If you set a goal of finding subscribers for your author newsletter, you need to look at the situation through the eyes of the people who might be interested in receiving it.
Ask yourself, “Why do people even subscribe to authors’ newsletters or social media in the first place?”
You don’t have to ask this question about yourself if you aren’t quite ready to answer it yet. Take Steven King, Leigh Bardugo, or another famous author as an example.
There is only one answer: people want to feel connected to an author who has PREVIOUSLY caught their interest somehow.
A newsletter is a fan retention tool, not a fan attraction tool.
First, you need to trace the path your readers take – how they even find out about your mailing list and decide to sign up for it:
1. Getting to know a new author
A fan of books in a particular genre sees an ad for a new release or finds a book through the catalog of a self-publishing platform. He feels an interest in it and makes a purchase.
In this way, a potential reader becomes a reader-client.
2. An interest in the author and their work
If the reader likes the book, he starts looking for more information about the author and their works.
At that moment, if you offer him what he is looking for, you’ll get a new subscriber. If he finds nothing, then his attention will shift to the next book in his favorite genre. But it won’t be one of your works.
The main thing is to provide the information about your mailing list at the right moment, meaning when a person has just finished reading your book and is still in its thrall.
You need to place your bibliography at the end of your book and invite the reader to your site, where he can sign up for your mailing list and receive some kind of bonus for it.
If we’re talking about fiction, this could be:
- the next book at a discount or for free,
- a map of your book’s world,
- a collection of illustrations,
- an alternative ending for your book,
- character biographies,
If we’re talking about non-fiction, some things you could offer at the end of the book are:
- a checklist,
- graphs or diagrams illustrating the book,
- your other works (at a discount or for free),
- any additional information that might be helpful for readers.
3. Developing the desire to subscribe to your mailing list
If emotions are still running high after reading your book, and the reader is yearning for more, he will be willing to spend some time on your site. You need to offer him something valuable in electronic format and ask him to provide his email in order to receive this gift.
The materials you give away for free in exchange for your reader’s email are called a lead magnet. This could be a file, or a webpage that you send readers the link to after they sign up for your mailing list.
You need to come up with what exactly this will be and explain to people who have ALREADY read your first book why this material is of interest.
4. Ensuring the subscription works
It’s very important that subscribing to your mailing list be as easy and straightforward as possible.
- Come up with some text urging readers to subscribe to your mailing list, and place it at the end of your book. The call to action should mention your lead magnet: what exactly the person will get after subscribing.
- Compose a similar text and place it on your website and on social media.
- Write the text of the letter your new subscribers will automatically receive immediately after subscribing. It should include a greeting, thanks for subscribing, and instructions on getting the promised lead magnet.
To launch your newsletter, you will need an email marketing service that will help you with the technical aspects of the matter.
Personally, I use ConvertKit and am very happy with it.
Study how everything works and adjust all the necessary settings. Now, all that remains is to write interesting letters, socialize with your readers, not forgetting to advertise your mailing list at every possible opportunity.