Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Share Your News! by Ann H. Gabhart

A popular marketing tool for writers is issuing a newsletter through email subscriptions. I asked author Ann Gabhart to share her experience with this way of reaching her readers. -- Sandy

Ann: Somebody once called me a storyteller. I loved that, but to make a story circle complete, a storyteller needs readers. So how do you get readers to discover your book in the great flood of books published every year? Jump up and down waving a copy of your book in your hand? That might work for your neighbor, but you want thousands of neighbors when you’re waving that new book around. So you climb aboard the internet.   

I’ve been writing for years, but I didn’t venture into the world of social media until after I published my first Christian novel, Scent of Lilacs, in 2005. Facebook. Twitter. Newsletters. I’ve done all those, but writing a newsletter sounded like the most fun because I enjoy talking to people in person and on paper. My starter list of friends and readers wasn’t very long, so I began signing up more readers at book events.

At first, I used my own e-mail until somebody pointed out the rules for sending news updates. Rules? For writing letters? But it turns out you can’t just send anybody a newsletter. They have to sign-up in person or on-line that they want your newsletter to land in their e-mail boxes. So to stay on the right side of spam rules, I found a newsletter service. I put a sign-up link on my website and Facebook page. Then I grew my list more through giveaways that stated contest entries were also a sign-up for my newsletter.

Having names isn’t enough. I need to make these new friends want to read my “letter.” It’s a given that you need entertaining content or some great offers. I use a mix of down home news and book news. My newsletter friends get the bonus of first knowledge of a giveaway or information about free e-book downloads. In hopes of keeping my mailing from being marked spam, I put “how to unsubscribe” at the beginning. I don’t want to be in their e-mail box if they don’t want me there. But I do have many readers who like getting my news. After sending one out, I set aside time to read and answer the responses I get. That shows I appreciate them reading my letter. Plus, I often ask readers entering my giveaway contests to share a story with me. Since my recent giveaway was during my birthday month, I requested memories of special birthday celebrations. I am always touched by the stories shared with me.

So while my newsletter isn’t the average author’s newsletter (we never like to think we’re average, do we?) and it breaks some of the rules for a successful newsletter, it works for me. I get to know my readers better as we share stories and books. 

Here’s a link to a recent newsletter. http://mad.ly/bf8814?o=ps

Happy writing!! 

Do you have an author newsletter? Do you subscribe to other authors’ newsletters? What do you like about them?  


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ANN H. GABHART, the author of several bestselling novels, has been called a storyteller, not a bad thing for somebody who never wanted to do anything but write down stories. She’s published twenty-six novels for adults and young adults with more stories on the way. She keeps her keyboard warm out on a farm in Kentucky where she lives with her husband, Darrell. They have three children, three in-law children, and nine grandchildren. To find out more about Ann or her books visit www.annhgabhart.com. Check out her blog, One Writer’s Journal, www.annhgabhart.blogspot.com or follow her on Facebook, www.facebook.com/AnnGabhart , Twitter, https://twitter.com/AnnHGabhart, or Pinterest, http://pinterest.com/annhgabhart/




11 comments:

  1. Great, do-able tips, Ann! Love your newsletter, too. The photos are gorgeous and it's a great idea to put the links to all you social networking sites at the bottom.

    Thanks so much!

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  2. Thanks, Angie. Even though I've been writing for a lot of years, there's always something new to learn. And I love meeting readers via internet. That's one thing that is so much different than when my first novel was published in 1978. No internet then. Thanks for checking out the newsletter. If anybody reading the post is interested in signing up for it, they can do that from my website, www.annhgabhart.com or my Facebook page. :)

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  3. Hi Ann. Interesting thought on newsletters. What newsletter service did you use?

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    1. I checked out several, Jennifer. Some of them I could have used for free until I reached a certain level of subscribers. But I decided to go with Mad Mimi. They weren't free. It's a subscription price per month, but I don't mind paying for a service. The price was low. Since I haven't worked with any of the other services, I can't comment about their technical help or ease of use, but I have found Mad Mimi very easy to use and extremely quick to respond any time I have a problem which is usually because I just don't know how to do something or my photos weren't sized correctly. You can find sites that compare the newsletter services and the differences in prices and services. That's what I did when I was shopping for one.

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  4. Awesome newsletter, Ann. The photos are lovely, and I especially like the Parting Shots. Cute!

    I have considered a newsletter, but that's as far as I've gotten. Thanks for the great tips, Ann!

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    1. I sometimes think you have to walk a narrow line with a newsletter. Too many will make people tired of hearing from you. Too few and it won't accomplish your purpose of making friends with your readers or giving them reason to check out your books. Some of the people who have signed up through the giveaways then unsubscribe right away, so that can be discouraging too. Still, I enjoy doing my newsletter and try to send one out when I have some writing news to share along with my down home news. So maybe you can give it a try with one of the free services, Dora, to see if it's something you want to do. If you don't enjoy it, then it's better to concentrate your energy doing something to promote your work that you do enjoy. Of course, the best thing any of us can do is write a book readers want to read. :)

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  5. Thanks for this information, Ann. I haven't started a newsletter, but I'm keeping your information for the future. :)

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    1. If you decide to do that newsletter, Sandra, I hope my experiences with mine will be helpful for you. It was fun coming over to visit you all today.

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    2. They will, Ann. Thank you for sharing.

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  6. Ann, as a debut author I needed this post. Social media can be overwhelming! Like you, I enjoy talking to people so a newsletter is appealing. I subscribe to several and enjoy feeling like an author is talking to me personally and seeing photos,

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    1. Thanks for sharing what you like about the newsletters you get, Terri. So when you do start sending out your own news, you'll have a good feel about how you'll like to reach out to your readers. And congrats! That first book can be such an exciting time for an author, but as you say, a bit overwhelming too as you wonder what next.

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