Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Indie Life: Newsletters

The Indelibles

The Indelibles will be hosting a monthly feature called INDIE LIFE. Modeled after Alex Cavanaugh's awesome Insecure Writer's Group, this will be a chance for indie authors to post about indie life, find each other, offer support, encouragement, news, helpful hints, and anything else that makes life as an indie author a little easier.

What is Indie Life? How: Sign up on the Linky at the bottom of this page here. When: Post on the second Wednesday of the month. What: Write anything indie related: something that will inspire or help a fellow indie; something that celebrates a release or a milestone; something that talks about the ups and downs, joys and heartaches of Being Indie. Grab: The banner above to include in your posts!


For today's Indie Life, I'd like to talk about newsletters.

I have an author newsletter through Mail Chimp, and I'm slowly building up my list of subscribers. I know how important it is to build up this list because newsletter peeps can be core fans who really want to know about my newest release and the like.

When I attended the Virginia Writers Symposium on August 3, the subject of newsletters and how often a person should send them out came up. Once a month was thrown out there. I don't send my newsletter once a month. I mainly send it when I have news (i.e. a new publication out), so this year, I've sent one newsletter. I'll likely send one to two more before the end of the year.

Do you think newsletters should be more regular? One a month or once every two months? Perhaps some consistency is key, but I know you don't want to annoy people either by sending them too frequently.

I also like to offer discounts as well as news, but what other features do you like to see in newsletters? I could use some more ideas, if I'm going to be a bit more frequent with my newsletters.

Do you have a newsletter? Like receiving newsletters?

Here is a list of other Indie Life participants:

30 comments:

Faith McKay said...

I really like receiving newsletters! I only send mine out when I have a new release, and I like to include something just for them (like a discount or a freebie or a giveaway or something) because I'm a big fan of people who are willing to sign up for that list.

I'm on a newsletter, however, where I sometimes receive update daily. They send out messages about everything going on in their world, and sometimes that seems a little ridiculous, but it is interesting to know everything going on in their publishing world. All of the behind the scenes details. That said, I'm more likely to skim their messages because I know there is a lot of stuff that I'm not interested in throughout these long emails. I read every sentence in the ones I receive less frequently. So, what I'm saying is, I definitely wouldn't be opposed to receiving more frequent emails from authors, but if they don't have something important to say in each one, I'm less likely to read them all the way through.

Rachel Morgan said...

Hmm ... I think they can get annoying if they come too often (unless the author has something really exciting to talk about everything!). I only send one when I have a big announcement, like a new release. I should maybe send one if I'm running a big giveaway, but I don't always remember!

Stephen Tremp said...

I don't have a newsletter but am considering putting together a short one may four times a year for starters.

And I just joined Indie Life Indelibles. I'll place it on my side bar.

Just noticed the W4Ws badge on your side bar. Thanks!

Catherine Stine said...

I'm building up my newsletter list through Mail Chimp too, and so far I've only sent out one. I think once a month can be too much, especially if you don't have significant news. I dislike seeing too-frequent newsletter updates in my email. That said, I wouldn't wait too long. Maybe every two months??? Or month and a half? I plan to send one soon.

Hart Johnson said...

I know (because I've been told) that I'm supposed to do this. I've even had people say they'd like to get one from me. But I'm SO resistant because this is the VERY last way I want to get my news. Maybe it's because I never have the time or money to keep up in real time so I don't want to be bugged.

I suppose I need to give in and do it. Heck, I'm releasing a serial story--people may want to know when successive episodes are out. I think you do it right--only when there's news. Maybe that is twice in a month, usually it is less than ONCE a month.

Julie Flanders said...

I've been thinking about starting up a newsletter but haven't taken the plunge yet. I didn't know you had one! Off to sign up now. :D

Laura Pauling said...

I think for authors just sending them out when there is news is fine. My impression is that the ones that go out monthly are informative and instructional. :) I think most authors do it b/c they're told they should.

M said...

Hmm. There's something to be said for regularity. I like having something to look forward to, and knowing (and anticipating) a newsletter can be fun. But only if the newsletter is worth it. Content is key. So if you don't feel like you can do a monthly, do a quarterly. But be consistent and regular about when you send it out. That's simply more professional. I mean, magazines don't say, "Oh, we'll send you one when we have something to write about." They actually go look for things to write about so they have something to offer their readers. If you don't have news about your own stuff, be a good author friend and review or recommend other authors' works. Recycle an old blog post. Do a Top Ten of some kind. A Q&A. Whatever. But get some content and make your newsletter something readers find value in.

RaShelle Workman said...

I do have a newsletter and put the link at the end of *some* of my books. Love it.

Patricia Lynne said...

