A few weeks ago on a working lunch, we got talking about author newsletters: the dos, the don’ts and the maybes. There were some great minds in the room and I thought that it might be useful to gather these tips together, along with some of my own.
1. Decide whether a newsletter is right for your readers. Many people see newsletters as outdated and even the title ‘newsletter’ (if you choose to use it) can put people off. Think about what you’re going to call it – you can still use the newsletter format but with a name that excites your ideal reader.
2. Consider what your ideal reader wants to read about. This is different to deciding what to tell them this month or this week. Keep them front of mind. This is not a Christmas round robin. It’s worth deciding on a structure that you can stick to so that readers know what to expect and the whole exercise is much easier for you.
A short, chatty bit about what you’ve been up to. Storify this and, if you can, relate it to your books, appearances or other income streams so that you can link to them.
Include fabulous pictures, including you if possible. People sell to people, so show your face (and remember to add a text description).
Tell them where they can meet you next to get a signed copy of your book or bring their own to get signed and have a chat. Readers love to meet authors. You may think that you know loads of authors and meet them all the time, but most people don’t and would love the opportunity to meet you! Include accessibility information.
Tell them about forthcoming online appearances. Not everyone can travel to meet you, so let them find you online and whether the session will be recorded.
Can you include a book recommendation or spotlight a colleague (who could then do the same for you in their newsletter)?
Link to your blog, podcast or video content. Just give them a snippet as a taster so that they click to read/hear/watch more and end up on your platform, where they can click through to more content.
Make sure that you’ve got your socials in your footer. It’s a regular reminder that they can follow you.
3. Make a commitment to send your newsletter (or whatever you’re calling it) weekly, fortnightly or monthly. If you find this hard, write when the mood takes you and then schedule your newsletters at regular times. Whatever you decide, be consistent so that your readers know when to expect it and – in time – look out for it.
If any other suggestions or advice occurs to you, do let me know. I’d love to know what works for you. Drop me a line at email@example.com.