It’s December. The world, or some of it, is filled with holiday cheer, but not me. Because I have to send out a newsletter. You would think a person who writes a 300-page novel could manage a 5 paragraph newsletter, but alas. It’s a trial. It’s kind of like going up to someone at a party you don’t really know and trying to say something that will wow them. When I’m at a party, I can grab a drink first. But that doesn’t work with a newsletter. I do have some tips, though, to make the process a bit easier.
1. Make sure the newsletter links work
I found that out the hard way. The second time I sent out a newsletter, I had a great promotional giveaway. The only problem was that the link didn’t work. Cannot tell you the number of irritated e-mails I got, and rightly so. Had to send out one those embarrassing “oops” e-mails. Best not to do that. So now I’m careful to check every single link.
2. Keep it simple
When I first started sending out newsletters, I tried to use all the artistic bells and whistles. Special framing lines and colors and so on. Wound up taking a lot of time and some people had trouble loading it. Now I just make it as easy to read as possible. White background, with large black font and a bunch of pictures. (But not too many pictures or that becomes hard to load.)
3. Include some sort of giveaway
It’s nice to give people a treat. Definitely makes them more receptive. If you can mention a gift in your subject line, even better. Right now I’m taking part in two different giveaways. One is the Mystery Review Crew Christmas Countdown and the other is the Blitzen’s Book Bub Giveaway. So I made sure to mention those in my newsletter. And here. 🙂
4. Mention another author’s book
It’s nice to give a shout out to another author in your newsletter. For one thing, authors should help authors. For another thing, the people who read your newsletters are probably readers, and they like to know about other books. And then, of course, it’s good karma. I’ve been offered a number of wonderful opportunities by authors I’ve mentioned.
5. Have a focus
There’s usually one special point I’m trying to make in my newsletter. In my December newsletter, I wanted to let readers know that I’m working on a new book, and am almost done with it. So I mentioned that at the top, with a very cute picture of my dog.
Miss Demeanor newsletters
If you’re looking for some newsletters to check out, you might start with some from my fellow Miss Demeanors. Here they are (in absolutely no order at all).
Connie: Connie www.connieberry.com
And then these final words of wisdom from Michele (AKA Keeping it Real Michele), when asked for her newsletter link:
I don’t have one yet because I pretty much hate newsletters. In fact, if I follow through with doing one, I plan to call it, “The I Hate Newsletters Newsletter.” Let’s see if I follow through.
Do you have a newsletter you’d like to share with us?
Put it in the comment section and we’ll follow you!
Susan Breen is the author of the Maggie Dove mystery series. Her stories have been published in Alfred Hitchcock’s Mystery Magazine and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. The MWA anthology, Crime Hits Home, in which she has a story, just won an Anthony Award Finalist. She teaches novel-writing at Gotham Writers and is on the staff of the New York Write to Pitch Conference. www.susanjbreen.com