How To Create An Author Newsletter Subscribers Love

author newsletter

Not sure if an author newsletter is the right promotional activity for you? Dana Kaye outlines some compelling reasons why you should consider adding this to your author platform.

A regular author newsletter is a highly effective tool that can benefit any book campaign, regardless of the genre. But it’s also something many authors (maybe you?) are hesitant to implement. You may be concerned about bothering people or are unsure if you have anything interesting to say. You may be skeptical of how effective your author newsletters might be or are just too overwhelmed with other commitments to start one.

I’ve been a literary PR agency owner for more than a decade, and while many of our book promotion tactics have changed over the years, the power of email marketing has remained constant. Unlike social media, where you don’t own your followers and you’re at the mercy of the algorithm, an author newsletter enables you to communicate directly with your most loyal readers. These are fans who said, “Yes! I want to hear more from you!” You may doubt fans like this exist, but I assure you, they do!

So how do you create an author newsletter that will nurture and grow your readership? There are three key principles.

1. Be consistent

Whether it’s the frequency, length, format, or subject matter, consistency is key to a successful author newsletter. You teach people what to expect from you, and if you veer too far off-course, subscribers will get confused and opt out of future correspondence. Whether you decide to send weekly or monthly, include images or plain text, write 200 words or 2,000; none of this matters as much as it does to do it the same way every time.

I also recommend including a regular feature in each newsletter so your subscribers will have something to look forward to. Carter Wilson always includes a message from his cat and an update on his kids. Joseph Reid, an author and former marine biologist, shares a monthly “Shark Attack.” The Kaye Publicity newsletter includes a bookseller spotlight. A regular feature not only keeps readers engaged and excited to open your emails, it also helps take some of the guesswork out of what to write each month.

This isn’t to say that you are never allowed to change things up. You may begin with a weekly newsletter, find it too overwhelming, and want to scale back. You may include several links in your newsletters, but find people aren’t clicking them, and decide to focus more on longform written pieces. You can make these changes, but it’s important you communicate these changes to your audience. Let them know the frequency or the format of these emails will be changing. Give them a heads up so they can adjust their expectations. Some people may opt out, and that’s okay. They aren’t your target audience.

2. Send entertaining or informative content (ideally both)

These are the primary reasons people sign up for newsletters: they want to be entertained or they want to be informed. Some readers will sign up for your newsletter so they’re up to date on your latest events or book releases. Others may want to learn more about you and the stories behind the books. Most readers want both.

Catalog Hana BannerNo one signs up for newsletters because they want to be sold to or because they want advertisements dropped into their inbox each week. That’s why, instead of convincing your subscribers to buy your next book, you should focus on helping them determine whether or not your book is for them.

Here are some easy ways to accomplish this in your author newsletter:

  • Share an excerpt or preview of your book so people can start reading before they buy.
  • Share early reviews that describe the characters and plot so readers can get a sense of whether or not they’ll enjoy the story.
  • Share insights into your research and inspiration for the book. This will add depth to your story and pique readers’ interests.

All of the above entertain and inform your audience, not to mention help sell your book without it feeling salesy.

3. Create a one-to-one connection

When most authors write their newsletters, they envision their words being broadcast to thousands (okay, maybe hundreds) of people at once. But for the recipient, the experience isn’t one-to-many; it’s one-to-one. When I receive your author newsletter, I don’t think about the other people receiving it. It’s only you and me.

That’s why it’s so important to see your newsletter as a one-on-one experience and to nurture those relationships with your readers. Include the recipient’s name in the salutation and maybe even the subject line. When you address the recipient, use “you” instead of “you all” or “readers.” Invite people to hit reply and respond to a question or share an experience, then respond to them individually. They’ll be pleasantly surprised when you write them back and they’ll be more likely to open your emails in the future.

You may choose to take it a step further and utilize surveys and polls to learn more about your audience. You can then create tags or group subscribers based on their responses. For example, if you send a survey asking which of your books they’ve read already, you can send more tailored content based on their responses. Currently, you may only focus your content on your latest release, but if there are subscribers who haven’t read all your backlist titles, sending them a different email focused on those books could lead to some additional sales. By learning more about your subscribers, not only do you create more personal connections, you’re also able to implement a more effective marketing strategy.

When it comes to book promotion, you have plenty of tools at your disposal, but a strong author newsletter is by far the most powerful. By focusing on these three key principles, your subscribers will not only look forward to your emails, they’ll buy your books too!

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  1. Hi just reading and not to sure to where to go to start an author newsletter…my 1st book didn’t get the break it needed because the publishing company cheated everyone and now is closed.


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