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How To Start a Newsletter For Your Web Site.
by Dan Case

You are a writer. You have a web site. Right?

One of the things you will want to do is to capture everyone’s email address that visits your site. That way, you can let the thousands (okay, hundreds) of fans know about your latest novel, or short story, or article. Does anyone remember when you had to pull out your address book and fill in all those postcards and lick all those stamps? In the electronic age, we are fortunate to have email… no more stamp licking for this kid!

In case you didn’t know, you CAN capture email addresses if people are willing to give them to you. THAT is the trick. There are many ways to entice people to "sign up" for things, but the best way I think is to have your own email newsletter. In order to receive the newsletter, people have to provide you with their email address.

What do I put in my newsletter?

Your newsletter is a marketing tool. Hand-in-hand with your web site, a newsletter is one of the most inexpensive ways to "get the word out."

Your newsletter should contain what your subscribers expect. Sounds simple… right? People will subscribe to your newsletter because they want to know about YOU or because you have promised to provide some type of information to them on a regular or periodic basis.

You should be consistent in providing what your readers expect. If you include a tidbit of information about the Regency period in England, then do so in each newsletter.

Here’s a list of some things you can put in your newsletter.

New book releases

Book signings

Awards

Upcoming published articles

Personal appearances

For many writers, this is enough. However, for some of you not-so-well-know authors, something extra can help get the word out AND attract new readers.

I help two writers with their web sites and newsletters.

Peggy Fielding ( http://www.peggyfielding.com) sends a newsletter out each month with information about her latest books and speaking engagements. She also includes many personal experiences--her fans love to hear about her latest near-miss in the romance department. Peggy also frequently runs contests in her newsletter. Recently, she gave away copies of her books to people who guessed when she would get an upcoming manuscript delivered to her editor. Peggy also serialized one of her books to her subscribers. You can see archives of her newsletters at her web site.

Charles "Chuck" Sasser (http://www.charlessasser.com ) just recently started his newsletter. His publishers are thrilled that he is finally doing this. Chuck’s fans know that he is an avid conservative. Besides the new book announcements and book signings, each month Chuck is including an example of why he thinks America is going bonkers from political correctness. You can see archives of Chuck’s newsletter when you sign up at his web site. I’ve included Chuck’s latest newsletter after the "markets" section below.

Okay, you’ve written your newsletter, now how do you send it out to all those thousands?

I know one writer who just puts all those email address in the "to" line of her email and presses send. The problem with this is that everyone who receives an email will also receive all the email address of everyone else. Most folks don’t want you to give out their email address, they get enough SPAM as it is.

To send out your newsletter you need to use a newsletter service. This way you just need to send your newsletter to one address (one the service provides you) and they will take care of mailing it out to your subscriber list.

I won’t go into detail about how this all works here. But I will direct you to some newsletter service providers. Each of their web sites have detailed instructions for using their service.

Peggy and Chuck use Topica. (www.topica.com) Their service is free if you include some advertising otherwise there is a fee.

If you have a small list (less than 999) you can use Ezine Manager for free. (www.ezinemanager.com) When your subscriber list gets larger they start charging according to the number of emails you send out each month.

Your Mailing List Provider (www.yourmailinglistprovider.com) is another provider that has both a free and a premium service.

Adding a newsletter to your site can make a big difference to your bottom line. Just ask horror author Douglas Clegg (www.douglasclegg.com) who after a year of doing his newsletter saw his novel sales climb from the 10s of thousands to 100s of thousands.

© Copyright 2003, Dan Case

Dan Case is the editor of Writing for DOLLARS! the free ezine for writers, featuring tips, tricks and ideas for selling what you write. You can receive a free ebook, 83 Ways To Make Money Writing when you subscribe. http://www.writingfordollars.com

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