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  • Francine Beaton

MARKETING – THE BANE OF AN INDIE AUTHOR’S EXISTENCE (PART 1: NEWSLETTERS)




How do you promote your book, especially when you are a newbie author? I can tell you, it is not easy. As I’ve mentioned in my previous post (https://www.francinebeaton.com/post/i-am-a-wip), I’m no expert and I’ve made numerous mistakes, spent a lot of (unnecessary) money, without any success.


There are so many ways you can promote your book, and some of them are free, but does it work? Not always. What works for one person, may not work for another. That is why you need to do your homework long before you press publish. You will need to know your genre, keywords and hashtags. You will need to study the best practices, websites, blogs, Facebook pages and a whole lot more to know where to post, when to post, and what to post. The only way you can do that is by joining groups and absorb everything you can to make sure you are following the right practises. Don’t be like me. I jumped head first in and struggled to get my head above water for a long, long time.


Today I’m going to cover the importance of newsletters in your advertising campaign. Again, don’t be like me. This is my third year of publishing and with 15 books published, I should’ve worked on this aspect of my marketing campaign a long time ago. I didn’t. In the beginning of January had a dismal 150 subscribers on my list. I was crap at sending out emails as I never know what to say and what not. Therefore, my aim was, before I publish my 16th book, to build my subscriber list, as well as my social media following. I am happy to say that yesterday my newsletter subscriber list had grown to 1840. I know, it’s nowhere near some of the best-selling author’s lists with 26000 subscribers, but it is already a huge improvement to me. If I can do it, so can you.


What difference does it make? Yes, we all ask the question. We can promote on Facebook and Twitter for free. I can use Facebook, Instagram and Amazon ads. Yes, that’s true. The difference, however, is that those platforms may change or fold at any time. Your email list is yours and it is up to you how you going to manage it and cultivate it.



E-MAIL INTEGRATION

Before you can think about building your newsletter subscriber list, you need to draw up a list. To build your e-mail list the correct way, you need to use an email marketing software (EMS) system, and make sure you comply with anti-spam laws. This kind of software will allow you to collect email addresses and send messages to people on that list. There are several EMS systems available, and you must do your homework to find which one is the best one for you. The article below contains a list which includes mailchimp.com, convertkit.com and aweber.com. I previously used Mailchimp but recently switched over to MailerLite.com

https://www.writersdigest.com/aug-17/author-platform-building-create-valuable-email-list-book



HOW TO SHARE YOUR SIGNUP FORM:

  • Add the link to your subscriber form in your ebook. In the back, in the front, doesn’t matter. Both, even better. Right there where you also add the links where readers can leave reviews like Bookbub or Goodreads or BingeBooks or any other platforms you prefer.


  • Insert the imbed code on any page of your website or blog. (Here you need to follow the guidelines of your service provider)



  • Add your signup form to your Facebook page

Here is a helpful article to do this:

https://support.dotdigital.com/hc/en-gb/articles/115000706910-Add-an-email-signup-button-to-your-Facebook-page


  • Create a social media post – Twitter, Instagram and Facebook and if you like Pinterest too. Mark Dawson gave a one hour video lesson on how to use Facebook ads:

https://www.alessandratorreink.com/home/mdawson


  • Make sure you add your social media links, including your newsletter signup link, when you do guest blogs or articles.


OTHER WAYS TO BUILD YOUR SUBSCRIBER LIST:

  • Reader magnets

By now you’ve probably heard of reader magnets. If you haven’t, a reader magnet is either a full book or a sample you give away in return for readers to sign up your newsletter. Now for those of you in KU, that can be an issue. You can’t give your book away for free, but you can use sample chapters which won’t be more than 10% of your book. But those requirements may change regularly as Amazon changes its algorithms, and you need to be on top of it. Here is an excellent article by Creativindie author Derek Murphy on ways to still be able to use reader magnets, even if you only have one book out or due out soon:

https://www.creativindie.com/how-to-use-bookfunnel-and-instafreebie-if-youre-in-kindle-unlimited-kdp-select-and-free-book-giveaways/


