Got Those Old Indie Author Newsletter Blues

by | Nov 8, 2021 | Articles | 0 comments

It’s Monday again, and that means it’s time for my weekly blog post. Today I’m going to talk a bit about newsletters—more specifically, the kind of newsletter an indie author like myself sends to his readers.

For those of you who aren’t familiar with the concept, an author newsletter is much like any newsletter, I suppose. The difference is that an author, depending on his or her style, readership, and personality, can customize newsletters to the point where one author’s idea of a newsletter is completely different from another’s in every way imaginable.

 

Why Send A Newsletter in the First Place?

I know no one is actually asking me that question right now, but let’s pretend you did. Glad you asked!

Just as each newsletter is different, authors have different reasons for sending them—from gaining readers to creating an ongoing dialogue. I would say that, generally speaking, the reasons authors have a newsletter list are as follows:

1) Get connected – Every writer is by nature a communicator. A newsletter is a great way to reach out and make some kind of connection. I’m a fan of comedian Marc Maron, who hosted quite a few Instagram live chats during the height of the pandemic. About 500-1,000 people showed up. Some were trolls, but most checked in, asked Marc questions, and made comments. On his podcast, he mentioned he was doing this, and wondered aloud as to why. He answered his own question by talking about how it’s good to feel connected with people.

2) Stay connected – We all have a relationship of some kind with artists and the work they create. In the case of a comedian and actor like Maron, he has an ongoing dialogue with fans, and they genuinely care about him. Though no celebrity myself, I’ve always sought to build a relationship with all readers—not so much because I want “fans,” but because I write to communicate feelings and insights, and love to know how these touch my readers. Which leads me to…

3) Building readership – Like anyone who works hard at his craft, I’d love an ever-growing base of readers. I was actually thrilled when I got my first 5-star review of Whizzers from a reader in Canada. And what better way to reach readers on an ongoing basis, in between projects, than a newsletter?

 

So Why The Blues?

I don’t always have news or updates each month, so I asked my subscribers a while back how they’d feel if I changed my newsletter from monthly to quarterly. Now, I have a great open rate from my list—ranging anywhere from 20% to 65% in an industry where the average open rate is 15%. So I know my readers are pretty engaged. The bummer was that only one person responded, and the response was basically, “Yeah, quarterly would be fine. Can I have that free e-book you mentioned?”

Which is fine, really. It’s a big commitment to create a newsletter every month, so in one sense I was relieved. One good thing: another reader getting a copy of Rides From Strangers, the free short story collection I mentioned. It’s only available to newsletter subscribers. I’ve wanted to get this onto the devices of as many readers as possible over the past few years, but it hasn’t taken off like I’d hoped it would. Perhaps if I’d been willing to pay more money to market it, but come on—it’s free! How much should I spend, really?

To get your free copy of Rides From Strangers, all you have to do is go here and provide an email address. There’s no obligation, I’ll never give your email away, and you can unsubscribe at any time.

Thanks for stopping by, and, as always, thanks for reading!

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