Jessie: In New Hampshire where autumn has well adn truly arrived.

Last week I attended a conference for novelists down in Florida. There is a lot to thinkfullsizeoutput_5c7 about and I left with a head crammed full of possibilities and things to ponder. One of the workshops that I attended was on the subject of newsletters.

I must admit, rather shamefacedly, that I do not currently have a newsletter. I have meant to put one together, told myself I should put one together, added it to my projects list and agonized thoroughly over the lack of one. But somehow, I have never seemed to have managed it. The workshop presenter convinced me it was time to change all that.

Apparently, a newsletter is not all that difficult to produce and according to the presenter readers actually truly love to find them in their email inboxes.  she made the entire thing seem like fun instead of like something overwhelming and tedious. Which brings me to the point of this post. I could use a little help from all of you.

I would love to know which sorts of things you like to hear from writers when you subscribe to a newsletter. I’d love to know how frequently you like to receive such things. I’d like to know if you value notifications about upcoming releases, author appearances, exclusive content available only to newsletter subscribers, or newsy tidbits and behind-the-scenes information about what went into the books that you like to read.

I also would love to grow the numbers of people interested in receiving the inaugural issue of my newsletter. I do have a sign-up link  for one on my website and have added it here should any of you be interested in signing up.

Readers, I’d love to hear the answers to the questions above. Writers, do you send out a newsletter?

47 Thoughts

  1. Just signed up and am looking forward to receiving your first newsletter. As a writer, I’m in the same boat. I just started my sign up list, and have the link on my FB author page. I’m hoping to have the first newsletter out on November 1st…Don’t know what took me so long, I do enjoy receiving other writer’s newsletters. Don’t you?

    1. Thanks so much, Kait for signing up! Now I know I shan’t be howling into the wilderness! And I love that newsletters have been on your mind too! Good luck with your November 1 goal!

  2. I enjoy reading about exclusive content for newsletter subscribers and new releases mostly, but I also like seeing what authors have been up to, and what they happen to be reading.

  3. I’ve signed up. I’d like advance warning of ARCs (you DO intend to send them?) and notices of freebies. It’s not that I’m greedy, it’s just that $505 (soon to be $515) a month in Social Security only stretches so far. I’ve gotten on most of my newsletter lists through Amy Vansant’s book giveaways. And if they only come when there is actual NEWS (instead of every three days) they are a treat in the inbox. Reminders of how someone’s latest is free on Kindle unlimited are NOT helpful to those of us who simply do not HAVE the necessary $10 a month. I think that answers all your questions. Have a blessed day.

  4. I’m so glad you asked these questions, Jessie – I’ll be listening carefully to the answers. I signed up, too!

    I send out a newsletter four or five times a year, and I use MailChimp. It’s easy to use and free as long as I have fewer than 2000 subscribers. I try to keep the newsletter tone light and chatty, just as if I spied an old friend on the street and we were catching up with each other. I include a bit of personal news usually, a few pictures, new book covers, a link to the events tab on my web site, that kind of thing, plus always a plug for this blog! Good luck with yours. Shoot me an email with questions if you want.

  5. I used to have one back in the dark ages before email, when I was writing my Face Down series, but haven’t for years (decades?). At first it was just that I was technologically challenged. Then it was because I was being deluged by other people’s newsetters, none of which I’d signed up for, and had begun to see newsletters as spam. Now? well, now I don’t do much of anything for publicity. I just write books and hoard my spare time. I can live with being thought a curmudgeonly, eccentric recluse. On the other hand, if a newsletter comes from someone whose books I enjoy and I did in fact sign up for it, then I’m happy to receive it.

    1. I love the imaage of you hoarding your spare time! I can see you wrapping your arms around it and clutching it close! I am glad you mention the distinction of newsletters you actually sign up for as opposed to those that simply arrive uninvited!

  6. Also just signed up. For frequency, quarterly and/or when new books are about to be released – definitely not monthly or more often. For content, yes on upcoming releases, newsy tidbits, and behind the scenes info – less interested in author appearances (not usually close enough) and exclusive content. I’m looking to Whispers of Warning!

  7. I have a newsletter. I rarely send it out. I seem to lose subscribers every time I do (I suspect most of them came from a promotional blog tour for one of my earlier middle-grade books that the blog organizer set up for a giveaway).

    I will also admit to not really reading the ones I am subscribed to. I almost always seem to find out the information from other sources. (Sorry!)

