As you know, we talk a lot about how effective author newsletter are. Of all the online marketing tools I feel that email is the most powerful. Most social networks are just an extension of email. People go to Facebook when they get an email about a new photo or comment. It is the world’s biggest social network and the most effective social network at making sales.

Today we’re answering a question from Gary Hansen author of Kneeling with Giants. Before we get to his question I wanted to point out something about Gary. His book Kneeling with Giants is a non fiction book about learning how to pray from the heroes of the faith.

Why would Gary listen to a podcast about marketing fiction? This underlines a key point about focusing. Just because you focus on a niche, does not mean that people outside that niche won’t also want to read your book or listen to your podcast. There are a lot of people out there who go to Red Lobster to eat steak. Focusing on seafood does not mean they only get seafood lovers and our focusing on fiction does not mean we only get novelists listening to the show. So for those of you trying to decide if you niche is too narrow, it isn’t and for those of you who write non fiction or who run businesses and who listen to the show, we want to say you are welcome here. 🙂

Ok, so with that out of the way, lets get to Gary’s question.

Gary’s Question

“Thank you for the great podcast!

I have been building my email list through my blog, I have always sent subscribers links to new posts, including a short note, using MailChimp.

You and others often refer to having a newsletter. I would LOVE to hear an episode on newsletters.

  • Sending blog posts vs. sending a newsletter vs. both
  • What to include in a newsletter, and what to leave out
  • How to avoid going mad with the extra work of a newsletter in addition to blogging, social media, and that other thing…hmm…what was that? Oh yes: my BOOK!

Can’t wait to hear your thoughts on this apparently crucial and seldom explored issue!



Newsletter vs. Blog Emails

You will have different levels of fans. Some want to hear from you every week or so. Others just want major news and book announcements. Recommendation: Offer both options. If that is over your head, just offer the newsletter.

What to include in a newsletter, and what to leave out

What to include:

  • Think like a servant. The better you serve your subscribers, the more subscribers you will have.
    • Entertain
    • Educate
    • Laugh (Emote Chuckles)
    • Encourage
  • Anything you think you think would be helpful. So if your book is on prayer, I would put stories of answered prayer, prayer tips and prayer encouragements in the email.
  • Curated Blog Posts. At the end of every Enclave Publishing email we include a handful of links to posts from the blog. Both recent and old. In our Black Friday email which had our biggest discounts of the year, do you know what the most clicked link was? It was to a two year old blog posts about “Bad Boy Characters.”
  • Fan Art
  • Discounts. If you are self published, you should price pulse your books at least once per quarter.
  • Trivia

What to leave out:

  • Information about your personal life. This is not your Christmas card. No one cares about you, your kids or your dog.
  • Anything that is boring. It only takes one boring email for someone to hit the unsubscribe button. Try to put yourself in the shoes of someone who truly does not care. Why should they care about this email? What is in it for them?

How to handle the work of an author newsletter.

  • Automate, automate automate. You can setup MailChimp to send out emails of your blog posts automatically. This is one of the many reasons I prefer MailChimp over Constant Contact.
  • Don’t send email too often. You can go as infrequently as once per quarter.
  • Don’t spend much time on social media.
  • Write so you have something to talk about on your blog/social media.


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