I’m a firm believer that an author needs a newsletter and part of a strong newsletter strategy is an autoresponder sequence. These are emails which are sent out at certain intervals designed to introduce you to readers, as well as hopefully share a bit about what’s coming up or prompt to leave a review. In short, an autoresponder is designed to make your name sticky in the reader’s mind so the reader remembers you and purchases your books.

The first email in the series is the best place to introduce yourself. But what do you say?

I suggest starting off by talking a bit about what you write and what the reader can expect.

Hi, I’m Amy Author and I write steamy romantic suspense. I’ll email you once a month to share stories of my cat Fluffy, our dog Barkers, and talk about my Steamy Studs Suspense series of books. Look for Suspenseful Stud releasing in March 2019.

Then, remind the reader why they’re there. If they grab a lot of free books, or simply just don’t check their email right away, it’s good to remind them how they got on your list.

I’m emailing you today because you signed up for my newsletter on my website or grabbed a copy of Sultry Stud from ProlificWorks or StoryOrigin.

Finally, let them know what to expect. You can include social media links in the email template, but as a general rule, your first email shouldn’t be an ask. Why? Because you already asked the reader to download your book, and if they’re reading this before they had a chance to read the book, you’re going to come across as a nag. Plus, it’s nice to get an email that doesn’t ask us to click/buy/take a survey/do something.

In about a week you’ll probably hear from me again to see how you’re liking the book. (This is a gentle reminder, but not a nag.) Until then, know that Fluffy and Barkers are busy supervising the next book. (And maybe share an adorable picture or something that will leave them with a “warm fuzzy” feeling.

This kind of soft touch may be different from the hard sell strategy that’s becoming popular right now. However, I’ve found that readers first and foremost want to know that there’s a real author behind the books they love. Readers also are getting tired of being asked to click/buy/follow all the time. It’s not just authors. As soon as you get off the phone with a company there’s a survey waiting in your email. If you purchase something from a third party seller from Amazon (and this is my huge pet peeve), you got an email asking you to leave a review and rate the seller. (Amazon doesn’t do this, and I find it very intrusive that third party sellers do.)

So when you think about your autoresponder, make sure you start out with a soft touch. Know that your reader is busy and maybe hasn’t sat down to immediately read the book. (Alas, as much as we want them to get lost in our worlds, this one is probably true.) Instead, gentle invitations to join your circle and your community will generate more goodwill and hopefully more sales.