Monday, August 5, 2013

Newsletters for Authors...Good or Bad?

Happy Monday, and Happy August! 

Summer is disappearing faster than my resistance to succumbing to a newfound Doctor Who obsession. (If you survived that cumbersome sentence, then I congratulate you.)

So today I wanted to talk about Newsletters. You know, those weekly/monthly messages you subscribe to (or didn't, but they come anyway...I'm talking about every single company with whom I've ever made an internet purchase. Yeah, you guys.) resulting in a colorful email that pops into your box and gives updates on stuff?

To tell you the truth, I'm a bit torn on them.

Here's the pros and cons, as I see them.

PROS:
  • Good for gathering lots of news updates in one format
  • Nice for those who don't regularly check your blog or twitter about news
  • Great for family/friends who don't do social media but do email
  • Sites like MailChimp make it easy to produce professional looking newsletters for free
  • Who really clicks on that NEWS link at the top of your blog/website?
  • If done the right way, the only people who subscribe are the ones who care to read it (as opposed to sending one to everyone on your personal email address list)
  • If they don't like it, they can easily remove themselves from the email list or trash it
CONS:
  • Who really reads newsletters, anyway? They just get deleted.
  • Few people will subscribe to them; social media overload is already bad enough
  • If people cared about what you were doing, they'd just check your FB/Twitter/Website
  • Another marketing thing to worry about
  • It takes time to put together (and I'm talking about an informative one that's worth looking over) even if it's made easier by newsletter sites
  • They take that whole author-as-salesperson thing a step too far.
I subscribe to several newsletters from authors I know. Some I read; some I don't. I'm torn, so in a fit of "I might as well do SOMETHING" I started collecting emails for a newsletter that I may or may not ever send. 


But honestly? I don't know if I'll ever use it. Because I would want them to have interesting content, with news that people cared about, and events that people might actually attend. Basically--I'd want to write a newsletter that was worth NOT trashing. 

So for now, I'll keep collecting emails. But be warned--you may never get a newsletter from me. Or worse--you might! 

What are your opinions on email newsletters? Good? Evil? Pixelated shades of gray?

23 comments:

Old Kitty said...

I don't mind receiving newsletters - it's like an even more leisurely type of read than blogger. It's also like a long email with bits of graphic and other things added! I like that!

I vote for happy pixelated shades of pink!

Take care
x

B.E. Sanderson said...

I look forward to some newsletters, and others I just browse through when they arrive. I figure as long as I actually signed up for them, then they aren't spam. And I wouldn't have signed up for them if I wasn't truly interested.

mooderino said...

I never read them, just don't have the time (or effort). Of course there might be one out there that has all the info I need, but not sure it's worth wading through all the others that don't.

mood

Louise Bates said...

I'm one of those weirdos who actually does click on the "news" tab on author websites, so I've always found newsletters to be a waste of email space ... but I suspect I'm in the minority on this.

(Also, I am trying (and failing) not to rub my hands in glee that you have gotten hooked on Doctor Who)

Natalie Aguirre said...

I do think they are a good way to share news especially if you only send them out once in awhile when there is really news to share. I think it will remind people of your book who don't regularly follow your blog. Because let's face it, people come and go on blogs and might not be reading blogs the day you share some special news. And like you said, they can always delete the newsletter if they don't want to read it. I usually do read mine.

Shelly said...

Shades of gray here. Some I read every word, others go straight to delete. However, I would read yours-

Shelly said...

I just did try signing up for your newsletter and it came up with an error. I'll try again later in the day~

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

I've been threatened by a non-newsletter!
I wouldn't know what to say in one. Although my blog posts are basically news so I could pull the best stuff together.

Claire M. Caterer said...

I must say, I've had fun putting together my newsletter, which I have vowed to send no more than 12x/year (notice that's not once a month, because sometimes there ain't much to say). But never mind that: Darling. Give in to the obsession. It's all good. :)

Claire M. Caterer said...

I must say, I've had fun putting together my newsletter, which I have vowed to send no more than 12x/year (notice that's not once a month, because sometimes there ain't much to say). But never mind that: Darling. Give in to the obsession. It's all good. :)

Dianne K. Salerni said...

I unsubscribe to every newsletter I get accidentally signed up for. And in the case of one writer whose feelings I don't want to hurt, I just delete her newsletters unread.

I have too many things landing in my email box already ...

But I can see from the comments above that not everybody feels that way! So it seems to be a valid means of communication for those who want it.

Katy Anders said...

I don't mind getting them.

I just so rarely read them.

I will see I have a newsletter, I will save it for later reading, and then next thing I know, the next one has arrived.

Of course, not everyone is like me. Thank God.

Barbara Watson said...

I don't subscribe to newsletters and take my email off the ones I do receive (like the Toyota ones I used to get because we purchased a Toyota). But, like anything, everyone has different opinions and a newsletter may reach some people that other media forms do not.

Elizabeth Varadan, Author said...

I actually do subscribe to a couple of newsletters, and I read them, mostly because they don't overwhelm me by coming too often. I have unsubscribed, too, when newsletters started arriving twice a week or so. Even once a week is a little too often for me.

Karen Lange said...

Yeah, I'm kinda torn about them too. I read some, and appreciate the info being in one place. Then I delete a lot too. Often I'm just too pressed for time and cannot get to them all. I think I could use an extra brain sometimes to process all the info I get in my inbox. :)

Angela Brown said...

I just subscribed to yours. I make no promises of reading it but I will at least give it a fair glance when it comes to my e-mail :-)

I think all the pros are more weightier when newsletters are done the right way. I just haven't got that all figured out yet. Let me know if you do.

Laura Pauling said...

Ones that are helpful I def. subscribe. Sometimes it turns out a bust and I unsubscribe. But I do subscribe to authors I enjoy so i can keep up on their new releases. Now supposedly, everyone on your email list runs out to purchase your books on the day of release but I don't think that's how it works for everyone. :)

But, hey, one more thing that authors are told we must have! :)

Stina Lindenblatt said...

I'm in the same situation, which means I've thought about it for a while. In my case, I'm only publishing them just prior to a book release. The ones that come frequently (with some exceptions) are annoying. Often I unsubscribe.

Leigh Covington said...

I can definitely see their benefits, but I don't usually have a lot of time to read them, so they get deleted. Every once in a great while I open one up though!

J E Oneil said...

I'm a bit anti-news letter. Is there really anything I can't read on their blogs? But you're right about them being good for those who don't regularly read blogs. I guess it's not for me, but maybe someone else.

Kelly Polark said...

I have to admit I'm usually not a newsletter reader. I feel I can get the author's info on FB or Twitter or blog. And I already get too many emails already, it's just one more...
I'm interested to know how effective they really are.

Elizabeth Seckman said...

I've been doing the newsletter debate also. I think I may because one pro is to inform faithful readers of a new book. I've had people ask me to email them and let them know when a book is out. So it will be a small list, but hopefully a dedicated group.

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