by Kelly Carey
With a book contract in hand, and a polished website, I found that the next step was to create a newsletter.
I know what you're thinking. More non-writing time! You’ve already spent so much time building a website. Which for non-tech folks, like me, meant hours figuring out why a column wouldn’t center right, or how to upload a good photo, or what color scheme to use, and hyperlinks. The website rabbit hole can make Alice’s adventure feel like a trip to the mailbox. But trust me, the newsletter is much easier, the benefits are worth it, and all the skills you learned creating your website transfer right over.
As soon as your book is announced, folks will be asking you for news. I couldn’t leave the house without bumping into someone who wanted to know what was new with my book. When asked, I would hand over my business card with my website address and say, “Go to my website and sign up for my newsletter and you'll be the first to know when the cover is revealed, when I have a publication date, and when I'm having a launch party." I found that folks appreciated being invited to sign up and this method allowed me to answer the "What's new with your book?" question in a solid and productive way.
The newsletter doesn't have to be a daunting endeavor. You’ll publish your newsletter on your schedule and only as often as you decide. My book launched in April of 2020 and my first newsletter dropped in July of 2019. In total I put out 5 newsletters in 2019 and 8 in 2020. You can check out a list of my newsletters here.
I used those newsletters to:
1. Reveal the Cover
2. Create a Pre-Order Offer
3. Share a Video When I Got My Author Copies
4. Invite Folks to the Launch Party
5. Celebrate the Launch
6. Share News of a Kirkus Review
7. Plug Interviews and Reviews on other Sites
8. Promote Author Visits and Events
The unexpected boon for me was that I collected almost 100 emails in the months before my launch from folks who signed up for the newsletter. To boost my subscriber list even more, I set a goal of reaching out to 10-12 friends every month to ask them if I could sign them up for my newsletter. The responses were overwhelmingly positive and that is how I got the bulk of my newsletter subscribers.
I announced my launch event in a newsletter and I think having a robust subscriber base really helped attendance. When I announce my second book (fingers crossed), I'll be grateful that I have a healthy group of subscribers and I’ll be ready to blast out the news to folks who were my first fans.
And my newsletter went beyond just my subscribers. People forwarded my newsletter to their friends and colleagues. I’ve also seen folks put my newsletters on Twitter and Facebook too - so hooray!
One way to expand the reach of your newsletter is to make sure it offers the recipient something more than just you tooting your own publishing horn. I often added the "What I'm Reading" section as a way to not only plug books from fellow writers but to offer my subscribers some helpful book recommendations. My friends and family are always asking me for book advice for themselves and their kids and putting book suggestions in my newsletter was a perfect way to add value. When I posted the newsletter and tagged the authors of books I had recommended they often retweeted and reposted it to their followers – bonus!!
There are no rules - no deadlines for your newsletter -- so it's totally your call on when and how often you post. Need one more nudge? You can check out this guest blog on 24 Carrot Writing by marketing guru Colleen Riordan about why authors need an email newsletter.
You’ve done so much work and you want to make it easy for readers to get excited about your book and to get their own copy – maybe even an autographed copy at an author visit. Why not make it easy for readers by sharing all this news in a newsletter?
Peruse blogs for advice and tips from KidLit creatives.
Click to set custom HTML
Click on the RSS Feed button above to receive notifications of new posts on this blog.