Newsletter Mania~Do You Have One?

Written By: Jackie Weger - Aug• 05•16

Indie authors are in manic mode to gather subscribers and generate newsletters…

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IMO, that is not a bad thing. From the moment  we step into the indie author arena we are told to have a newsletter. Marketing experts and gurus insist that for success a newsletter is the single top-ranked item one needs in an indie marketing toolbox. I’m convinced. But here is what the experts don’t tell you:

  • Divide your subscribers into two or more audiences. The value of this explained below.
  • Stagger your newsletter delivery by time and days to discover the best window of acceptance and open rates.
  • Critical! Every mention of a title and every cover must be live-linked to a buy page.
  • Review the Performance of every live-link in the newsletter for unique clicks. Unique clicks tell you destination hits and number of
    Count The Roses Final MEDIUM

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  • Cleanse your subscriber lists at least twice a year.  Decide parameters i.e. Move subscribers who have not opened perhaps 3 of  the last 5 newsletters into a separate Outlier audience.  Design or edit a cloned/copy  newsletter for this group. If two or more newsletters go unopened, drop the subscriber.
  • Third party generated newsletters must abide by Gmail’s DMARC. Now also extended to Yahoo and AOL. You don’t have to understand DMARC. You just have to abide by the rule. Mad Mimi and MailChimp are third party. I used GoDaddy for my domain name and email address:
  • Tell your subscribers in the first module/paragraph about how often to expect your newsletter.
  • Insert the Unsubscribe link in the first module/paragraph to avoid having your newsletter ticked as Spam.
  • If you have something really hot or a special event to promote between scheduled newsletters, label it: Special  Edition.
  • Do This: Once emailed to your subscribers, grab the newsletter share link/url, tweet it, post it on Facebook and Google+ so non-subscribers can read it online. I sometimes have a secret Rafflecopter for my subscribers in my newsletter. I delete that from the clone that I share publicly.

Are you with me so far? Okay. Why divide your subscribers into two or more audiences? I do it because I want to stagger book buys and downloads to generate a slow climb up the the Amazon bestseller stats in my genre or work towards landing a book in TOP 100 FREE. I’m using my newsletter to bracket promotions on other sales venues such as Bookbub, eBookDaily, ENT, eBook Betty,  Digital Book Today or booktastik.  By scheduling the newsletter on successive days at different times, I can evaluate acceptance, open, viewed and unique click performance.  I’ve discovered Saturday evening delivery is less than stellar. Open and click through rates sink to China. Not doing that time frame again. Sunday evening is only a little less awful.

Mad Mimi shows performance for every live link in a newsletter including the percentage and actual number of unique clicks on book covers, book titles, plus words and phrases such as: On Amazon,  Amazon Exclusive and 99c for a limited time. From my very first newsletter issued January 2014, I’ve promoted my colleague’s books across most genres when FREE or discounted.  I ask around who has a new release or a book on sale for the dates I’ve scheduled Accent on Romance. I share with my subscribers Rafflecopters and Giveaways. My newsletter is workplace and family friendly. I don’t promote erotica. All of my newsletters are readercentric, offering value to the subscriber. Not saying it’s perfect, but I try.

Sharing this: Over the past few months I’ve subscribed to dozens of author newsletters. A very few are dead on. Some are epic fails. No live links on covers or book titles. Or no links to a book buy page at all. A few feature the same 500 word author bio that reads like a jobs resume in every newsletter. A few are filled with badly formatted book excerpts in desperate need of editorial input and proofreading. Many are rife with misspelled words and book descriptions that read like a sixth grade book report. Telling you this: You might consider your newsletter subscribers as guests in your home. You’re inviting them, you neaten your house, you say welcome at the front door, you offer refreshment. If you want them to return, you must nurture the relationship. Get this: Many newsletters do not even introduce the author. Nope. Unless I look at the name on the book cover, I don’t have a clue about whose newsletter I’m reading. Your newsletter is introducing your craft, talent and product to readers–many for the first time. It is not a grocery list. 

You get one chance to lose a subscriber and zero chances to recapture the subscriber once lost.

Here is another way to look at it: How utterly arrogant is it of us to present a flawed and sloppy newsletter to a prospective book buyer and expect that reader to snap up our books FREE or Paid? Or to follow us on Twitter? Like us on Facebook?  Enter our Giveaways? To see an example of a recent issue of Accent on Romance Newsletter click HERE. It is a work in progress, but all together the three audience editions moved above 1000 books, FREE/Paid/Borrowed. The same number + of subscribers entered the Rafflecopter. No fewer than 40 subscribers visited eNovel Author pages.

I’m just about done. Asking you: This blog is full of live links that will give you more information and data you can use–if you will. Do you click on the links? Smart you if you do.

