This post is meant to be used by authors who are interested in setting up a newsletter for their readers.

Superfulous background information: The first newsletter I sent was in July 2013. I sent it via my author email account (pennreid AT gmail DOT com) to about 50 people who’d emailed me about my books and expressed interest in getting information on new releases. Well, Google (gmail) HATED the fact that I tried to send an email to 50 people, so hardly anyone received the newsletter (email).

Since then I’ve moved on to Mailchimp. I love Mailchimp (like, a lot).

Some stats (using mailchimp):

Newsletter #1 – Aug 2013 – 113 subscribers – 76% open rate

Newsletter #2 – Oct 2013 – 207 subscribers – 63% open rate

Newsletter #3 – Nov 2013 – 354 subscribers – 68% open rate

Newsletter #4 – Jan 2014 – 410 subscribers – 62% open rate

Newsletter #5 – Feb 2014 – 513 subscribers – not yet sent


How do people sign up? 

I have a link here (on my blog). Mailchimp will create an html form for you; you just need to paste the code into the html view.

Since October, I do about one blog post/FB post/twitter announcement a month letting people know about the newsletter and that they can sign up.

I also plan to bring a mailing list sign-up book to all my signings so I can grab people as they walk by my author table.

What do you put in the newsletter?

I communicate release news and share excerpts. My last newsletter ‘table of contents’ was as follows:

  1. Knitting in the City upcoming releases for 2014 At-A-Glance
  2. Love Hacked News (release date and an EXCERPT!!)
  3. Book #4 announced
  4. Friends Without Benefits— print copy news
  5. Anthology ProjectsSpring Break Bingo and Forbidden Fruit
  6. Top Book Lists for 2013, guess who made the lists? Guess how many times?
  7. A brief note about Neanderthal Marries Human
  8. Welcome all the new subscribers (WELCOME!)
  9. FYI Reminder/changes regarding the author signings I have coming up for 2014. More changes
  10. Wish you all at least 7 days of success with your new year’s resolutions.

Why do you send newsletters?

I, personally, send newsletters so that my readers– who have expressed interest– can receive updates and news. I do NOT use my newsletters to push my readers to do things. It’s not a call to arms, it’s a method of information transfer.

Do you have any tips?

Yes. As follows:

  1. Use mailchimp. Take 3 hours and learn how to use it. It’s free as long as you’re sending to less than 2000 people a month
  2. Put links in your newsletter. Links to goodreads pages for your books, purchase links for your books, links to events and signings, links to your facebook page, amazon author page, goodreads author pages, etc.
  3. Announce the fact that you’re about to sent out a newsletter on Facebook/twitter/blog/etc. and include a link so that people can sign up. Then, the day of, post another reminder (tell people to check their spam and promotions folders).
  4. Send a newsletter once a month. You should have something to share at least once a month!! This way people will get used to getting email from you and will look for it.
  5. Your newsletter is for your readers. If they don’t enjoy reading it, they’re not going to want to receive it. Exclusive excerpts will keep people interested. Always include an exclusive excerpt of something!!
  6. Brand yourself, get a logo, include pictures, make it look nice. 🙂
  7. Give love to others (i.e. other authors and bloggers that have supported you). Karma is a real thing.

Feel free to ask me questions! I’ll try my best to answer them this week. Best, Penny