Your Author Mailing List, Part 1: How To Use Your Mailing List To Gain More Fans

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In today’s computerized world, writers need mailing lists—digital or traditional—for a variety of reasons. Literary agents and editors like to see that you’re plugged in and taking the time to promote your own career. Fans need a way to look you up so they can learn more about you and be nudged when you have new publications available to them.

When visitors click into your author website for the first time, how do you know they won’t take a look around and then never return? How do you keep them coming back again and again?

You guessed it! Your author mailing list.

These days, creating an email list can be inexpensive and efficient. There are great companies out there that will help you build templates, manage subscribers, and track your open rates.

On your signup form, you can also give subscribers the option of including their mailing addresses, in case you ever decide to go the traditional route of sending postcards or letters. But we’ve found email to be an effective way of staying in touch with readers.

Why It’s Important To Send Out Regular Mailings To Your Author Mailing List

With all of the endless new information available on the Web, you need to find a way to stay fresh in people’s minds. Fans won’t return to your author website often enough to reread the same two poems or short stories that you posted a year ago.

By reaching out on an ongoing basis with your audience, you’ll make it harder for them to forget you. Plus, Google loves to see traffic going to a website or page. When you send your readers to your website regularly, your search engine ranking may go up.

If possible, create a schedule for yourself. Will you update once a week? Once a month? Make choices that make you feel energized, not drained, and your mailings will be more likely to succeed. It’s good to keep the interval consistent, as it will build a sense of expectation in your readers.

Topics To Cover In Your Author Newsletter

Contests: You can hold contests for fans to spread the word, to give their reviews, etc., and you can announce those contests in your mailing. Remind subscribers of upcoming deadlines throughout the entry period and announce the winners at the end.

News about acceptances and publications: Writing can be a lonely lifestyle. Share your good news with your fans in your newsletter and make them a part of your journey. When a piece is published in a print journal, link your fans to the website where they can buy a copy. If a work is published in an online journal, link directly to the work. Going on an author blog tour? Invite your readers to come along.

News about life events: If you’re comfortable, you can include your fans in other elements of your life to help them get to know you. If there’s something you feel good about sharing about your personal life, such as a new pet or an accomplishment in another hobby (like completing a 5K or knitting your first scarf), let them know in your newsletter!

Book recommendations: When you find a great book, let your fans know about it. Ask for their opinions and get a dialogue started on your author website (This works best if you have a blog!).

News about website updates: Every time you add a new blog post, post a new piece, update your events calendar, or make any other change to your author website, announce it in your newsletter.

New social network updates: Participating in any trending conversations on Twitter? Let your fans know in your newsletter. Posted any Facebook statuses that garnered lots of likes or shares? Let the fans know.

The important thing to remember is to update regularly—and that means being active online. If you’re posting on Facebook, tweeting on Twitter, participating in local events, and blogging, you’ll have plenty to write about in your newsletters. If you’re looking for some reputable, user-friendly mailing list services, we recommend iContact, TinyLetter, MailChimp, or Constant Contact.

QUESTION: What kinds of updates do you like to see in the newsletters you receive?

2 Responses to Your Author Mailing List, Part 1: How To Use Your Mailing List To Gain More Fans

  1. I really like getting the personal updates. I think it makes the author real rather than a name on a book. I have an aquaintance with one author in particular on twitter and she is amazing. She talks about every day life. Good movies she’s seen, her favorite TV shows, that kind of thing. She makes it seem like we’re old friends. We talk occasionally, sometimes about her books and the movies based on them, but mostly about just life. She made an impact on me when I was much younger with her books, now It’s a highlight to hold a conversation with her.

  2. Now, why don’t more people talk about such basics as these? Personally, I need to know not just what to do, plenty of articles on that, but also how to go about accomplishing it. What to put in such mailings and what would be okay to send, as well as what’s NOT okay.

    Thanks for posting this! I really look forward to gaining more insight through your site!

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