After listening to authors talk about their takeaways from various conventions, classes, etc., the one common theme I've noticed is everyone who's an authority on marketing recommends having a newsletter. Do I have one? Uh, no. I've failed miserably at this piece of the promo puzzle. However, that's all about to change. I'm taking the plunge.
Step One: The Mailing List. Here's what I do know...and it isn't a heck of a lot. You need to start with a mailing list. There are several online sites that allow you to collect addresses for free--up to a certain limit. I chose Mailchimp and created an account. Then I followed the helpful instructions they provided to set up the basic form to collect information, complete with double opt-out so you don't get into trouble for coercing people into signing up by mistake. I took the link they provided and added it to the front page of my website. Not so very hard, even for an old dog! I signed myself up, just to make sure it worked. Amazingly (at least to me), it did. I now had one person (me) on my mailing list. And as the weeks passed and I did nothing, that's the only address I did have. (sigh)
Step Two: How to get people to sign up for your newsletter. Obviously doing nothing has no effect...kind of like how your book doesn't sell itself. I decided to offer a reward to get people to sign up. I have a box of beautiful ARCs (advanced reader copies marketing teams send out to reviewers--not the final, final version, but pretty darn close) of BURIED TRUTH. This is the first book in my new series that will release on January 30, 2018. Marketing had leftovers, so my editor sent me a box. (I was thrilled!) Last week I posted on Facebook that I would draw one lucky winner from the pool of people who signed up for my newsletter, to receive an autographed copy. Proud of my cleverness, I sat back and waited for the signups to roll in. Let's just say I was underwhelmed by the results. I now have ten people on my list, and several are fellow Roses who were being nice! (double sigh) Alrighty, then. Obviously, my minimal efforts weren't producing results, so I contacted the marketing people at Kensington and asked them to spread the word through their social media channels about my bribe...er, I mean prize. They were happy to oblige, so maybe I'll get a little more interest. At any rate, now is your chance. Click on this LINK to sign up for my newsletter if you'd like to get into the drawing. As of now, your chances of winning that ARC are pretty darn good! Contest ends on Sunday, Oct. 22nd, and the winner will be notified by email on Monday, Oct. 23rd. Sorry, but you must live in the US to win since I don't do foreign postage. 😞
Step Three: What to put into the newsletter. So, let's assume I'll have a few interested readers eagerly awaiting my first newsletter. Or to be realistic, I'm hoping readers will at least be motivated to open it before chucking it into their cyber trash. That means exciting content to draw their interest. Obviously, I'll tell them about new releases, any books I might have on sale, and any contests my publisher is running. The basic stuff. (yawn) Since I'm a decent cook and make up my own recipes, I'll also be posting an original recipe or two in each letter. But what else? What do you like to see in newsletters? For those authors who already send one out, what do you do to catch your readers' interest? I'm open to suggestions, and I think this is a great forum to share information. Also, if you have some brilliant ideas to build mailing lists, please share. I know people have sign-up sheets at conventions and book signings, but what about online? Any helpful tips?
For more information on my books, check out my WEBSITE. Happy reading!