriber to your list each time someone click on the link in your friend’s newsletter.
· Ask a question. Readers love the opportunity to speak to writers. Make a poll, or even get them to send you a return email. And always, if someone takes the time to write to you, write back to them.
· Say something about the progress of your current book. Bring anticipation to your next release. Have a countdown.
· Talk about your personal life, to the extent that you are comfortable. Your readers actually do want to hear about you. Something funny that your kids said, somewhere you went, someone you saw.
And of course, if you have just released a book, so long as you haven’t been bombarding your readers with sales messages, you can send them an email that just tells them about your new release. Or your sale. Or your public appearance. They expect a sales message along with your news and will accept it in good grace.
You’re an Entertainer – so Entertain!
Readers will continue to read your newsletter if you entertain them. Novels – our stock in trade – are designed to entertain. Your newsletter should do the same.
If it does, your occasional sales messages will not be ignored by your readership, and, all fingers crossed, they will step into the next part of your sales funnel then continue on to buy your book.
Bree Verity grew up on a diet of epic fantasy, tea and crumpets, dancing, Regency novels, swashbuckling adventure and musicals. It’s no wonder she has ended up writing stories for a living. It’s surprising she ever thought about doing anything else.
She lives at the very top of the Gold Coast in Queensland, Australia with her beloved and ancient rescue mutt, Millie. She keeps it very quiet from Millie that she is equally a cat person.
Some say she must have been a gypsy in a previous life, but Bree thinks she was a time-traveler.
If there was a way to directly infuse tea into the veins, she would sign up for it immediately.
Bree’s latest book, Lady Diana’s Disguise has just been released on Amazon. You can get it here.
Available now!Seven Wishes Fantasy Regency Romance series:
Miss Fenella’s Fault Miss Cheswick’s Charm Lady Diana’s Disguise
Revolution and Regency series:
The Hidden Duchess The Unwilling Smuggler
The Ruined Lady
The Scandalous Widow