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I’m Jackie Weger, Founder of eNovel Authors at Work. Our members have astonishing talents inside and out of indie authorship. They’ve produced not less than 500 well-written books to entertain you across many genres. Check ’em out. @JackieWeger 2016. Comments always welcome. Add to the discussion.



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  1. Mary D. Brooks says:

    Excellent points. Link to everything you can and make it easy for the reader to follow. Pretty simple but with the 1000 things authors are supposed to master, some things just fall through the cracks.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      I hear you, Mary Dee. The nice thing about being in charge of your own book life is you don’t have to do a damned thing, or follow a suggestion. Do it your way. Spit it the cracks. Who cares? Nobody–if you don’t. I always say author choice. I’m not a best selling author. I don’t want a book sale to be one of the things that falls through the cracks. My books have to pay for every facet of themselves plus fund eNovel. I fail at mastering Goodreads, Instagram, Facebook Ads. My choice and yours, of which sales channel we prefer to master. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  2. KJD says:

    Excellent information, thanks Jackie.
    I’m off to modify my newsletter right now.

  3. Amy says:

    Don’t be boring! Think about all the spam you get and make sure what you end out holds some charm for your audience. Sending out other authors’ promotions is a great idea, Jackie. Letting other people know about free stuff is value added to them.

  4. Rosie Dean says:

    Jackie, you are the voice in my head, urging me to get my act together.
    All sound sense, as ever.
    Once my fourth book is out, like – next week, I’ll address my website and blog.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Rosie Dean: You’ve been keeping your new release under wraps! Looking forward to reading it. Please tell me you have this gem right after THE END:
      “Thank you for taking the time to read [title]. If you enjoyed it, please consider telling your friends or posting a short review. Word of mouth is an author’s best friend and much appreciated. Thank you, again. [author name].” P.S. Your blog and webpage need to be in pristine order for when your book hits the stands and starts getting traffic–NOT AFTER. Just sayin’…

  5. I’m following your advice in my newsletters.

  6. David Wind says:

    Great info Jackie, not just for Indie writers but everyone. dding inducement always helps to build a list and to keep those who buy our books.

  7. Bookmarking this – I’m in the middle of trying to get a newsletter going and will be needing this information – thank you!

  8. Annie Daylon says:

    Great tips, Jackie. I appreciate this and will apply. 🙂

  9. Julie Frayn says:

    Bookmarking for later use. I have no newsletter. How long does it take one the get their shit together after a devastating year? Too long, that’s how long… 🙁 I love that ready made tweet link. Good and visible, no searching the page for sharing links. Some pages hide them. Not you… nice.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      I’m right there with you, Julie Frayn. Writers have sad dips in their lives, just like the rest of humanity. We step back from the brinks of those dark holes one baby step at a time. I know this much about you: Come Camp Nano WriMo this year you will jump in with both feet and next year we will be in awe of your new book. Talent prevails–even when it has to lie dormant in a dusty corner of our lives for months or years on end.

  10. Donna Fasano says:

    Bravo, Jackie! As usual, you’ve offered great information!

  11. P.C. Zick says:

    Excellent advice, and yes, I do click and did click today! It drives me crazy when I go to an author’s site and they don’t have links (yes, on their website!), and a newsletter is crucial as well. Why else send it? Thanks!

  12. Terrific post! And I love the idea of labeling an unscheduled mailing as Special Edition. I use Mailchimp and I’ve had a little poke around the various pages and options. I’m still learning but so far haven’t seen that there’s a way to know who hasn’t clicked at all… I’ll have to look into it again. I certainly keep track of the hard bounces. I think people start to give email time at their leisure in the beginning of the weekend. I tend to send newsletters on Thursdays and Fridays for this reason. For this same reason I also run all my promos to start around then and finish on a Sunday or Monday. I believe this is the time everyone’s online and I want to reap the benefit to the max 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Effrosyni: Sharing this: You may be surprised at what you believe to be the case and actuality of newsletter audience behavior. Our audiences may and do differ in behavior, which is why tracking performance is key. I see fewer KENP pages read on Saturdays–which tells me my audience is busy with tasks in their own lives. My KENP pages read often soar on Sundays–my audience is relaxing and reading, not buying books, not cruising Amazon in any great numbers for their next read. Your audience may differ.

      • Very interesting! I’m sure people relax on the weekends and read more, and FB is crawling with people on the weekend. Admittedly, I don’t know much about newsletters though. Hoping to learn. I’m only now starting really. You’re light years ahead of me on that 🙂

  13. RP Dahlke says:

    FAN Tastic information!

  14. Aaron from the Mad Mimi support team here. Amazing post, Jackie! That’s great advice about DMARC, too—it’s really come into full-swing for major inbox providers this year. Getting set up with a custom domain is the best long-term way to make sure you’ll maintain top-notch inbox delivery. If you dig around, there are lots of great ways to obtain an email address like that, and in some cases it’s free to do so.

