Email Newsletters – The Next Big Step in a Writer’s Life

Since I left South Africa I have become a full time writer by default. Those of you who know me, know how much I love writing. I will happily write all day if given half a chance. In the last few years I have written six novels: two for practice, three for sale as ebooks on Amazon, and one more to join them shortly.

I don’t have a problem writing at all.

However, I do have a problem marketing both myself and my books. It’s not that they don’t sell, but rather that they don’t sell fast. Granted, I haven’t exactly been bending over backwards to publicize them for the last few years. Moving to Australia took rather a lot of time and energy out of my life in the not too distant past, especially in the last two years.

Time waits for no man (or woman) and in the time that I have been pottering around getting ready to come to Australia, thousands and thousands more writers have made their books available as ebooks on Amazon.

To say that competition is fierce is as much an understatement as declaring that the animals used in the circuses of ancient Rome were a bit cranky and might be prone to biting. In the three years that have passed since I wrote that blog-post in which I called myself an invisible novelist, I have become even more invisible – if that’s possible.

In fact, my author presence now resembles that big double black hole that astronomers discovered just the other day (the one that looks like a dog’s nose). Or perhaps, in my case, that should be a triple black hole because I have three invisible novels out there in the ether that no one is seeing and even fewer are buying!

Some people are great at marketing their own work, but some of us just aren’t. I’m one of the latter. It doesn’t help that I’m naturally a bit shy, nervous and introverted when in the company of people I don’t know. This includes the WordPress blogosphere, all the new people I have met in Australia, and the entire universe, of course.

As much as I am part of the tribe of writers who could happily spend all day writing and never interact with their readers, I’ve realised in the last three years that this is not how today’s writers make a living. So I have finally taken the next big step and jumped on the bandwagon of trying to promote my own work and my author platform.

What exactly is an author platform? Basically it’s an internet presence so that you – all current and potential readers – can find me and see what I’m up to. I already have a website, 3 blogs, a twitter handle and a Facebook profile. None of them are big or rah-rah, but they will shortly be joined by my monthly email newsletter. This is simply a means of letting past readers of my novels, current readers of my blog, and potential readers of my upcoming novels, know my latest news. Such as: there will shortly be a new novel out, and those of you who have enjoyed my previous romantic mysteries might enjoy the next one as much as you did the others.

By the way, I’ve also decided to take advantage of Amazon’s freebies from time to time in the future, and I need to let people know when they can expect to be able to download any one of my books for free. Yes, it will happen – I just don’t know when. That’s one of the marvelous things about newsletters…

Also, in the not too distant future, I hope to investigate organising actual print copies of all my books, and to sell them on Amazon through their print-on-demand affiliate, Create Space.

So, in the spirit of all of this “keeping readers informed” stuff, my new email newsletter will debut shortly. It will be administered by Mail Chimp, and I would absolutely love it if people would join it using the following link: http://eepurl.com/bHtC0P

If you click on it, you will be taken to a sign up page where you will be asked to fill in your name and email address.

Please be assured that your privacy will be honoured, and your email address will never be passed on, sold, or used by anyone else other than me, and I shall only use it to send you one newsletter per month. If you sign up and then regret doing so, there will be an “unsubscribe” link at the bottom of every newsletter where you can opt out at any time if you don’t want to continue receiving them.

Well, there it is – my soul on the line – the formal plea that will hopefully earn me a few followers so that I can finally tackle the twenty-first century like an adult, and maybe I will even have more time to write!

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26 thoughts on “Email Newsletters – The Next Big Step in a Writer’s Life

  1. I was talking about this just a few days ago with a writer friend who feels the marketing side takes up so much valuable time, time she doesn’t have an abundance of. I read recently in the NYT about a romance imprint by a famous romance writer that takes all the marketing work out of the writers’ hands. I wonder if other outfits exist, not specific to romance, so you are not stuck with crowded Amazon.

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    • Thank you – I will do some research and find out. I know that there are plenty of sharks out there who sign you up, hold your rights and then tie your hands so you get very little in return. In some cases there’s nothing you can do because you signed your rights away. I enjoy being with Amazon, but obviously there are a lot of us who do!

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    • Thank you, Aunt Beulah. I look forward to seeing your name on the list. All you have to do is click on the link in the blog-post or at the top of the sidebar on the right, and the rest is easy. For both of us!

      The real stars of techno-land are the boffins who invent the systems to make things easier for us. When I first started blogging on WordPress I found it a huge challenge, but they have set things up so that we don’t have to master codes and programming and other skills that are beyond our comprehension. MailChimp is only a little bit more complicated than WordPress, but as time goes on I’m sure it will become more familiar and easier to do.

      As for being an introvert, I find that it’s easier on the internet too, and I’m not sure why. I think I should think about this and write a blog-post about it…

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  2. Done! Am enamored with Greece. Have been waiting for your book THE EPIDAURUS INHERITANCE to come out in paperback to buy it. Guess now I know why it hasn’t! Is that one you are planning to commit to paper?

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    • Thank you for signing up!

      I am hoping to get all of my books into paperback form, but it may be a gradual process. I’ve heard that the formatting is quite tricky, so it won’t be as soon as I’d like.

      I really want to get the current novel out as an ebook first because it’s been so long in the making. As soon as that’s done I’ll start learning all about Create Space so that those who prefer an actual physical book will be able to buy them too.

      The beauty of a newsletter is that you’ll be among the first to know when it’s all about to happen…!

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      • Hey there Ms. Susan! Go to christinaochs.com and tell her I suggested you talk to her about your print books. She just put out her second in a trilogy. Christina was the first person I met on here. Ended up having coffee and breakfast with her three weeks later. She’s a sweetheart. Smart as all get out. I have been a beta reader for both her books. I’m sure she can give you all the info ’cause I think that’s how she had hers printed. Or something really similar. Drop her a note.

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  3. Marketing is the worst – and it’s what I do for a living so I should be better disposed towards it! Much of my current ennui can be filed away under – “Failure to better market own goddam self.” Ugh.

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  4. Promotion is so difficult! I’m on the cusp of this step myself, though I am taking the small press traditional approach which is irritatingly slow. I will be rooting for you and signing up for your newsletters.

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  5. As a fellow creative, I totally understand what you mean about the struggles of marketing your own work. I have worked as a musician and found the process a struggle too. I would happily play and write music all day long, but getting it noticed requires a whole other skill set. Ideally, we need a team member in the marketing world to take on the other half of the job, so we can continue writing and producing creative work without the pressure of getting it out there! Still, it’s all a learning process 🙂

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    • Hi Sarah. I seem to remember that it was quite difficult to set the whole thing up, especially as I’m technologically challenged. I had to search around on Mail Chimp for ages before I found my actual eepurl link and then I didn’t know how to add it to my blog!

      Eventually I read on someone else’s blog how they added it. I think this is how I did it:

      On WordPress, I went into Appearance, then Widgets and found a Text box. I had already used a text box for the Blogroll but it was easy enough to add another one (which I hadn’t realized I could do). For some reason I couldn’t add the Mail Chimp link to the title of the text box, so I added it to a capitalized “CLICK HERE” instead. I tried to do it in Bold, but that didn’t work. I don’t think it’s very eye-catching even though I moved the text box up to the top.

      Good luck! I like your pop-up, by the way, and think that it works well. Even if you add the link the other way, maybe you should keep the pop-up as well.

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