The dreaded newsletter.
Despite the very necessary mailing list and audience, this is often the most dreaded task for fiction writers. Coming up with content for each email can be overwhelming, especially if you’re sending your newsletter weekly. But you already know how important it is to keep your readers involved and aware of your writing projects.
Non-fiction writers have it easy in this department. They have plenty of articles and insight to give their followers who are interested in those topics. Fiction writers, on the other hand, have an audience of fiction readers. They signed up for your newsletter because they liked the fiction you had to offer; they expect fiction related topics about you.
Instead of spamming them with links every week or talking about your writing process for the 100th time, there are different ways you can reduce your effort but still keep those readers satisfied and ready for your next book. Here’s how you can make your newsletter stand out and keep your audience engaged.
How often do you, as a fellow reader of fiction, fall in love with characters of other books? How cool would it be to get an email from said character, or at least a little look into their life behind the scenes?
Take advantage of the fact that readers are on your list because they loved one of your characters. Give them a little look into what inspired the character, share some background that wasn’t included in your book, or even talk about how the character changed throughout the writing process. Maybe you intended this character to be secondary to the story but they decided to steal the show.
That’s fun information that connects your readers to your books even more. And who knows. Maybe someone signed up for your list because they liked a different series and now decide this is a new character they’d like to know.
Ask me anything. It’s a great way to show behind the scenes into your writing life. Maybe people have questions about characters, story inspiration, or writing process. Maybe they want to know where your ideas come from.
Open the floor to get questions from your readers. They might be interested in what you have to offer as a person.
Do be wary about how personal you get. Yes, you share a lot of your soul in your books, but there are certain things you might prefer to keep private. Try to stick to book and writing related material over politics or overly personal questions.
Maybe you dabble with short stories on the side. Whether you plan to publish the story or not, readers love getting that surprise in their inbox. Give them a little short based in a world you’ve already created in your novels. You might inspire the reader to check out the rest of the books.
This doesn’t have to be an every-newsletter kind of feature. Maybe you choose to share something once a month or once a quarter. It’s up to you, especially so you don’t burn yourself out trying to rush a story for every newsletter.
Pinterest Boards / Inspiration
Remember character inspiration? Maybe you’ve built a Pinterest board to help inspire your writing project or keep ideas in order. Share that page with your readers! Encourage them to see the inspiration behind scenes or what got your mind working toward a new novel idea.
Have a song of the day? A playlist that your character would totally listen to? Give your readers something to listen to. Immerse them in your character or world and give them a glimpse into how your mind works.
Of course readers always want to know what comes next. Share little bits of your work with them! You can keep it as short or as long as you want, but introduce them into the world your working on.
Keep in mind, if you choose to enroll your books in Kindle Unlimited, there is a limit (10%) of how much of the book you can publish in digital form. There are tales of strict and loose regulations by Amazon, but it’s better to stay safe. Your readers will understand.
Early looks at books
How cool would it be to see your favorite author publish a book with a cover you had input on? What about a sneak peek at the first chapter? Give your newsletter subscribers a little input in your writing process. While these are still your books and you have the final say, readers love to feel included and like they’ve made an impact. Wouldn’t you be more inclined to buy a book that has the cover you voted on?
There are a lot of different things you can include in your newsletter, and this list is not exhaustive. They might seem like a lot of work, but remember that your readers are there because they want to be. You want to keep them engaged without draining your own process.
Make sure you include a CTA at the end or a few links to your work. The click rate might not be high for those but you want to make the process of buying your books or finding you on social as easy as possible.
Laura Winter is a self-published author dedicated to helping your authorpreneur journey. She has launched her books on little to no budget to prove you don’t have to invest an exorbitant amount of money to be successful. Find her work on Amazon, Patreon, and join her tribe to get fiction updates and sneak peeks at future books.