Last week, Instagram and Facebook got a timeout. While it was a reminder for me to take some time off my phone, my thoughts turned to “what would I do if Instagram disappeared tomorrow?”
And have you legitimately thought about that? What if social media is no longer free? What if it’s broken indefinitely? What if it goes out of style like MySpace?
The answer, y’all, is to start a newsletter.
I love Instagram more than most things in this world, but I can’t guarantee that I can keep all my followers. I can’t even trust the algorithm to work in my favor!
So today, here’s a quick look at why writers should start a newsletter ASAP.
But First: What Is the Difference Between a Newsletter & a Blog?
I’ll admit, my first hangup with newsletters was the fact that I had no idea what they were or what they were supposed to do. If I want to write a post, I just do that on my blog, right? A newsletter sounds like extra work! If I’m looking at the pie chart of how I spend my time, I can’t afford to spend even less time away from my actual book writing.
If you feel the same, I can explain the differences as I see them.
A blog can:
- Serve as a hub for all your projects and updates.
- Provide evergreen content about you, your work, and your insight into the writing industry.
A newsletter can:
- Turn blog followers into future customers or clients
- Offer exclusive content, sales, and sneak-peeks for your loyal fans
- Introduce your followers to content you’ve already created on your blog.
- Share short-term sales, giveaways, and more that aren’t as effective on a blog.
- Basically, what I post on social media, I can post in my newsletter.
If you’re still unsure about newsletters, I’d recommend that you check out Pinterest for articles about newsletters. Just about every person who runs their own business has a newsletter and they make the majority of their earnings on customers from their newsletter. Since my newsletter is a baby compared to theirs, I’d recommend checking out their numbers and trends.
No Algorithm Headaches
Okay, when you send an email, it goes to everyone on your list. Your newsletter host won’t pick and choose which email addresses they’ll use—they will automatically send it to all of them!
Also, think of how many of your friends are trying to cut back on social media. If they aren’t online as much, will they see your brilliant posts? If you want your work to be more visible to your followers, then a newsletter will help you beat the odds.
You will have to work harder on your email titles so they encourage your followers to open the email but you already have that challenge with social media; the odds are EVER in your favor with a newsletter.
More Sales or Sale Opportunities
How many of you have ever bought something because you got an email saying the item was on sale? Okay, I love all these online boutiques but I’m not regularly on their sites looking for new clothes or shoes. But I can suddenly fall in love with a nerdy dress if my favorite shop tells me it’s on sale.
Okay, as a writer, you have that same magic wand: you can transform a casual fan into a true fan by giving them healthy reminders about you and what’s going on.
When someone signs up for your newsletter, they are agreeing to hear more from you and buy from you. It’s an unspoken contract; they want to hear more from you so they gave you their email. Basically, you get to talk to them about your book until they unsubscribe. With great power comes great responsibility!
If you’re not comfortable talking sales and asking for money, your newsletter list is a place where you have full permission to talk about it. You will naturally sell more books if you actually talk about the book! You can also approach your newsletter with a bit more strategy; if you want more blog views, more book sales, or more work opportunities, you can create newsletters with those intentions in mind.
Permission to Tap into Your Strengths
Even if your book is a drop in the sea of books, you can provide something more to your followers than just a book. I mean, you’re not writing books just to sell books, right? There’s something deeper there. Most business coaches would call this “defining your WHY.”
When I write my newsletter, I still use my same voice but I approach it in a different way than a blog post like this one. I often tap into my storytelling skills to connect with my followers. I have the opportunity to show them what I as Whitney M have to offer. Yes, I do that on my blog, but since my newsletter is a much more niche audience, I feel more confident talking about what makes my books unique or what makes me a writer worth following or caring about.
Deeper Community Ties
I have my favorite Instagram accounts. There are some folks that I want to hear from every day of my life. They keep my phone addiction alive! If I wanted to keep in touch and social media went away, then I would turn to their newsletters.
A newsletter is a great way to support the other writers you appreciate in the community. And you know I’m a stickler for community! If you want to learn about the industry, create business partnerships, or bask in another writer’s glow, then sign up for their newsletter.
Lately, I’ve been putting myself out there by asking people I already follow if they have a newsletter that I can sign up for. We already do this for social media, so consider using similar tactics to build up your newsletter list.
So I think that’s a good place to end for today. Stay tuned for more posts about newsletters, such as what you should put on your newsletter and how to grow your list.
I’d like to remind you that I’m still working on these things too, so I’m not telling you what to do; I’m just sharing what I’m currently working on. I just hope it helps you understand the business side of being an indie author and you find more success!
Speaking of which, if you’d like to see my newsletter in action, you certainly can! Subscribe through the pop up on the website, this image below, the prompt to your right, or go here.
Do you have any other questions about newsletters? Share them in the comments!