And another one on how to build creative reader magnets for your email list by Mark Dawson:

https://selfpublishingformula.com/creative-reader-magnets-for-your-mailing-list/


Mark also has a free course on list building for authors:

https://selfpublishingformula.com/courses/marketing/



  • Book Promotion platforms

There are several platforms you can use for this. I’ve used Prolific Works (formerly Instafreebie), Bookfunnel and now also StoryOrigin. Prolific Works only provide newsletter promos where you can either use a book sample or a full book. You need to check the requirements for each site. I prefer Bookfunnel as it has sales and newsletter signup promos and a larger variety of promos. As I’ve said, I’m still setting up on StoryOrigin, but they have a larger variety of promo tools available.

https://bookfunnel.com/

https://www.prolificworks.com/

https://storyoriginapp.com/



  • Newsletter swaps

I have to admit, up to now I haven’t done any newsletter swaps. I’ve now and again help a fellow author by introducing them in my newsletter, but that was all. Since I number of subscribers increased, however, I will use it for my next release. That is the biggest reason why I joined StoryOrigin. Below is another article on newsletter swaps by Derek Murphy:

https://www.creativindie.com/how-to-do-a-newsletter-swap-to-reach-more-readers-and-sell-more-books/

Should you wish to join newsletter swaps, apart from StoryOrigin, there are these Facebook groups too:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/StoryOrigin

https://www.facebook.com/groups/newsletterswaps

https://www.facebook.com/groups/2974748122790379

https://www.facebook.com/groups/bookscoversandmore



  • Other promo sites

There are, of course, other options, but they will cost you money. I apply for one of these Group Giveaways a month. Some of them are as little as $5 and others are $20 but I wouldn’t spend more than that. Some you pay $10 for the basic promo, but then you can ask readers to also follow you on other platforms too for $5 per platform. That is how I managed to get more than 1000 followers on Instagram and Facebook and increased my Goodreads and Bookbub followers. I know, not everyone wants to spend that money, especially not when you have only one book. I’ve reckon I have enough books now to spend $20 on Bookfunnel and $20 on promos, as long as I don’t spend more than $50. It’s way less than I’ve previously spent on Amazon ads and Facebook ads. I’ve used these promo companies, if you are interested but there may be more I haven’t heard of:

https://tinkyroopromos.wordpress.com/author-promos/

https://www.facebook.com/PelicanProofing/

https://go.beyonddeflit.com



WHERE DID I LEARN WHAT TO DO ABOUT NEWSLETTERS?

I am a big fan of fellow romance author Alessandra Torre. Here are links to her blog and Facebook group, as well as Inkerscon, an online conference. During Inkerscon2020 there was a workshop on improving the open rate on your emails and how to build loyal fans but here are only a few blog posts she wrote about email marketing:

https://www.alessandratorreink.com/home/newsletterrock

https://www.alessandratorreink.com/home/emailsegments

https://www.alessandratorreink.com/home/emailsurvey

You can also follow her here:

https://www.facebook.com/groups/235450860258127

https://www.alessandratorreink.com/



Another author who inspires me to work on my email list is David Gaughran. Below is his blog post on newsletters. You can also follow his YouTube Channel:

https://davidgaughran.com/email-marketing-secret-weapon-author-newsletter/

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k9rz3OTaV8c

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCFSrezi_7kXawH917nH3qyA



And if you want to buy a book, try the one below by Tammy Labrecque. Joanne Penn discussed it on her blog, The Creative Penn on newsletter tips:

https://www.thecreativepenn.com/2019/01/28/author-email-list-and-newsletter-tips-with-tammi-labrecque/

https://www.amazon.com/Newsletter-Ninja-Become-Author-Mailing-ebook/dp/B07C6J8HP9/



If you need inspiration to start your author newsletter, check out this post from MailerLite:

https://www.mailerlite.com/newsletter-examples/authors



Lessons I’ve learned, though is:

  1. You need to persevere, especially when it comes to getting reviews. That is something I will deal with in another blog post, though.

  2. If something doesn’t work, especially when you are spending money), is stop it and try something else

  3. Don’t give up. You may never make a ton of money, but you must keep on doing what you enjoy.


I hope it helps!


Until next time







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