Having a newsletter is a great way to keep in touch with your readers, but you want to make sure it's something they look forward to and not just another addition to their already-full in-boxes. Here are some suggestions for how to do it right:
Constant Contact and MailChimp are both excellent newsletter tools
- DO use a professional newsletter program such as MailChimp, Constant Contact or other email marketing tools. MailChimp is free for up to 2,000 subscribers, and Constant Contact's monthly fees are quite low. The programs are easy to use and allow you to insert logos and imagery consistent with your branding. They also allow people to subscribe (and unsubscribe) easily, which means that you have a real list of people who want to hear from you. I'm on a few blind-copy email lists that always end with "If you want me to take you off this mailing list, just let me know." I find that awkward because I don't want to be on the lists but also don't want to reply to the authors directly and ask to be removed, so I just mark them as spam.
- DON'T automatically add everyone you meet to your mailing list. You can certainly tell me about it, and if I want to be on it I will subscribe, and if you want to be on mine, I hope you will do the same. In my opinion, adding people without their permission is unprofessional.
- DO keep your newsletters short and sweet. One of my author friends has a bi-monthly newsletter that is always so long and text-heavy that I rarely get through the first paragraph. It's just too much! People are BUSY, so keep what you send them brief and to the point.
- DON'T send too many. I attended a conference once where a speaker suggested sending two newsletters a week! I completely disagree. (I also didn't subscribe to her list because I didn't want to be flooded with messages.) I send about one a month so I have truly meaningful news to share.
Maria Murnane is the best-selling author of the romantic comedies Perfect on Paper, It's a Waverly Life, Honey on Your Mind, and Chocolate for Two. She also provides consulting services on book publishing and marketing. Learn more at www.mariamurnane.com.
This blog post originally appeared on CreateSpace.com. Reprinted with permission. © 2013 CreateSpace, a DBA of On-Demand Publishing, LLC. All rights reserved.