In an earlier post all about author newsletters, we mentioned that you can grow your mailing list exponentially by doing a newsletter cross-promotion with other authors. So in this post we’re going to show you the whys and hows of that promotion. Let’s jump in.
Authors can do all kinds of things to grow their newsletter: giveaways, offering a free book, asking fans to sign up at Facebook parties, etc., but you have to remember that generic fans will sign up for the “freebie” or perk, then unsubscribe at the first chance (or simply disappear completely without ever interacting again). A high unsubscribe rate can mark you as SPAM and complicate sending your newsletter to the fans who do want to read your content. The author newsletter cross-promotion that we recommend cuts down the risk of that happening, and increases your odds of getting new subscribers that are quality ones who will enjoy your books and your brand.
So what is this crazy author newsletter promo? Well, it’s a group of authors in the same genre who put one of their books on sale for $0.99 on a particular day. On the day of the sale, all authors send the same newsletter out to their mailing lists. Not only does it get your $0.99 sale book in front of readers who LOVE your genre already, but within the newsletter you do a newsletter-only giveaway and fans can enter to win by subscribing to all the participating authors’ mailing lists. So depending on the authors you group with, and their fan bases, you can grow your newsletter by the hundreds or thousands. We should probably mention that the sales are nice, too.
So now that you know the what, here are five easy steps to running a successful newsletter promotion:
1. Make a list of 10-20 authors in your genre who are slightly bigger than you, meaning their fan base is equal to or exceeds your own. If you’re an Amazon bestseller, you might not be able to convince a New York Times Bestseller to join in since their mailing list should be 10x the size of yours and you don’t have a lot to offer in return (though we like to be optimistic, so try one or two and see!). However, you can certainly aim for other bestselling authors a little closer to your means. If you have USA Today or NYT friends who want to join you, then you’ll have a better chance reaching other big authors.
2. Once you have your list, make sure you research the authors enough to know that they do have a mailing list. You’d be surprised that some big authors don’t, so check their website and look for a “subscribe to my newsletter” type of function.
3. Craft a message letting the author know you’re getting a group of authors together who all write X (and that’s important; that you all write the same genre), and that this promotion will help them grow their mailing lists, get new readers, and hopefully some new sales from those new readers. Send out your message and establish your group of participating authors. Feel free to name drop if you do get well-known authors involved. Authors are busy, so if they join in to do a promo they want to know there is a pretty good ROI for them.
4. Have all participating authors email you their cover for the book they are going to be putting on sale during your promotion along with their buy links.
5. Create the newsletter so it includes all the covers with the buy links hyperlinked to the appropriate seller, along with the giveaway.* Using Rafflecopter is easy and often free, though we use KingSumo Giveaways when doing this for our author clients. Once satisfied with the newsletter, make an HTML copy and send it to all participating authors so that they can drop it into their email service and schedule to have it sent. Make sure everyone sends the newsletter out at the same specific time on the same specific date.
*Some authors will choose to pay completely for the giveaway prize (aka a Kindle Fire, Amazon gift card, whatever it is), but some will ask all authors participating to contribute $5-10 toward the prize. That part is up to you and what you’re comfortable with. In Rafflecopter you can link all authors’ newsletter links and in order to enter to win, readers will have to subscribe to earn an entry point.
You can also make a private Facebook group for participating authors to join and this gives you a central spot for questions and answers, however, keeping everything in an email chain works just as well.
Sound a little overwhelming? No worries! We can help you run your first one and we’ll work out any kinks together. We’ve helped many USA Today, New York Times, and award-winning authors execute this, and we’re here for you. Email us if you’re interested in learning more.