Happy September. New month means new #AuthorToolBoxBlogHop post. I’m a little fried this week. Last weekend I worked a music festival, so that means twelve hour days outside in the Georgia heat. Then I spent Monday and Tuesday fighting with formatting and dealing with car stuff.
Upside to that, The Teen has wheels again after his accident (not his fault) and I managed to get my book formatted and uploaded for pre-order. So yay, accomplishments, but man I couldn’t think of a topic to write about, so I phoned a friend. Thank you Ameila Foster for giving me some to ramble about.
Let’s get to it then. As authors having a social media presence is a necessary evil. It just is. But the where and how often varies based on who you ask. However, the one thing that seems to be pretty unanimous is the need for a newsletter. Why? Well, the reasoning is you never know when a social site will make changes that affect how well you can connect with your readers. We’ve seen it this year with all the Facebook changes alone. But, the “experts” say you own your list. You can always have direct access to those that have signed up, or so the theory goes.
But newsletters can be scary. Aside from trying to figure out which platform to use, the biggest worries I hear in the circles I travel are 1) how difficult they may be to set up 2) what to talk about and 3) how often to send.
Time to break down the points.
Difficulty to set up
I use Mailchimp so my experience will be based on that. If you’re not techy like I am, it can take you a little while to get the first one done. I think my first one took me two hours or so. Going off my memory from last year when I did it. Mailchimp does make it easy with drag and drop features which is so nice! The hardest part is deciding on your layout, colors, etc. Once you get that done you can save it as a template.
Saving it as your template however makes future newsletters much easier. You just change up the information you’re sending, but the layout and everything remains the same. That helps for two reasons 1) saves you time and 2) keeping it fairly consistent in looks helps with your author branding.
Second point What to talk about
My best advice on this is to subscribe to one or two authors that write your genre to see what they do. That’s what I did. It gave me an idea of what readers could be expecting from me so I could proceed accordingly.
I break mine down into sections. Top is the greeting and the main reason I’m sending. The middle is any talk about sales, promotions, new releases of friends and such that might be of interest to my subscribers. The end is a fun section called Cocktail Corner. Here I share a fun drink recipe that fits the tone of the newsletter. That’s pretty much it. I keep it short and simple for the most part. You don’t want them to be long drawn out things. Short, punchy, and fun. You want your content to be something your subscribers look forward to.
One author I subscribed to had a serial story going. You got a new chapter with each newsletter. Another offers up snippets of the books they’d read and reviewed. Like finding your author voice, figuring out what content to share will be a personal thing. Don’t over think and try not to stress.
That leads us to the final point. How often.
That also is up to you. Some authors do a set schedule of weekly, bi-weekly, or monthly. I do nothing of the sort. I joke that my real tagline is consistently inconsistent. LOL I only send out my newsletters when I have something to share. That means they are typically far and few in between unless I have an upcoming release.
I do special first look things like cover reveals or sharing of chapters. Sometimes teasing of new WIPs. Point is when I send one I want my subscribers to know it’s new and “important” news I’m sharing.
Your newsletter is a tool to help you, but it shouldn’t be “work” and for me sending out something on such a regimented schedule would make it work for me and I wouldn’t want to do it. Plus I fear people being overwhelmed by the volume and want to unsubscribe because I know I have been that person.
I’ve been sending out newsletters for year now. My list is small because I never tried to do newsletter builders and such. Attempting that now to see how it goes. And I honestly can’t say how many if any sales I get from my newsletter peeps. But that’s the same with any social media marketing. It’s simply another tool in my arsenal. I try to keep the interactions engaging even there and not do a hard buy, buy, buy because no one wants that. LOL
If you’ve been on the fence about starting a newsletter, hopefully the few bits I’ve shared today help ease your mind a little.
Until next time