Let’s see if I can ease you into this slowly, ’cause it took me a while to get to terms with whether I should, could or want to create a Newsletter. I mean, what’s in it for me except more work? And more importantly, what’s in it for you? Because without you, it’d be just a waste of pixels.
I got mighty busy learning how to format my manuscript for publication, investigating all the legal and managerial bits of self-publishing, and studying marketing. And with studying marketing I mean reading a dozen books on how to get on top of that beast, absorbing what felt like 100+ articles and blog posts on do’s and don’ts, and watching a good 60+ hours of fantastic podcasts.
The most useful books I’ve read: Let’s Get Digital by David Gaughran, Self-Printed by Catherine Ryan Howard, The 7 Secrets of the Prolific by Hillary Rettig (It’s not related to marketing, but it sure gave me a huge dose of sanity to go with all that stuff), Your First 1000 Copies by Tim Grahl, and Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson (which only apply if you’ve published several books, but there’s plenty to learn from Nick, trust me).
But if you’ve got no time to plow through marketing copy, then go watch these two podcasts. Soak them in. They’re well worth it: Orna Ross at Alliance of Independent Authors and the small and lovely Science Fiction & Fantasy Marketing Podcast. I’ve spent days assimilating these, and every second and byte was worth it.
So am I any more savvy than I was two months ago?
Let’s say I get it. But can I do it properly? Probably not. Not all of it, certainly. And you know what? I don’t mind. Proper online marketing (the kind that doesn’t make you look like a total douchebag) has a dizzying learning curve. But that’s okay.
Life is a learning curve.
Writing science-fiction was a long and steep learning curve for me, and I’m still on it.
Blogging is a learning curve.
Social media is a constant up-and-down, but generally upwards-ish curve.
Publishing? It’s Chomolungma.
Studying all about it like a freak running on caffeine and taurine is just packing my gear for the hike. I’m probably taking a lot of shit with me that I won’t need. I probably forgot something important, like that extra oxygen bottle. I don’t know. I’ve never climbed this mountain before. But I know I can’t go at it in my shorts and flip-flops.
And I can’t do it alone.
I’ve been lucky enough to know a good number of smart, wonderful fellow writers (wink-wink) who’ve offered me advice and support, inspired me, and stolen my cookies, and I can’t even imagine where I’d be today if it weren’t for them.
So while I was reading about marketing—the ethical and decent, long-term marketing all self-respecting authors should opt for, versus the scammy, spammy, reeking-of-anxiety-sweat bullhorning that no one should engage in (but unfortunately still too many do)—I frequently stumbled over the infamous Author Newsletter.
Some say it’s a way to keep your readers engaged over the long waiting times between releases. Others say it’s a way to draw people into your world and storytelling arena. Many say it works best if you act like a normal, decent human being and communicate. But then again, many say it’s a waste of time in today’s clickbait-dominated, short attention span world. Most say it should be all about the readers, and barely about you. That it should be focused on giving, not asking.
And that’s when it clicked with me.
I wouldn’t even know where to begin using an Author Newsletter for subtle, effective marketing. And for fuck’s sake marketing what? I’ve only just released one book. *cue the ridiculous cartoon laughter in the corner*
But I could totally use an Author Newsletter to engage with readers, and thank the people who support me!
It would be an awesome way for me to share important news and bonus materials (and even free short stories!) with people who really care about my writing. It’s also a good way to repay those loyal few with special deals and giveaways! Now wouldn’t that be cool?
Think of it like… a private Facebook group that Facebook doesn’t get to command, because fuck you Facebook, you just blacklisted my blog because I posted a link to “Alien Sex: The Stranger, The Better” and you thought that’s worse than the kiloton of racism, sexism and intolerance you allow to be posted each day.
But seriously. An Author Newsletter (or Mailing List, as that sounds a lot more non-marketing-y) would be an awesome way to keep in contact without being dependent on some noisy social media venue or another. And did I mention I will send out free stories & bonus materials?
I’d be super stoked if you thought this sounds as great as I do.
And if you subscribe. 🙂
In fact, I’m going to give you the first two chapters of THE DEEP LINK right now, plus a flash fiction story featuring one of the main characters for free! Just for subscribing. 🙂