Email has always been regarded as the holy grail of marketing. This is where you have a channel of direct communication with your audience.
Authors are no exception. Just like brands and businesses, authors will also need to regularly email their subscribers to keep them engaged.
Today, we’ll explore 7 newsletter content ideas for authors.
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1. Discount, Sales & Promotions
If you’re running a sale or promotion where any of your books are discounted, you should immediately announce this to your newsletter subscribers. These avid readers should be the first to know about this great bargain!
Great bargains can encourage readers to purchase books. Adding a deadline like when the sale will end creates a sense of urgency. Readers who don’t want to miss out on this great deal will then grab your discounted books.
You can also schedule your promotions around holidays like Valentine’s Day, Christmas or even school holidays if you write children’s books.
2. Book Reviews
Rather than free books and samples which is a great reader magnet because they pack a lot of value and require low commitment, you can consider asking for book reviews. Of course, this type of email should only be sent once in a while. You wouldn’t want to appear needy or greedy.
Besides encouraging readers to leave a review if they read your books, you can also consider sending Advance Review Copies (ARC) and Beta Reader Copies invitations. Meaning that you’ll offer a free version of your books to these readers in exchange for an honest review.
You can provide some guidelines like the review can be really short, explaining what they like or not like about the book and it’s suitable for what kind of readers. Do mention how you appreciate them spending time to leave a review and that their review will help spread the word and share the love with other readers~
In addition to asking for reviews, you can also share reviews from readers. Hearing what others say about your books will encourage readers to buy a copy. This is also a great way to show your appreciation for readers who left a review on your books. Try to keep this to a minimum. Having too many reader reviews in your newsletter will seem like a hard sell and thus, may turn off readers.
3. Book Recommendations
If you’re using StoryOrigin, you can sign up for newsletter swaps and group promos. This is a good chance to promote books from fellow authors as well as expand your own reach. By featuring your books in other authors’ newsletters, you’ll gain readers. Likewise, fellow authors also gain readers when their books are featured in your newsletter. This is a win-win situation where every author keeps their mailing list engaged.
Of course, it’s better if you tailor the books to your readers’ preferences. Let’s say you write paranormal romance books. Readers who subscribe to your newsletter are obviously avid readers of paranormal romance. You can then choose to feature only paranormal romance books in your newsletter as readers will definitely be interested in this genre.
Another tip would be to segment your newsletter subscribers. If you write more than one genre, it’s a good idea to ask readers for their favorite genre(s) in your welcome email. This can be easily done by setting up an automated welcome email series in your email marketing software like MailerLite and MailPoet.
4. News & Updates About Yourself (The Author)
Readers who sign up for your newsletter are obviously interested in you the author as well as your books. In addition to the above book-related content, you’ll need to include updates about yourself too. This might not be often but at least share some news about yourself from time to time.
Here are some updates you can consider
- Books you’re reading
- Book signings
- Events you’re attending (or even podcasts)
- Interview or blog post that features you
- WIP: what you’re working on currently, your progress or word count
- Milestones you’ve reached: eg. 50 reviews on your novel, 100 newsletter subscribers, achieving Amazon Best Seller badge
Similar to book recommendations, you can reveal the books that you’re currently reading. Your newsletter subscribers are probably interested in what their favorite author is reading. You can also include a short review or thoughts and opinions like what made you pick up the book and why you like or dislike the book. Book signings and events will keep readers excited. If you offer a behind-the-scenes glimpse like how you’re preparing the materials for the event or setting up the booth, readers will be intrigued by how the event actually turns out. WIP updates will make readers anticipate the launch of this book. Lastly, milestones let you share your joy with readers so everyone can celebrate this good news together.
In my case, I usually have a year-end update and New Year’s resolution. I’ll send an email pointing to the news post on my website so that interested readers can read to learn more. I also regularly post updates on Instagram like the progress on my WIP.
5. Your Blog
Okay, so not all authors will have blogs. I understand this. After all, we only have a limited time of 24 hours in a day. Most authors would thus prefer to spend their time writing the next book or working on publishing and marketing matters.
But in the rare case where you have a blog, you can always share your latest blog post with readers. Just include a short paragraph in your email newsletter and point them to the blog post on your website.
I feel that a blog is more crucial for non-fiction authors. Firstly, it establishes you as an industry thought leader. Secondly, a blog will help search engine optimization (SEO) and hence, make your website rank higher in search results.
6. Research For Your Books
Paranormal book lovers are likely to be interested in vampires, werewolves etc. while science fiction book lovers will be interested in cutting-edge science and technology. On the other hand, readers of your non-fiction books are likely to be interested in topics that you wrote about.
So when you’re conducting research for your book’s content, setting, era or for characterization and worldbuilding and you come across an interesting article, video or concept, you can consider mentioning it in your newsletter. Or even better, explain how this impacted your story. Your readers will likely not know about these things and will be intrigued by them (just like you too!).
7. Relevant News
This is somewhat similar to the above content idea. But rather than old articles, this usually consists of recent news. For example, there might be a new discovery or emerging technology that your science fiction readers may be interested in.
Also, this doesn’t always have to be related to your book’s genre or your fiction narrative. For instance, romance books usually include a Happily Ever After (HEA) or Happy for Now (HFN) ending. But I don’t have such endings for my books. Hence, if there’s an article where someone shares his or her views and thoughts about this accepted trope, I might consider sharing it with my subscribers and explain the reasons why I chose not to follow the usual genre conventions.
Bonus Tip: Think About Theme & Frequency
When sending emails to your readers, do think about theme and frequency.
You can consider weaving a theme into your newsletter. For example, Fantastic Friday and Spooky Sunday where you recommend other books in your genre. Or you can create a monthly theme. So for instance, October can be horror-related content to coincide with Halloween while February is romance-related content to coincide with Valentine’s Day.
It’s also best to state upfront the frequency of your emails. This can be weekly, biweekly, monthly, quarterly etc. The key is sticking to what you promised—sending emails at the frequency you stated.
Bonus Tip: Segment Your Email List
List segmentation is the process of breaking up an email list into several smaller, more targeted lists. This offers subscribers a more personalized experience and tailored content that is relevant to them. Most email marketing software like MailerLite and MailPoet have this segmentation feature.
As mentioned earlier, you can ask readers their favorite genre(s) in the welcome email. This is one way of segmenting your subscribers—by the book genres they love.
You can also let your subscribers select the types of emails they want to receive. For instance, news and updates, book recommendations and blog.
Or you can choose to segment subscribers by country or retailer like Amazon, Kobo, Apple etc. This way, if you run a promotion in a certain country or on a certain retailer, you only email readers who live or shop there.
Bonus Tip: Ask Readers What They Want
Rather than guessing and making a wrong guess, why not just ask your readers the type of content they would like to receive in the newsletter?
People appreciate being heard and they like it when you act upon their answers.
If you have a small pool of newsletter subscribers, you can send an email asking them this question. If you have a large pool of subscribers, you may list a few options instead and let them vote.
You’re essentially giving your readers the power of choice where they play a part in shaping the content of your newsletter.
Now It’s Your Turn
What other types of content do you include in your newsletter? Do share any tips and insights on newsletter content ideas for authors~