06-23-18 Robin Weaver – My Crazy Road to Romantic Suspense Publishing

Saturday, December 10, 2016

The Power of Newsletters by Bonnie Paulson

First off – most important – is a huge thank you to Judith and Sarah for having me. I appreciate the opportunity to be here in their “home”. Let’s jump right in!

You want to talk to your readers but you’re not sure what to say? Or how often? Or. Or. Or.?

Newsletters are a lot of things, but the last thing we should think of them as are ads. They shouldn’t be used like a circular going out in the mail.

Instead they should be thought of as a link to your readers. You need that connection to stay on their radar.

But… I can hear you thinking, I need to make sales. What’s the point of a newsletter, if I’m not selling things? I get it. I really do. But you’re being welcomed into their inbox. The least you can do is not put your dirty shoes on their table.

In an email you should have three things to be memorable –

1.      Something personal – like a fun fact or something you’ve been doing in your life, this gives them the engagement they’re looking for and gets them more involved with you as an author and a friend.

2.      A snippet of what you’re working on (this shows them you’re producing more and gets them excited for your work).

3.      A plan – something that you want them to do – take a survey, click on a book, here’s a freebie, something. Even if you only invite them to your Facebook page or to reply with what the weather is like – engage with the reader.

Notice I didn’t say sell anything to them. That’s like showing up at your mother’s with your vacuum to sell – it isn’t great all the time.

Sure, it’s good to show them what you’re doing or what you have available, but you don’t want to run around their inbox screaming “buy this, buy this, buy this!”

Here’s a challenge for you! Draft your next newsletter and send it to yourself. What do you like about it? What don’t you like? Send it to your critique partner and ask the same thing. Heck, send it to me! I’ll tell you what works and what isn’t working for me as a recipient.

If you’re just not sure what to talk about, look to your brand. ALWAYS look to your brand. If your brand promises thrilling reads with death, please don’t put a book recommendation in your newsletter for a sweet romance. That will get you more unsubscribes than you’ll know what to do with.

Stick to your brand and you’ll do great.

Bonnie R. Paulson writes under multiple pen names and runs FindingYourIndie.com

She’s determined to help everyone empower the piece of them that needs to be set free on the indie world. 

Check out her multiple courses on Building a Ninja Newsletter, Media Kit, Brand Building, and More!!!


Cathryn Cade said...


You hit some really important points here.

I'm now questioning the wisdom of joining promos where I have to send the promo to MY newsletter subscribers. They've joined me to get info on my books, and now I'm sending them ads.

Any feedback on this?

Cathryn Cade

Judith Ashley said...

Bonnie, Thank you for guesting with us today at Romancing The Genres. I've learned so much from your Ninja Newsletter course! And being a part of your Storm Paulson Promo Group. Thank you for sharing your expertise and providing opportunities for newer authors like me to gain promo experience with pros.

Sarah Raplee said...

Great post!!! I'm planning a newsletter now so this is timely for me. I need to take your course!

Maeve Greyson said...

Excellent points, Bonnie! I hate newsletters that "feel" like spam mail always trying to pry open my wallet.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Thanks for the tips, Bonnie. I'll keep them in mind for my next newsletter.

Linda Lovely said...

Thanks, Bonnie. Do you recommend one of the mail programs? I create newsletters for a nonprofit through Constant Contact. The emails arrive as "promotions" in my Google mailbox. I wonder if that makes them less likely to be opened. Does the same happen with all the mail programs like Mail Chimp?

Diana McCollum said...

I enjoyed your post! Newsletter is in the future for me. I'm going to check out your courses.

Maggie Lynch said...

Thank you for these thoughts, Bonnie. I agree 100% that you don't want to be selling all the time. The more you build a relationship with your readers, the more likely they are to WANT to buy your book or help push it in order to help you--a person they now like and trust.

Cathryn Cade had a good question and I'd love to hear your answer as well. For my part, I try to only be in promos where the other involved authors ARE related to my brand and genre. However, because I write across genres, I have to be careful because even my own readers don't want to read everything I write. My SF folks don't necessarily want to read my romances for example. Because of that I segment my list and only send promos to people in a segment that match that genre. My brand is the same across all genres so that's not a problem.

Anonymous said...

Hi cathryn! I only recommend sending promo material out to your list if it fits your brand AND is a great opportunity for your readers to win a good prize or one of your books or both. I'm not a huge fan of sending my readers to other places that require their email address to get my book free when they've already given me their email. Now I do book recommends with my readers but this is something we've done fir almost 2 years now - well before the newsletter swap started and more as a "what my readers are reading" type of thing. It's a fine line to watch your brand and offer info that doesn't pertain to it. Always protect your brand.

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Thank you so much for having me, Judith and Sarah! What a great site. I've been perusing the posts all weekend! Thank you! Thank you!

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Thank you Maeve! I agree! Thanks for commenting.

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

HI Lynn!
Thank you so much for stopping by. :)

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Hi Linda,
I like Mailerlite and Mailchimp. But there's more than just your provider that determines if your emails go to promotions or not - domain hosted email address, subject line sans spam words, hyperlinked links, and the list goes on. Most important thing, is that you ask your subscribers, or remind them, to whitelist your email address. This won't guarantee anything. A very successful way to get into their inbox consistently is to get them to reply to you. That way you're someone that engages them rather than someone who is trying to talk at them.

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Hi Diana,
Thanks for stopping by! Good luck with your list!

Bonnie R. Paulson said...

Hi Maggie,
I love that you utilize the segment portion of your mailing list provider's tools. Not many do. I have multiple lists myself and yes, it's definitely smart to watch what you do with each line.
I think sticking with the brand needs to be the first and foremost priority for any newsletter list host. I'm hardcore on that and whenever I'm asked to do a newsletter swap, that's the first thing I ask - what do they write and is their brand conducive to mine.
I obviously don't recommend my sweet romance readers check out my psychotic thrillers or vice versa. There's just too much of a difference there.
Thank you for your thoughts and your comments!