What makes an effective author newsletter? How do you get your readers to open the email – let alone click through your links? What do you do if you run out of content ideas? All of these questions can cause anxiety when it comes to preparing and planning your newsletter, but we at KWL have some tips for you in order to help you have an effective and exciting author newsletter.
If you’re not subscribed to the KWL newsletter, make sure you get on that list! Our newsletter is full of tips, tricks, and highlights from our blog, podcast, conference trips, and more. You can opt into it right from your Kobo Writing Life dashboard. And, full permission here: feel free to use our newsletter as a source of inspiration for your own!
But let’s get into it.
How can you create an effective author newsletter?
- Be consistent in your publishing
- Do more than market
- Write about your life
- Highlight other books and authors
- Focus on the reader
These five aspects are where you can start if you are new to writing newsletters, or if you want to improve your newsletter format, outreach, and/or writing skills. Let’s break them down into some more details.
Be consistent in your publishing – this one’s simple: pick a number of times to publish (let’s say once a month), a date to publish on (the beginning or the end of the month is often a great choice), and a time (early morning in your time zone is often best, but early afternoon, around lunch, and late evening is effective too).
In the beginning, choose a time to publish that works for you. Once you’ve gotten into the rhythm of a regular newsletter schedule, you can begin to do some research or to experiment on your own to determine what times result in the most clicks, email opens, and etc. – for example, try and hour earlier, or an hour later, or even move the newsletter from a weekday to a weekend. There are many different options, so try a few out overtime and see where you can find that active readership sweet spot.
Do more than market – newsletters are a great way to highlight your new releases, a continuing series, sales, and more marketing aspects, but in all newsletters, you need to do more than market. Your readers are constantly bombarded by advertisements in their daily lives: your newsletter should be a space where they can engage in more than that.
Mesh your marketing in-between writing updates, publishing advice highlights from your writing life, discussions or reviews of other books, writing advice and exercises, shout-outs to other authors, features of your favourite social media posts about writing, or even just something you found interesting that is relevant to your writing and publications. By having multiple forms of content plus marketing, you can retain readership by offering many points of interest beyond book news.
Write about your life – this ties into the above! You don’t need to give your newsletter readers every detail about your personal life, of course, but make sure to spend some time talking about your writing life. Whether you are a career author, a hobby writer, or someone who is new to self-publishing and is fulfilling your dream of being an indie author, your readers are going to want to know more about you as well as your books. Don’t be afraid to share your thoughts and feelings on being an author, the subject matter of your books, and anything else that pertains to your particular writing life. People are curious, so lean into that and make a connection with your readers!
Highlight other books and authors – again, going back to the point about more than marketing: highlight other books and authors, especially those that are your contemporaries. Fellow indie authors rely on each other (and each other’s readerships) to make their way in this world. Give some time and space to focus on your fellow authors and become part of the community. You can even facilitate newsletter feature exchanges with fellow authors – which is a great way to garner some crossover readers. For example, consider giving some space to a fantasy romance writer while they give your contemporary romance titles a shout-out. Even though your genres don’t entirely mesh, there are definitely readers out there interested in both!
Now more than ever, it is important to uplift others in your author community and help them succeed. Whether you are a seasoned author or a relative newcomer, offering some space to focus on a fellow author is a great way to foster community. We highly encourage writing reviews, too, especially if you are a rabid reader in your genre (and most writers are)! You can even share a post from another author, quote their words of writing advice, link to an article or interview or podcast they featured in, or even reach out to the author directly to feature in a mini-interview or to ask them to highlight their work in their own words. There are so many options – try out a few!
Focus on the reader – last but not least, be sure to focus on the reader. You can write about yourself, your interests, your writing life, and market until your heart is content, but make sure all the above is addressed to the recipient of your newsletter: your readers.
Having a friendly, bright, and engaging voice will be a big help with this. Write as if you are talking to a friend; be casual, creative, and don’t be afraid to sound excited or passionate. Readers will engage with a human-sounding voice more than they would a paragraph that reads as if it were written to feature on the back of a cereal box. In short, avoid copywriting: write with your heart!
Again, readers subscribe to your newsletter for more than just book news and alerts to sales or deals on your titles – the majority of them also want to learn more about the author behind their favourite books. Always be attuned to this desire by writing as if you are speaking directly to them. Keeping this in mind while you write your newsletter will help you create a lasting impact and memorable experience for your readers – one that will get them all the more interest in your upcoming releases!
We hope that these tips will help you create an amazing author newsletter! As always, happy (newsletter) writing from us on the KWL team.