I encourage authors to use all publicly available book promotion newsletters at their disposal. Some smaller newsletters, like BookBasset, are general use and target all readers of all interests. Other larger newsletters, like BookBub, have specific lists for specific interests. With the genre-specific lists, you can target just those who adore paranormal books or just those who love historical fiction. It gives you much more bang for your buck.
The absolute best solution, however, is to create your OWN author newsletter. This allows you to specifically target people who adore YOUR writing. That way you know every single person you reach is someone who is likely to buy your book.
The question is, how to you build and maintain your own author newsletter?
Choose a Platform
You’ll need a system to actually gather up and store those names. You don’t want to do this one by one from your own home system. It gets tedious VERY quickly. The system I use for most of my newsletters is MailChimp.com. MailChimp is wholly free until you reach 2,000 active members. At that point you’re probably selling enough that you can absorb the cost of their plan as part of your monthly marketing budget.
I also run my own newsletter mailing lists, because I know how to write database code. That being said, I’ve transitioned most of those over into MailChimp because it’s just easier to let MailChimp take care of bounce-backs and unsubscribes and so on.
You can also look into WordPress plugins, if you use WordPress.
You need to stay in regular touch with your readers. It can be a short note about how you’re doing. It should be friendly and interesting. Don’t just keep saying BUY MY BOOK. People will unsubscribe quickly from that.
If you leave long gaps between newsletters, then when people get them they’ll forget what they are about and unsubscribe. If you get hit with too many unsubscribes at once, it can cause issues for your newsletter. Stay in regular touch to avoid that.
Build Your Membership
When you start your newsletter, it will be small. The benefit of a newsletter comes when you have 10,000 or 20,000 or more members so with one quick effort you can reach legions of your fans all at once. But how do you build up to that level?
First, make sure there are links to your newsletter EVERYWHERE. On every single page of your blog. On your Facebook account. On your Twitter account. On your Instagram account. On your LinkedIn account. Do you not have all those areas set up? You really should. People in our modern world are picky about where they “live”. Some people hate Facebook and adore Twitter. Others hate Instagram but love LinkedIn. You want an account everywhere so you can be found by each set of fans.
Next, contact fellow authors in your genre area. Offer to do a promo swap. You will mention them in your newsletter, and they will mention you in their newsletter. The benefit of this is you are targeting people who CLEARLY LIKE NEWSLETTERS :). If they are likely to subscribe to one, they are likely to subscribe to the other, if the genres match.
Make sure a clear, easy to use link is in the back of EVERY SINGLE BOOK you publish. It shouldn’t be a long, complicated link. People hate to type. Make it clickable for the ebook version and short-and-easy for the text version. Use a URL shortener if you need to.
Put fun, interesting factoids or information in your newsletter. That encourages people to share them around to family and friends. That encourages people to subscribe who you never even knew about.
Keep at it. Newsletters build slowly but snowball over time, as their reach grows. Keep sending to it. That regular contact builds relationships, it rewards loyal fans, and it keeps you present in readers’ minds.
Ask with any questions!