I get a lot of author newsletters. I’ve mentioned my InstaFreebie addiction before, plus I love reading them to see what people are doing and how authors are utilizing their newsletters. Because of this, I see a lot of things that turn me and presumably other readers off.
Here’s my list of the top 3 “don’ts” for author newsletters.
1. Don’t guilt me or shame me if I don’t buy your books.
Do I even have to say this? Really? I know you’re trying to pay bills/buy groceries/send your kids to college/whatever with your book money. Guess what? I am too! And if you’re in the publishing space for any length of time you know how full our Kindles are, how our “to be read” shelf of deadtree books is running over, and frankly how bombarded we are with books and how limited our time is. That’s a fact of life. Throw into that a funky economy, other obligations, and sometimes, the book budget just doesn’t stretch as far as we want.
What to do instead: Tell me about your book, but also share with me about your life, your interests, your hobbies. Let me get to know you. That will build a deeper relationship and will keep you, and your books, in my mind.
2. Don’t assume if I downloaded your free book on Friday that I’ve read it by Monday.
Once I download a book from InstaFreebie, I know I’ll read it….someday. Since I read for review those books come first, and I can tell you right now I’m woefully behind in my reviews. (Sorry authors! You’re on my spreadsheet!) I downloaded your book because the title/blurb sounded interesting, so there’s a really good chance I’ll read and review. Sending me autoresponders every 2-3 days asking if I’ve reviewed it just makes me feel like you’re one more responsibility on an already over-crowded plate.
What to do instead: Send an autoresponder maybe 2-4 weeks out. There’s a good chance I’ve finished up a book (or two) that I’m reading and your email will jog my memory. (See #1)
3. Don’t use negative sales tactics.
Look, all the “marketing gurus” tell you that you have to tell your readers this is a “no brainer” or treat them like truant kindergartners. No, you don’t. Seriously. Treat me like an adult. Don’t use scarcity tactics (but be honest if a deal is only going to be for a weekend or something.) Don’t shame me. Don’t guilt me. Don’t tell me I’m stupid if I don’t take you up on your offer. Treat me like a good friend, and we’ll get along just fine.
What to do instead: Before sending a newsletter ask, “would I speak with my best friend this way?”. If the answer is no, revise.
I hope these tips help you when it comes to putting together your author newsletter.
Have you picked up my book, Perfect Author Newsletters? In it, I discuss ways to make your newsletter work for you, plus if you’ve been thinking about setting up a newsletter, this will get you started.