In the same way you might want to send your friends and family a letter for the holidays giving them an update on your life during the past year, you should develop a list of fans (including your friends and family) to receive your book-related newsletter by email. Always ask them first!
Now, email may be going out of style what with the faster, more convenient connections made through Facebook and Twitter, but don’t think for a second that those services can replace a message that is sent directly to their inboxes, rather than a public message that they will have to visit your Facebook Fan Page to read. According to Lyrislab.com, for every dollar you spend on e-mail campaigns, you make back an average of $44.25.
How often do you send one?
I suggest no more often than once a month. If you find you don’t have much to say in one month and nothing is urgent, don’t worry about waiting until next month. It isn’t like a blog where they will stop visiting it if you don’t post often–it goes right to their email. And you don’t want to flood their inboxes with daily or weekly updates because it will move fans to unsubscribe.
What to include
- A Table of Contents at the top, especially if you have more than five things you want to say
- Give away something for free, especially if your letter is only every couple months. Drive them to your website to pick up their coupon code or free excerpt or enter a contest for a free book or getting a character named after them. Be creative!
- Tour dates, both live and digital dates, times, and locations.
- All of your book-related news and major site updates.
- Lots of links. Drive people to your website, your social media pages. Don’t let them remain passive readers!
- Contact information
Instead of writing long paragraphs and full sentences, let the page breathe with paragraph breaks and bullet points. Get down to the gist of it. They can read your blog if they want to hear your writing voice. This is informational (not that you can’t make it fun too, of course).
Remember to include a Subscribe to my e-letter button on your website
Remember to include an Unsubscribe link at the bottom of your emails.
If you don’t know how to write or format your newsletter, why not subscribe to some people’s newsletters and see what they’re like. You can always unsubscribe later. One good example of well written and good frequency of e-letters are those of Jonathan Rundman. Try it out and see what you do and don’t like about it.
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