Jeanne: Anatomy of a Newsletter

On Friday I sent out my seventh newsletter.

When I started sending out newsletters last summer, just before releasing The Demon Always Wins, I planned on once a quarter. Current marketing wisdom says weekly, but who has something to say that often? Even book-factory authors who spit out books like they’re running an assembly line take six weeks or so to write and release a book. Also, I personally loathe getting author newsletters that frequently. And anything more often than once a week I consider spam and quickly unsubscribe.

Still, over the last few months, I’ve fallen into a monthly pattern because I have had news to share—contest finals, new covers, good stuff.! And now that I have a few newsletters under my belt, I feel like I have some useful ideas on what works.

  1. A header/template that reflects your brand. Here’s mine:

Header

2. News. This goes back to what I was grumbling about earlier. It’s only a newsletter if it contains news. In this case, it was the news that The Demon Always Wins won Best Paranormal Romance and Best First Book in the Detroit RWA Booksellers’ Best contest. It included a picture of my (very hard to photograph) awards:

BBA 2019 Both

3. It also featured a picture of me at the indie book signing at the RWA National Conference.RWA 2019 Book Signing

4. I’ve begun including a giveaway. In my mind, giveaways need to be rewards for specific actions. This month, the reward was for joining my new Facebook Group.  (*Note: I did get feedback from one subscriber that she’s not on FB and was there anything else she could do to qualify? Since I’d already told everyone that was the requirement, I didn’t feel like I could change up mid-stream, but next month’s giveaway won’t require an FB account.)

Lots of authors give away books—either their own or ones they pick up at conferences. But I’ve also had authors tell me book giveaways grow less effective all the time, so I decided to go a different direction. I had a few book-themed bits of merchandise lying around, so I’ve been giving those away. This month, it was a purse:

Purse without plastic

I also made it a point to explain when and how the winner would be announced—something I didn’t think to do last month, when I did the first giveaway.

5. Then, I gave people the links to leave reviews for the two books I have out. I’ve been really fortunate that all my text reviews on both Amazon and Goodreads have been positive, but more reviews would be good.

6. Finally, I remind people that if they don’t want to keep receiving my newsletter, they can always click the unsubscribe button. I don’t want anyone feeling like they’re being held hostage.

As you can see, I like my newsletter to have some news, lots of pictures, and a fun giveaway.

(If this looks like so much fun you can’t wait to get in on the action, you can subscribe at www.jeanneestridge.com.)

What do you like to see in a newsletter?

9 thoughts on “Jeanne: Anatomy of a Newsletter

  1. I like your newsletter very much! It’s got the most important thing I want: news about your books and how they are doing. I also like the photo of you at the signing, and I thought the book bag was really cute. (Although NOTHING will tempt me to log into Facebook again, unless it’s to finally delete my account.)

    I have to check up on my newsletters that I get — I think Bujold does one through Goodreads, and of course, Jenny has her blog (I’ve been really bad at visiting this summer, so that’s another thing on the to-do list). I think I get a couple more from other Ladies, but I haven’t seen anything lately.

    Do you send your newsletters through a beta-reader at all? It must be quite a process, all by itself.

    • I always send a test run to Jilly (and plan to return the favor very soon, when she begins sending out newsletters). This is not just for content and proofreading, but also because Mailchimp newsletters behave differently on different devices. One of the things I learned with an early newsletter is that when I copy text into the body of my Mailchimp document, I need to use a special “RTF” text editing function or the output has formatting issues on Macs.

  2. Hi, Jeanne,
    I like all the contents you mentioned in your post. An additional few items I’d like to see from an author I like would be a “reading corner” as in ‘this is what I’m reading when I’m not writing’ and an “education corner” as in ‘this may interest you if you want to improve your writing’. I already get good information from the blog posts but they are not always about these topics. I went back through the posts I have saved and that seems to be the thread in common.
    You 8 are my motivation and inspiration. You are the motivation to get writing on my blog and my inspiration to keep working on my book.
    Thank you!

    • These are great suggestions, Julie! It would certainly be easy enough to add a reading corner AND it would give me a chance to promote friends’ work, since most of my extra-curricular reading is new releases by writing friends I’ve made along the way.

      You may want to make yourself a note so that you remember to do these yourself when you start publishing!

      Can you provide the link to your blog? I’d love to come visit.

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