Five Tips For Creating an Effective Newsletter

Staying in touch with our readers has never been more important than it is now, in these days of shrinking markets and expanding options for the way stories and other types of entertainment are delivered.  I’ve been doing some research on what makes a newsletter worth the time, effort and money it takes to develop, circulate, and maintain it. I studied the newsletters that arrive in my in-box almost daily and thought about what I like and don’t like. And I consulted a couple of marketing experts to see what they have to say. My own director of marketing at Thomas Nelson feels a newsletter begins to be effective when you have at least 500 names in your database. Once you’ve reached that number, here are five tips the experts say are critical to success:

An attractive layout is paramount. Use plenty of headers subheads, boxes, and graphics such as drawings, photos or illustrations. Some of my friends use a company called Constant Contact that offers a wide range of banners, colors and  layouts.

Don’t annoy your recipients by including too much information about yourself. Of course you want to mention your newest book coming out, any places you’ll be signing, but the value in a newsletter lies in what you can offer your readers.  How about recommendations of  books by other authors that you think your own readers will enjoy? An interesting statistic about books or book buying?  A favorite recipe or one that figures into your novel? A photograph of the setting of your novel? Make it short, make it interesting, and give your readers one little tidbit that’s fun and unexpected.

Don’t give away too much of the plot of your novel. Some experts recommend keeping the summary to 200 words or less. I realized how important this idea is when I remember how having to write a detailed synopsis of a novel beforehand drains me of the sense of urgency needed to actually write the story. Once I’ve set it all out there in the synopsis, I don’t feel the need to write the book.  Readers are the same way. Tell them too much about your novel and they will feel that they’ve already read it.

Provide tips and news about the book business as a whole. Readers enjoy a behind the scenes look at our industry. News of book award winners and upcoming books by well known authors are always interesting. How many of us devoured this week’s news that horror author Stephen King is writing an historical novel about the assassination of President Kennedy?  I’m not even a King fan, but this news held my interest.

Send your newsletter to a media list to generate publicity.

Do you have a favorite tip for creating a newsletter? As a reader, what do you love/not love about the newsletters you receive?


5 thoughts on “Five Tips For Creating an Effective Newsletter

    1. dorothy Post author

      Hi Janalyn, A media list consists of TV stations, newspapers, magazines, radio stations, anyone who works in media who has the potential to comment on the contents of your newsletter. For instance if your local newspaper has a book editor or reviewer, that person might read your newsletter and contact you for an interview. She might request a copy of your book for review. Or include you on a list of local authors. A local TV producer in need of someone to interview for a Saturday morning show, might contact you to be on TV…and so on.
      I hope this helps.

      Thanks for stopping by Writers Caffeine!

  1. Gabriel Smith

    Exceedingly entertaining many thanks, It is my opinion your trusty audience would likely want significantly more well written articles like that keep up the good effort.

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