Friday, September 11, 2009

Author's Newsletter Idea!

Tate Author Jim Baumgardner has seen a lot of success emailing a monthly newsletter to his readers. When his third novel, Sarah’s Escape, became available in pre-release, he already had over 100 books sold before he bought them because of his newsletter.

The newsletter’s content expands on the characters and setting of his novels. Each newsletter includes the following elements:

Interesting Facts such as:

A horse over 9 years old is considered 'aged'.

A "bomb-proof" horse is one that doesn't spook. In Sarah's next adventure she becomes the owner of a bomb-proof horse.

(Note how Jim uses the second fact to stir up interest in his next book.)

A Question of the Month that may be a trivia question (Example: What was a 19th Century pound cake, and why was it called by that name?) or a question about one of his books.

Answers to Last Month’s Question of the Month. Jim prints the answer and the names of everyone who got it right.

Comments from readers. Primarily, these are raving reviews about the book.

Words of Wisdom. Some of Jim’s favorite quotes.

Note to New Readers. Jim brings forward some facts from past newsletters.

His marketing rep, Jim Miller, asked him a few questions about the newsletter that may help other authors.

JM: Do you design it yourself? What program do you use?

JB: I use Bravenet for my website and newsletter. All I do is fill in the areas with information I want to send to my readers.

JM: I’m guessing you send them a handful at a time in the BCC box, since your own email is in the “To” field.

JB: Yes, I do. I send out several hundred and break it up with 4 e-mailings. Bravenet has a sign up and I could use that, but I prefer this way.

JM: How do you build your list?

JB: I have a sign up sheet at my book signings. I get a lot of new readers that way.

Jim has some additional tips for a successful newsletter:

1) Always include a note that says, “Forward this email to your friends.” Find ways to customize the note to your book.

2) Make sure every newsletter has links to your website and/or Tate’s website to buy books.

3) Post back issues of your newsletter on your blog or website. This will improve your Google rankings for key words related to your book’s topic.

A newsletter is an excellent way to increase word of mouth and keep your book on the top of your readers’ minds.

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