Wednesday, October 14, 2015

The Business of Writing: The Author Newsletter #ampromoting #ASMSG

Scholar sharpening a quill pen by Gerrit Dou.
Public domain image via Wikimedia Commons.
Years and years ago, when I used to receive authors' newsletters via postal mail, I didn't adopt the tactic because I would have had trouble coming up with something new to report every month.

This was at the close of the millennium when traditional publishing was the norm, with a few small presses struggling to keep their doors open for love of the written word rather than the bottom line. As a traditional-published author, I was tied to my publisher's schedule and whims regarding whether they would reprint my novels, issue them in a different format, or exploit ancillary rights such as audiobook and foreign translations.

Sure, I could have reported news of book signings, lectures, and other personal appearances, but without the Really Big News to announce of another imminent release, I didn't really see the point of wasting all that postage.

With the advent of social media as an inexpensive tool for self promotion, of course, all of that has changed.

Beverly Bateman raises the question of "Do I or Don't I?" publish an author newsletter on Blogging With Beverly:

Beverly's post was inspired by a podcast she had listened to for increasing email signups. The podcaster suggested the publication of weekly newsletters. You can read the comment I left on the article (along with everyone else's comments), but in a nutshell, I cannot envision myself ever sending weekly newsletters -- not due to lack of content because I have a lot more news to report these days with regard to the progress of audiobooks, graphic novels, and new releases -- but because I'd never get any new writing done!

I publish my newsletter The Dawnflier monthly, and thank you kindly for signing up!

If you still need convincing, or if you're convinced you want to start a newsletter but aren't sure where to begin, this article contains many excellent points about content and other considerations:

One thing that article does not address is the email delivery service. My email server tends to get twitchy and lock me out if it sees me sending huge batches of emails. My original email server for newsletters was hosted by GoDaddy, but I've heard of this happening to Gmail accounts too.

That's why I bit the proverbial bullet a few months ago and started a list via MailChimp, the free version. If I ever get enough subscribers to necessitate paying for pro service, why that'll be a great day! But for now the free version does everything I need. There's a bit of a learning curve to figure out "campaign" (i.e., newsletter) design, but once I got over that hump and discovered the "save as template" option, subsequent newsletter designs have been a snap.

Whether you "Do or Don't" publish a periodic email newsletter is entirely up to you, but I've found that it's an excellent way to connect with members of my readership.

Happy writing--and newsletter-ing! :)

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