I have a newsletter, but it's been a couple months since I've sent anything. There's nothing to report and, like you, I don't want to spam people's inboxes.

Pk Hrezo said...

I plan to set this up too. I think once a month is sufficient, just to keep people in the know. even if you dont have anything new, it's a good reminder that, "Oh yeah! I wanted to read this!"
But anymore than once a month is overkill. :)

M Pax said...

Yes, I have a newsletter. I try to send one at least every 6 weeks. I offer them special deals, buttons, bookmarks, free books in exchange for reviews. I've sent photos I've taken at the observatory, tell them what's up. You can offer a free scene, chapter, story. I sent my mailing list chapter one of Beyond the Edge in June... I think. The idea is to keep your name in their minds. You can do a special contest for mailees. Ask them questions about what they like to read, etc... I like to hear back from my list.

Christine Rains said...

I keep meaning to do a newsletter, but I have so little time to do other things I need to do! I like newsletters that come to remind me of important events like releases and sales. I usually keep up with my favorite writers on their blogs, so I get their regular news that way.

Natalie Aguirre said...

I think sending out newsletters when you have news about a new book, a big sale, or a big contest are good. I think it's important to not send out too many because most people get quite a few. We want to support each other and sign up, but not be flooded with newsletters.

J.L. Campbell said...

Hi, Cherie,
I got people to sign up for my newsletter but haven't sent out one as yet. I keep forgetting how important it is as a tool to let readers know what's happening with my books. I agree that if you have nothing significant to report then it's kinda pointless to send out the newsletter.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

You could talk about your genre or have other authors contribute.
Send them out on a timetable that works for you.

Nicole Zoltack said...

Ack, I'm awful to ask. I need to get more people to sign up for mine. I only sent out a few. I prefer for authors to only send out when they have news. I have too many emails as it is.

Brandon Ax said...

I am new to the concept. I know I like to receive things in my mail when something is going on. I tend to go to blogs for more personal information and things.

Editors At Work said...

Great post and awesome information on the comments. Thanks Cherie.

Nas

Cathy Keaton said...

I think you should just send newsletters when there's really something to tell your readers that they'd want to know. Just saying 'hi' is kind of pointless. People don't want to be spammed with news they don't need. So, how often to send out newsletters would vary widely from author to author.

Rinelle Grey said...

Great topic!

I haven't sent out any yet, though I'm slowly building my subscriber list, I plan to only send out notifications of new releases, because that's what I want to use my list for. If you wanted to use it to draw readers for your blog instead (which I think is the purpose for many people), then more often would make sense as well.

Larry Kollar said...

I try to send a monthly newsletter, although I didn't do one last month. I think if you don't at least try to do a regular schedule, people can forget they signed up. Then they see your latest and go, "what the heck?"

Now that a couple major things are out of the way, I'm going to start working on some content that only the subscribers get, or get long before anyone else. Maybe audiobooks of short stories, or an ephemeral flash, stuff like that. Give them a reason to know they made a good decision when signing up.

Medeia Sharif said...

I like short newsletters that are in a pleasing format. Most of the ones I get are like that.

DMS said...

I loved this post and reading through all the fascinating comments. I recently set up a newsletter for my blog/book. We send it out through mail chimp and it goes out once a month. Because it focuses on our book and our blog we list things that have just happened in the last month on the blog and spotlight things that will be happening (giveaways, author interviews, etc.). I like the idea of coupons, freebies, and all of that good stuff in the newsletters too. I like to receive newsletters once a month, every other month, or quarterly. More than once a month is usually too much for me. I also agree with Medeia- I prefer shorter formats. :)

Great topic and lots to think about!
~Jess

Sherry Ellis said...

I think if you have something happening, once a month is good. But if you don't have interesting content or news to share, it's best just to send them out when you do have announcements.

Denise Covey said...

The Indie news is a good thing. So many have signed up. For myself, I don't like receiving newsletters as there are too many! I'd rather go hunting when I have the time.

J.R. Pearse Nelson said...

I've considered a newsletter, even started a Mailchimp account, but I haven't set one up yet. It's been great to read everyone's comments. Thanks for this post. :)

cleemckenziebooks said...

Great idea! Great list of Indie Writers already signed up.

Tara Tyler said...

great new way to help us!
i recently responded to a similar post
newsletters are good for those who like them... fans will subscribe and its up to the writers if you have enough for monthly, great, if not so much time & events, bimonthly or quarterly is fine!

Milo James Fowler said...

Bimonthly might be good as far as consistency. I don't have one, but I've been thinking I should go gangbusters on inviting folks to subscribe to my blog. I post only once a week, so that shouldn't be too annoying -- and I could offer some kind of reward for signing up (like a free eBook or something). Good post, Cherie!