Posted on June 8, 2018 at 12:00 PM by Sadye Scott-Hainchek

Authors Patty Jansen and Deanna Cabinian already explained how to grow an email newsletter.

Now they’re back to reinforce why an email list matters.

“In terms of promotion, I think newsletters are the easiest and most effective way to get the word out about new releases,” Cabinian says. “You have direct access to potential customers.”

(And, as you’ll remember from the review-advice post, you’ll have a deeper pool of potential public cheerleaders!)

That access does pay off, Cabinian adds. “Newsletter sends directly correlate to sales,” she says. “I have seen sales as a result of sending new release notification messages.”

If you’re groaning because it seems easier to just post on social media, Jansen has a word of caution.

“A newsletter is a very effective way of reaching your readers and potential readers. Most importantly, it’s yours,” she says.

“If Amazon were to die tomorrow, you could email (readers) and tell them where else to get your books. If Facebook started to charge for every post you made to the followers of your page — and we’re already halfway there — you could reach them via your list instead.”

And it’s hard to overstate the power of measurable, quantifiable data. (You can compare it to industry benchmarks here.)

Cabinian keeps an eye on open rates, click rates, and unsubscribe rates.

“The first time someone leaves the list, it hurts a little,” she says. “But in the end, you want to be connecting with people who want to hear from you, so losing a few people along the way is okay.”

Jansen also suggests evaluating your newsletter’s income — measured by sales tracked through it — minus what you spend on adding subscribers using your email list provider.

If, when you do that math, you wince or cry a little bit, Jansen has a few words of comfort.

You can reduce cost by moving to a cheaper provider or finding cheaper ways to increase those signups.

And you can aim to increase your income by publishing more, raising the price of your books, and/or working to sell more books to the people already on your list.

Affiliate links are one other possibility, but Jansen cautions: “For fiction writers, this does not really amount to much, though, so don’t hold your hopes up.”

Want more newsletter advice?

Deanna Cabinian recommends checking out Reader Magnets by Nick Stephenson, and Patty Jansen herself takes a closer look at mailing lists in her book Mailing Lists Unboxed (part of her three-book self-publishing series).

Categories: Behind the scenes

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