Author, speaker, and sidewalk theologian, Cheri Cowell, is passionate about discipleship and challenging the body of Christ to holiness of heart and life. As the author of four books: Parables and Word Pictures in the Following God Bible study series (AMG), Direction: Discernment for the Decisions of Your Life (Beacon Hill), Living the Story: Reaching Outside the Church Walls (EABooks Publishing), and her newest release from Zondervan, 365 Days for Peace, Cheri’s love of story and the Holy Word shines through.
E-mail newsletters are now listed as the most effective way of reaching a fan base. Yet most authors don’t do this. Here are a few steps to get you going in this important marketing step.
- Begin collecting contacts even before you have a book. You must ask people if they want to join your newsletter or it is considered spam. They can sign up at events, provide their business cards in a fishbowl, and/or you can have a place on your website for people to sign up.
- Now you need a database collection/newsletter program. I use Constant Contact, but you may also like MailChimp. MailChimp is free for under 2000 contacts.
- Determine how many times a year you plan to send a newsletter. I’ve decided quarterly is enough–I don’t want to be in their face all the time. But if you say it will be quarterly, then you need to deliver.
- The biggest decision you will make is ‘what is the purpose of your newsletter?’ If it’s to sell books, don’t bother. That is annoying. That may be a by-product of a good newsletter but it shouldn’t be the reason. Take your wonderful writing skills and feed your fans. If you are a Bible study teacher, then offer aids for leading small groups. If you are a parenting expert, offer tips and tell a funny story. If you write fiction, tell us about the wonderful worlds you create. Give your readers a reason to open the newsletter and stay a while.
- Give them something to do in your newsletter. Ask them to join you in Random Acts of Kindness week and then share their story on your Facebook. Invite them to name your next villain and run a contest on your blog site. Readers like to get involved, and involved readers buy books.
- Now, make it interesting by adding images. Of course you will have your head shot and your book cover, but you will also want to attach an interesting image to each article or quote. Google Images is a great place to search by keyword.
- And if you do have a new book release, by all means, put that front and center on your newsletter. If you haven’t been pushing your books and instead have been feeding your readers in previous newsletters, they will celebrate with you. And they just might buy your new book.
Visit Cheri’s website to learn more. www.CheriCowell.com