Thursday, July 11, 2013

Indie Publishing – How to Do Newsletters Right

When it comes to indie publishing, there’s a great many things you can do to market your book. I’m not going to try to tackle them all here in this post, but I am going to offer one suggestion that has worked for me. It’s a unique way to grow a newsletter following.

The word “newsletter” alone can put me off, since I have had companies spam me with unwanted newsletter info in the past, and they made it very hard to get off the list, but when it comes down to it, a newsletter about your next book, or a newsletter about a sale on your whole library, addressed to the right people, can turn into a very helpful and awesome heads-up for readers interested in you as an author.

The problem then is, how do you get people on your newsletter list that are genuinely interested in your work who aren’t going to be annoyed at a few newsletters from you each year? Here’s what I did:

At the back of my last book, I had a section titled “About the Author” or something to that effect. In it, is a one or two short paragraph sequence about me, about my books, books in the series, etc. But at the end of all that is this bit:

I’d love to hear back from you! You’ve listened to me page after page, and I’d appreciate your thoughts on the book, questions about the series, or if you have questions about writing and publishing. You can contact me at I’ll let you know when my next book is coming out once you’re on my contacts list. So even if you don’t have much to say, send me an email just saying “Hi, and thanks for the read,” if you want a heads up from me on my next title.

Yup, this is what you think it is—it’s an opportunity for the readers to connect with me about the story, and a chance for me to put them on my
newsletter list. It’s a positive all around for both the reader and the author. If I could email any given author of a book I enjoyed and get a response back from them, that’d be something.

It takes time to reply to all the responses as an author, but worth it! Who doesn’t like to hear good things about their work? And as for the criticisms—well, there aren’t too many of those, but when they do come, they’re usually helpful tips to keep in mind going forward.

You may wonder if sending them newsletters after that initial contact might be seen as spam, but the key here is to not overdo it. I currently only send out letters to my reader’s list every time I have a book published, or when something big happens with some of my past books, like getting an eBook printed, or a huge discount for all of my books. The point is to keep your contact sparse, only nudging them when there’s something big to report. That’s how I do it anyways, and it’s been working well for me so far.

I hope this tip helps you and your publishing effort! I know most authors feel overwhelmed when they finally finish a book and realize how much marketing is ahead of them. Just know you’re not alone. Keep at it and you'll do fine! :)

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