Our discussions on promotion, and particularly newsletters, provoked a realization that many authors, particularly just-starting-out authors have a mailing list of less than 20 names, and not much news.
Combining that with the frequently heard in the comments section "I don't much like newsletters and really don't read them" I thought "hmmmmm...what if."
What if we stop thinking about this as newsletters and just think of it as an email that goes to fans/friends etc.
Here's how to do that:
1. You don't need an email platform like MailChimp. You can use something as simple as a .doc or .xls spread sheet.
2. Make a list of names. I prefer .xls spread sheets because they are sortable.
3. Organize the names alphabetically to weed out any duplicates.
4. Search for .co to make sure you've got .com on all the addresses.
5. Write a brief email with the information you're going to be sharing with everyone. Info like "hey, heads up, my book launch is coming up. Save the Date! And don't worry I'll email you the day of the event to remind you too!"
6. Make SURE you include "unsubscribe info" at the bottom
of the email. Something like "on this list by mistake? don't want to
receive further emails? No problem. Hit reply with UNSUBSCRIBE in the
body of the text and you'll be off the list.
You'll now have something that looks like this:
Now, here's the part that will take time.
7. Save the base information email. Duplicate it by the number of email addresses you have.
(To duplicate an email you need an email management program like outlook. )
When you duplicate the message you'll have something like this:
Then open each email, personalize and send.
Of course, if you're sending an email to someone who has NOT signed up for the newsletter, you use the reason you are emailing them.
Just a reminder that there's a recent blog post on how to determine who should be on your mailing list (and who should NOT.)
I'm a big believer in personalizing emails. There are some email programs that will do that for you but you want to make SURE your email program gets the right info.
I always laugh when Facebook addresses me as "Sharque" because my personal Facebook page is "Sharque Janet Reid."
NOTHING replaces actual eyeballs on the list to weed out these kinds of problems. You can tell that Mrs. George Clooney's first name is not George, nor is it Mrs. (It's Amal, to the everlasting sorrow of one of my colleagues.)
And you'll be able to see that JanetReid@gmail is most likely also JanetReid @LettuceIsTheSpawnOfSatan.com and weed out the duplicate.
Data bases are living things. They need to be pruned and tended just like a plant, and taken out for a spin a couple of times year to keep all the gears running smoothly.
Even if you only have 20 names, get started. It's better to learn about the problems with 20 names than 200.