  8. I too just signed up for your newsletter Jessica. I hope you will enjoy writing it and to answer your question about what to include: YES to all the things you mentioned. The newsletters from authors I read motivates me to buy their newest books and I have to admit…I like the contests for free books etc. Getting a box from an author with a couple of free books and some bookmarks is an absolute THRILL and I always share the books after I read them with our public library. As for how often to send the newsletters, I would say no more often than once a month and for sure when you have a new book coming out. I have not read every Wicked author’s books here, but I am working on it!

  9. Yes, I established a newsletter for both pen names. I also enjoy getting them from other authors. They are full of fun tidbits. I just signed up for yours!

  10. My newsletter goes out either monthly or every six weeks. I try to write it as if I’m having a conversation, and keep it themed to the area I write about – Cajun Country – so it’s not just about me, which can get boring. Unless I have a new release to tout, I have regular sections like a monthly recipe, a feature called “Your Louisiana Library.” I also occasionally do contests just for subscribers. I have one that ends tomorrow featuring alligator-inspired jewelry I made. I just know that for me, if a newsletter is only about the work, I get bored. I also use lots of visuals and links. My stats are pretty good. On my last newsletter, I had over 600 click-throughs on the links.

  11. That’s “monthly recipe” AND a feature called “Your Louisiana Library,” where I share books I’ve found and like about the area.

  12. Hi Jessie, just signed up for your newsletter. As a reader, I’d like to receive a newsletter once a month with news on what’s happening with your writing – what’s happening with the different series you are writing – when new books will be published, where are you promoting them, what blog tours you’ll be participating in to market the books. All the best with this new venture!

  13. You already have wonderful ideas for your newsletter. I think sending one out monthly is fine, or even quarterly. I would like to read about how you get your inspiration for your books, how the writing is going, what books you are reading when you have any time, and any interesting facts that you think we might like to know. Having a giveaway every once in a while is nice too!

  14. Of course we want to hear about new releases & personal appearances. Photos of research travel, favorite vacation spots, recipes (simple or unique ones). It is nice to hear about what is happening in your world, weddings, graduations, etc.. Once a month is just right. I’ve signed up & can’t wait. Now get Sherry Harris moving on it, too! LOL

  15. If you have news, I want to hear it. If you don’t, please don’t clutter my inbox. Anything more than once a month is too much unless there is breaking news like a recently scheduled book tour stop.

    Remember, we are reading multiple authors and are signed up for multiple emails. Clutter is an issue.

    As for what i like to see, everything you listed sounds good to me.

  16. Starting a newsletter is on my written to-do list, having migrated from the back-of-my-head to-do list. Thanks for the prompt and for getting these comments.

  17. I like reading about what you are doing, your viewpoint on quirky things you have seen recently and, of course, your books.

  18. Jesse, I do offer my readers a newsletter, but I’m such a slug at getting them out in time, that this month I let O’Ryan, my heroine’s wise cat, write it. I don’t have your e-mail but I’ll send it to Barb and ask her to forward it to you. I subscribe to newsletters from several writers and they seem to average two a year. I hope O’Ryan can do at least four.

  19. Jessie,
    Thank you so much for this wonderful post!

    I’m also a cozy mystery author. My publisher is closing down and I’m in process of giving my three book series new branding, new covers, new titles and reaching out to new readers, so all these responses have been wonderful to read.

    I signed up for your newsletter – and I love the font you’ve used for your name on your website! You should use it on your newsletter as well. 😉

    Wishing you great success with your books and your newsletter! 😊

  20. I thought I had signed up for your newsletter, but hadn’t. Thank you for including the link so I could do that. I rely on newsletters to let me know of release dates so I can pre-order and reminders of them so I can check to see if I had. I love any information included in them.

  21. I love to read newsletters from the authors I admire, rest assured you’re in that column. As to frequency, quarterly generally works for me but if there is something special coming up– new book, signing of an extension for a series, etc., bring it on. I also would like to hear if series are truly over, there are a couple of favorites that have gone on radio silence and I haven’t been able to ascertain whether the series are truly over. 🙁 Off to sign up for yours!!

  22. Just signed up for your newsletter, and the truth is: mostly I want to know when the next Change of Fortune book will be out! The idea of asking your characters to take turns writing the newsletter– or maybe they get together to write it when you’re out of the house– is great! Or maybe regular features like characters posting a postcard/photo from locations in your books would be fun. Thanks for asking!

  23. I would love hearing from all of the above! To me that’s what a newsletter is about and from your questions, sounds like you don’t have a hard time putting one together. One thing I noticed I’ve been enjoy from an authors newsletter is she includes books she’s reading or recently read. I always like knowing what authors enjoy reading.

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