    For those interested in email marketing, our support team at Mad Mimi is unconditionally 24/7 (whether you email or Happy to help answer questions about email marketing in general, whether or not you’re interested in Mimi. The platform is available worldwide, and our team is located all over the world, too (hence, 24/7).

    Thanks again, Jackie, for an awesomely informative post and for being one of our Mad Mimi power-users 🙂

    • Jackie Weger says:


      Hey, Aaron! You are one of my all time fav techs on Mad Mimi. You are so patient. I’m thrilled to know Mad Mimi is global. Well, golly. I’m a power-user? Huzzah! That ought to give me some cachet and perhaps a wee bit of credibility…laffin’. I do see in author forums that there are free domains. Mine is custom via GoDaddy, Mad Mimi’s parent company. I’d rather pay for a service I’m certain of–than engage a free, which may have a hidden thread dangling and one never knows when we accidentally yank it and find a lot of hard work unraveled. Thanks so much for visiting eNovel and commenting.

  15. Betty says:

    Jackie, first of all thank you for mentioning the eBookBetty newsletter in this post. It is truly appreciated.

    I see most of the comments are geared toward the issue of timing (when to send a newsletter), and I believe I can shed a little more light around consumer behavior and why weekends are (generally) the worst time to try and connect.

    – People are active on the weekend. They’re not at work, they’re not sitting still.
    – People are at work Mon-Fri. And that means they’re exactly where they wish they weren’t. By 10 or 11am, especially on Monday and Tuesday, they’re looking for an escape mechanism.
    – The evening (after 6pm) is spent with family or friends. Social interaction time.
    – The late evening is when most people do their reading. They don’t want to shop, they want to unwind and read the book they lined up during those dismal hours at work.

    We monkeyed with delivery times a lot in the beginning. 10am was the best by more than 9% (11am being second best). We use the “Timewarp” feature in Mailchimp (see what I did there… “monkeyed”… “Mailchimp”… yep, I’m THAT good) which allows you to send your message at the same time no matter what time zone the recipient is in, which also bumped our click throughs significantly.

    Newsletters (in my opinion) will always be the absolute best marketing tool for any author, especially if it is their own personal newsletter. If you’re using a double opt-in service (like Mailchimp, GetResponse, or AWeber) your subscribers had to go through a process to be on your list at all, and that means they’re already interested in what you have to offer.

    Great post, Jackie.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Wow! Thank you, Betty for awesome tips and facts. I learned something from you about Timewarp. Gonna check that out. Global times have always defeated me. And in eNovel we have members living across more than ten time zones. Our subscribers as well. Talk about adding to the discussion! You nailed it.

    • Such awesome insights! Thank you Betty. Hopefully that Timewarp feature comes with a free Mailchimp account, which is what I have. Will definitely look for that. I’d never have imagined any time in the morning after 9:00 to be an optimal time. Will have to remember that! I am in Greece so that would be late afternoon and I’ve already sent out a newsletter at that time more than once. Yipee. Thanks again!

  16. Mary Smith says:

    Great info, Jackie. As you know I’m getting ready to send my first newsletter out (though NOT over the weekend)so I’m grateful for all hints and tips which will help me create something interesting for readers. I’m using MailChimp so will be looking at the Timewarp feature. Every time I think I’ve sussed out time zones I get it wrong.
    Thanks again.

  17. Dale Furse says:

    Great article and comments. I have to work my newsletters better. So much to take in but will bookmark so I can keep coming back. And I hope I see more informative comments. Every little bit helps. 🙂

  18. EM Kaplan says:

    I’m using this as my checklist! I need a better greeting/bio, to fix my return address (with help from my live-in guru/keeper, and to be more charming. Lol.

  19. Mimi Barbour says:

    Thanks for the information, Jackie. I like to write to my subscribers as if I’m writing to friends and I love that many of them answer me.

  20. Great info here. Thanks Jackie and everyone who’s contributed. Great idea adding special edition and we’re going to check out the Timewarp thing as that sounds perfect! Really trying to build up our list now and Amy Vansant’s AuthorsXP has been terrific for this.

  21. Thank you for setting out the guidance clearly. Most of it is common sense but we easily overlook it in our eagerness to send out the emails. I have not yet tried separating out my subscribers so will have to do that at some point soon.

    • Jackie Weger says:

      Hello, Catherine: Thank you for your comment and stopping by. I love having a newsletter. It is a great tool for authors as long as won’t forget to offer value and nurture our subscribers. If you use a newsletter service such as Mad Mimi, their techs can help you with your audience. Best to you and yours from Jackie Weger

  22. […] the job done and is respectful of my subscribers. To read earlier blogs on newsletters go here and here. Some good tips in those […]

  23. Thanks for the great tips Jackie!!

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