10 Things Your Readers Want To Hear About

If you’re new to writing email newsletters, you might be wondering what you’re going to write about. A newsletter is obviously a good place to tell your readers about your next launch, but too many marketing-type emails can end up looking salesy and over-promotional.

So what else can you write about?

Put yourself in your readers’ shoes. They’ve gone to the effort of signing up for your newsletters, which means they want to hear from you, the writer. Let them into your writing world, with all its ups and downs, challenges and inspirations. Let them know what you’re working on by sharing exclusive or behind-the-scenes content. Reward your readers by giving them links to extra information on your website or blog that they can download and read later.

The key is in striking a good balance between the type of emails you send. For example, send one email about a character or plot twist, followed by a second email two or three weeks later about a promotion or new release; and then the third email two or three weeks after that with an insight into your writing life.

Here are ten email ideas to help you get a good mix.

For unpublished authors starting to build a mailing list

Just because you haven’t released your book yet doesn’t mean you should hold off from emailing your list. In fact, it’s a good idea to start building your list of fans ahead of your book launch. This way you start to develop personal connections and generate interest in your work. Try some of these ideas:

  • Status reports on your work in progress
  • Book reviews of other titles in your genre / category
  • Promotions and giveaways (of other books in your genre / category)
  • Excerpts from your first chapter; or other writing samples such as scenes or dialogues
  • Character and plot outlines
  • Research on your book location or setting (include one or two images for greater visual effect)
  • What you’re reading; your influences as a writer
  • Insights into your life as a writer – what’s challenging or inspirational, etc
  • Links to blog posts, guest posts, interviews, etc
  • Invitations to your readers to get more involved, from sharing ideas or covers for feedback to invitations for beta readers or to launch “parties”, etc

For published authors

Keep readers interested in you and your books by writing about some or any of these ideas:

  • Forthcoming launches, giveaways, promotions, special deals (on your and other writers’ books)
  • Tips and tutorials (especially for non-fiction authors)
  • Links to blog posts, guest posts, interviews, etc
  • Sneak peeks of your work in progress; sample chapters
  • The cutting-room floor (deleted scenes, plot twists, etc)
  • Other “extras” or exclusive content linked to your published books and series, such as character insights and backgrounds, prequels, your research notes and photos about location, setting, etc
  • Your writing life (especially interesting if your readers are also considering writing: how you balance your day, writing vs marketing, etc)
  • Plot challenges, resolutions and tying up the loose ends
  • Invitations to your readers to get involved (asking for reviews, comments on covers or blurbs, invitation to be part of launch team, etc)
  • Invitations to book signings, “meet the author” or other speaking events

How should you write?

Email is all about forging a closer connection with your reader, so aim to write in a conversational and friendly way. It can help to imagine you’re writing to one person only (rather than to a list of hundreds or thousands) so that you can really focus on being personal rather than “corporate”. Ask questions and invite replies – and make sure you then reply to the replies.

Remember that you can’t be all things to all people. Some people are naturally opinionated, others are more introspect. Some people like to read about an author’s life and writing challenges, family and pets; while others won’t. Find your own voice and write about what you have promised your readers. Some readers will naturally unsubscribe from your mailing list along on the way. But instead of focusing on unsubscribe rates, concentrate on building and strengthening your connections with your reader base so that you start to create real fans of your work.

Co-founder of Publishing Spark.

We help fiction and non-fiction authors grow their readership with a simple-to-use, no-hassle mailing list service. Check us out.

10 Things Your Readers Want To Hear About

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