–Indie Author Resource Post–

Back in February 2014 I wrote an indie author resource post about Newsletters; you can find that post here: http://reidromance.blogspot.com/2014/02/for-authors-newsletter-who-what-where.html

I have some updates, new information to add (if anyone is interested…) as follows:

For my Newsletters, I use mailchimp: http://mailchimp.com

Updated stats (using mailchimp):

List growth over time


“opens” are top line; “link clicks” are bottom line

Outlier (A)— As you can see, the second to last newsletter sent (March 2015) was a duplicate of the one prior (also March 2015), but sent only to those subscribers who did not open the original March 2015 newsletter. Before I culled my subscriber list, I wanted to re-send the last newsletter to inactive users (giving them one more chance to open before I deleted them from the list). That is why the open rate is so low for that particular email campaign. Of the 1058 subscribers, less than 300 opened the email. Therefore, I removed 700+ subscribers from my mailing list (trimming users who don’t interact).

General Impressions:

1) The newsletter is wonderful, worth the investment, and it works.

2) I have more sign-ups the month of new releases than other months.

3) The newsletter is time-consuming (takes 6-8 hours per month).

4) I send newsletters once a month and my readers like receiving them…

How do people sign up? 

1) I put a signup link in the back of all my electronic and print books. Therefore, when a person finishes one of my books they can immediately sign up for the newsletter.

2) 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.

3) Since October 2013, I do about 3 blog posts/FB post/twitter announcements a
month letting people know about the newsletter and that they can sign

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

Do you delete subscribers?

I’ve been in the habit of culling my list every 6 months by
removing/deleting inactive users (i.e. those users who have not opened a
newsletter in the last 10 months). This cuts down on the number of
unsubscribers and– until recently– kept my list under the paid
threshold for mailchimp (after 2000 subscribers, you have to pay to use
mailchimp). However, April was a huge month for subscriptions (over 500); therefore I now pay $35 a month to use mailchimp.

What do you put in the newsletter?

I have two kinds of newsletters:

1) The Book is Live!

Used sparingly and only for new book releases. This email is very short and contains 1 or 2 graphics and links to purchase the book.

2) Newsy Newsletter

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

  1. It’s April… That’s not even an April Fool’s joke.. How did this happen? Are you all still out there?
  2. Elements of Chemistry: ATTRACTION is LIVE! 
  3. More Elements of Chemistry newsy news… woot.
  4. Prepare yourself for those loveable Winston Brothers… an excerpt of Truth or Beard. 🙂
  5. The Hooker and the Hermit is going to Kindle Unlimited!
  6. Personal News/canceled signings
  7. Scenes from the City is AVAILABLE AGAIN?!
  8. Neanderthal Seeks Human is still FREE! Find out why…
  9. Listen to the awesome via Audiobooks!
  10. Happenings/updates with the Sharks of Awesome
  11. Updated Writing Schedule for 2015
  12. Where you can find my books
  13. 2015 signing updates
  14. And, as always, lowering your expectations

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. —- UPDATE: this methodology has served me well for the last *almost* 2-years…

Do you have any tips?

Yes. Same as before, 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,
  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