Updated: 17 August 2017
Earlier this year (2017) I started a newsletter to start reaching out to my regular readers. Although my growth has been steady, I’d like to try and improve it.
So with that in mind, I put together a little poll to see what subscribers of authors newsletters were looking for as far as content, and also what entices them to subscribe. So far I’ve had 65 people respond, but I’m looking for more. Here are the results so far, but I’ll keep updating them as I get more responses.
The first question I asked is what entices the reader to subscribe to the author’s newsletter to begin with. If you can’t get people to sign up to your newsletter, then it’s all kinda pointless. (Just so you know, respondents were able to pick more than one answer.)
So far 83.1% of the people who took the poll say they are most likely to sign up if they’ve already read the author’s work. This reinforces my belief that giving away the first book in your series (or a book or short story if you don’t have a series) is a good idea. Most people are not willing to risk their money on a new author, and you need them to sign up to your newsletter to sell more books.
The ideal promotional tool I’ve found so far is referred to as the funnel system. I give away my first book to everyone to find new readers, and I give away the second book to those who sign up to my newsletter to build my mailing list. I’ve found most of my new readers this way, which leads us to the next result…
56.9% have said they will sign up if the author is offering a freebie. So if you have your first book free and offer the second free to new subscribers, you’ve now increased your chances of getting a new signup (this is, of course, assuming they liked your first book and actually want to read the second). It’s really important to note that you shouldn’t offer a book that is already free to download. If they can already get it free, they’re not going to bother signing up for your newsletter. I’ve even known some authors who have written a short story or novella that fits with their current series but isn’t essential to the series, and they’ve made that a subscriber only exclusive.
Only about 24.6% of the people have said they would subscribe based on referrals from family and friends, but still… it’s always a good idea to get your readers to tell their family and friends (and social media followers) about your work. If you’re offering a permafree book, it could result in more downloads than you’ve expected. Of course, not everyone reads it who downloads it, but you never know where your next new fan is going to come from.
There were various things added to the others category:
- Reading the author’s newsletter
- Updates on interesting blog posts
- They provide valuable content
- How to’s and tips
- Visuals and a great blurb
- Depends on the genre
- Free sample chapters
- General interest
- Interest in the author’s struggles
- A preview of what’s in the newsletter in the email’s subject line
- Other authors
- Value that’s worth getting
- Usually from a how-to hook
The next question had to do with the content. I asked what they enjoyed reading in an author’s newsletter. (Again, they were able to choose more than one answer.)
76.9% said they want to hear about what the author is working on right now.
69.2% want to hear personal stories about the author.
63.1% want to hear about new releases by the author.
53.8% want to read articles about the author’s genre.
52.3% want subscriber only discounts and giveaways.
52.3% want to see writing, editing and marketing tips for authors.
47.7% want to have access to exclusive short stories and flash fiction.
44.6% want to see spotlights on other authors in their genre.
43.1% want to see genre related artwork and fan art
Some suggestions added to the other’s category so far:
- Sneaks peeks of their work.
- Spotlights on other authors their author loves.
- Only author related material.
- New releases by other authors
I think focusing on the top three or four things would be the best idea, and then maybe casually mentioning some of the others so that everyone is happy.
I’m looking for more responses to get a better overall view of what people are looking for (and I’m hoping this information will help other authors too). If you can help spread the word and share the poll form with your family and friends who love to read, that would be great!
Thanks for stopping by and happy reading!