Monday, February 23, 2015

Freely Give: How to Build Your Newsletter


By Jessica R. Patch


Hello, my name is Jessica Patch and I am unpublished author. This statement begs the question: How can I build a platform and grow a readership when I have nothing to offer? You may be unpublished and wrestling with the same question.

Facebook only lets so many people read your posts and with new changes, it’s going to become increasingly difficult to reach the people you’ve struggled to engage and bring on board.
I’m convinced the biggest way to ensure that readers receive your information is through the newsletter.

Over a year ago, I wrote a Christmas novella for fun. Just for me. I’d never written a novella before and they’re popular, so I knew at some point I would have to. Could I do it? Why not try it now when I have no deadlines? So I did.

Summer approached and the idea of building a newsletter continued to tug at me. That’s when I decided to give freely. I would give away the novella exclusively to newsletter subscribers.

This is what I did:

I found a cover designer. For a sweet Christmas novella, I didn’t need some big design and my budget wouldn’t allow it. For $40, I bought a premade cover from James at GoOnWrite. (If you use him, tell him I sent you!) He was great and I had my cover in 48 hours.

I learned how to convert my manuscript into a mobi file (Kindle compatible). This took some time. It’s overwhelming if you know nothing and aren’t tech savvy like myself. I formatted my manuscript according to the freeSmashwords Style Guide. I used calibre free software to convert the manuscript into the right file, and I created a PDF version for readers who might not have a Kindle or any Kindle apps.

I set up a newsletter in Mail Chimp. Mail Chimp is easy, but it does require some reading and watching tutorials to create links and automation. Take time to prepare and plan for glitches.

I created a fun Pinterest board and found creative ways to share the book without annoying Facebook friends every day with, “Hey, come get my book. I wrote a book. Download my book.”

The benefits of freely giving are:
    
    Readers have the chance to finally read your work, experience your voice and become part of your future audience.
     
  Readers feel like they’re in on something no one else is, and they are! If they could download it on Amazon or other book sites, why subscribe? It builds your newsletter list so you can make sure that each reader receives important book information later on. (My newsletter grew 6 times larger in one month than trying to promote it without an exclusive offer.)

Whether you’re an unpublished author or an established author, a newsletter is important to reach your readers. I highly recommend freely giving!
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Jessica R. Patch writes inspirational romantic suspense and contemporary romance. A passion to draw women into intimacy with God keeps her motivated, along with ice-cold Perrier and adventurous trips in the name of research. When she’s not hunched over her laptop or teaching the new & growing believer's class at her church, you can find her sneaking off to movies with her husband, embarrassing her daughter in unique ways, dominating her son at board games, and collecting recipes to wonderful dishes she'll probably never cook. Her book is titled Hope Under The Mistletoe. She is represented by Rachel Kent of Books & Such Literary Managemen Subscribe to the Patched In and receive Jessica’s novella for FREE! Connect with Jessica on Facebook, and remember to hover over the “liked” button and click on “Get Notifications” so you’ll be sure to see all her updates! If you’re on Twitter, feel free to follow and engage in conversation at @jessicarpatch.

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