A friend on a writing list the other day let me know I was the #22 most viewed author on Smashwords.com (Thanks, Celia!) It took me by complete surprise.
Many authors, and I congratulate them for doing this, will regularly track sales and list numbers in many different places. I don’t. Honestly, I can’t imagine being organized enough to keep up with it. I’m not sure I’d even ever looked at the most viewed author list. *blush*
I wasn’t on the computer that day and so didn’t see it. By the next day, I was kicked off the top 25. Today I decided to go look again, just for kicks. What do you know?? I’m #25 today!
Here it is if you’re interested:
If you get there today, you’ll see me! Granted, I’m at the bottom of the list, but hey, I’m ON the list out of hundreds of SW authors. [And if you click on my name at the bottom of the list, maybe I can stay there a while! ;-) If I’m not still there, find me here: LK Hunsaker]
So anyway, of course I started to wonder HOW I got there. That’s the big question. My best guess is that I just sent out my newsletter to a list that grows a bit every time I announce it’s about to come out. I also encourage readers to forward it to friends.
I always suggest to authors that they should have a newsletter. They don’t need to be monthly, since they are a lot of work and we may not have that much to say every month (yes, authors can run out of things to say!). I’ve switched to sending mine quarterly, with an occasional special edition for breaking news or more likely for a free read story. If you don’t want to do one on your own, join up with a friend or two or three who write in your same genre. I figure not only is quarterly enough of my own time, but it’s also enough to ask of readers’ time. People are busy. Don’t deluge them!
What do you put in a newsletter?
News, of course. But also, think about what you would like to hear from your favorite authors and give that to your readers. My favorite author newsletter came from Sue Monk Kidd. She always begins with something somewhat personal: thoughts about things, description of where she is as she writes, inspirations. It allows the reader inside who she is just enough to make a connection. That’s what I try to do. Your books should reflect who you are. If your newsletter does, also, it will be a nice sell for your work. If it is nothing but promotion, it will be easily bypassed.
If you can find a mailing service that provides web hosted links for newsletters you send, it can be helpful, as well. I grab that link after I send one out and post it to my Facebook page. Since I have FB linked to Twitter and Twitter linked to my blog and my website, it also goes out to all of those places with one quick entry. You’ll also find the links to my archived newsletters (the most recent) here in the right-hand column under my newsletter sign up box.
The newest that has a link to a free read story on Smashwords: Jun 2010
We hear often that it’s impossible to tell which marketing attempts work and how well each work, but in the end, something works if you have good stories to tell and know how to tell them to hold your readers. From my recent results, I would say newsletters with links and free things for readers do work.
Do any of you authors have Newsletter tips? Please share!