7 Tips to Create Your Perfect Author Newsletter

Author NewsletterI hear parrots squawking the same mantra constantly: “Hear Ye! Hear Ye! The best way to drive book sales is through a subscriber list.”

Its that thing where you: create a newsletter, do book updates, bonus content and give your hard work away for free.

If you got books to sell, you need that list.

This made me do one of those gut busting groans. Seriously? I spend enough time writing posts instead of my novel, do I actually have to add something else to my seven hundred and forty-eight page to do list?

Apparently I do, and that means you do too.

I heard that message loud and clear, especially as I’ll be releasing books this year. So I made a subscriber list one of my goals and I’ve been busy rolling up my ‘bonus content’ sleeves. Finally I’ve created one and it’s ready and chock full of just that: bonus content, round ups, writers tools, recommendations, writing inspiration and book updates. If you want to sign up for it, you can here. And actually, once I did create it, I got kind of excited. The customising tools and fancy schmancy things you can do are quite exciting.

Here’s what I learnt in the process:

The thing is, I’m new to this. I’ve never had a mailing list before and I’m not going to profess to be the Einstein of newsletters, so I want to hear from YOU.

What makes you subscribe to a mailing list in the first place? What turns you off a newsletter? But more importantly what content do you like to see in them? Let me know in the comments below.

You know me, I never do anything without sharing what I’ve learnt.

I found this perfectly timed Nozegraze article through Debby. The post is wicked, it explains at length how to get your mailing list up and running as well as giving a list of providers that run mailing services. I chose Mailchimp. It’s supposedly the best value for money given the customisability factor and that up to 2000 subscribers it’s free. #LoveABargain

7 Tips to Perfecting Your Newsletter

1. Research

Like anything these days, doing your own research is compulsory. Much as it physically pained me not to dive straight in, I actually read a bunch of articles and reviews on these mailing list whatnots. As a result, I changed my mind approximately thirty-four and a half times, before settling on Mailchimp.

There isn’t a one size fits all and each provider interfaces with blog platforms slightly differently. I know. Fucking annoying, isn’t it?!

2. Personalise it

At the end of the day, if someone is following you and they decide to sign up for your newsletter, then they must like what you do. Use that. Carry the same voice and style you already have into your newsletter. After all, its that, that got them to sign up in the first place. All I’m saying is, if you blog about the intricacies of oriental stamps found in Botswana, then it’s sensible to customise your newsletter content in the same way.

3. Branding

Author branding is another one of those irritating number one songs played on repeat…

Who are you, Damnit?

Seriously? how the fuck am I meant to know? I’m a sixteen year old teen stuck in an ageing (almost thirty year olds) body. You ask me that question and I’m liable to spontaneously combust, spewing out an all too public mid life, quarter life crisis all over my blog.

Lets focus. What do I know?

Use my superhero name: Sacha Black

Use, where possible, the same: styling, imagery, language and content.

Finally, use the same look and feel in the newsletter as on your website. I use a lot of black and purple. So if I start using pink and fluff, that shit ain’t guna fly.

4. Consistency

See point two and three. If one month you talk about the macrobiological benefits of ape droppings when the previous month you talked about Scrivener, people are going to get bored real quick and unsubscribe from your list faster than I can neck tonights wine.

That’s all great, but what am I actually blathering on about?

I’ve sectioned my newsletter out. Just like in a magazine, I have sections you’ll see every month, like writing tool recommendations or unusual word of the month and then some new sections with the same style of info. It’s consistency without boredom.

Being consistent means people will know what to expect when your letter drops into their inbox. That’s a good thing.

5. Bonus material

How Much?This is a sticky issue for me. I don’t believe you get anything for free in life and I don’t believe in giving hard work away for free either. I know how much blood sweat and tears goes into creating a book. So I’d rather pay for a fellow authors book than be given one for free. And I do.

But. The last mantra I hear and this one sounds like finger nails on a chalk board to me is: ‘give something away for free to get people to sign up’ a book, a PDF, a limb, your kidney, whatever.

Umm. No.

I like my all too chubby legs and I find kidneys particularly useful thanks. So no, I’m not giving anything away for free. Sorry folks.

I would rather grind away and build a list of people who are actually interested in my content than give something away for free just to get subscribers to sign up. Cause lets be honest, half of them will probably unsubscribe as soon as they have your magical freebie and the rest? They might not even bother to read it.

Before anyone hops up and down cause their knickers gave them a wedgey. I’ll be clear. I am all for book sale tactics and marketing methods, I am just talking about subscriber lists only.

Besides, I love a bargain as much as the next person. In fact I love nothing more than feeling jammy cause I got something at a good price, or I paid good money for good quality.

So what else can you do to give value for money for an email subscription?

Most of my views come from my Monday posts; lessons I’ve learnt on my journey to publishing. Therefore, it makes sense to me to do more of the same. Give content away in the newsletter that I don’t publish on the blog.

6. Round ups

Newsletter subscriptions are traffic drivers. If I click through to dozens of posts from emails, then so will others. So make sure you include popular posts from the week and links to wherever you want to drive traffic.

7. Book updates

If you’re already a published author then it makes sense to link to book sale pages or marketing campaigns. It’s like I said in point six, these bad boys are traffic drivers. Use them.

If you’re not published, give updates and countdowns to launches. It’s the prime opportunity to keep potential readers in the loop.

Don’t forget I want to hear from you:

What makes you subscribe to a mailing list in the first place? What turns you off a newsletter? But more importantly what content do you like to see in them? Let me know in the comments below.

Oh, and if you happened to like this or any other post, and you’d like to get even more content straight to your mailbox, you can sign up for my brand spanking, shit hot shiny, glitter covered newsletter right here.


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