Friday, October 5, 2012

Reaching Readers

What happened to the days of authors making sure to have a mailing list, email sign-in sheet (on a clipboard with an ink pen) for readers to write down their name and email address so we could reach them to send them updates on our next titles? The good old email newsletter. Are most authors still doing that, constantly adding to our email contact list, or are we reaching readers by way of social media, or both?

I have a lot of email addresses that I’ve collected through the years, and I send out Constant Contact announcements when I have news to share, bit a lot of the emails bounce back and some are never even opened. Perhaps we post on our FB or Twitter pages, or create Pinterest or Instagram accounts to showcase our titles and let readers know about what’s available, though we don’t want to bombard our online friends (fan page or not) – surely at times it can seem like constant advertisements.

Back to the age-old question of how we can reach readers so that we can get the word-of-mouth momentum going. Radio is great when you can get it, T.V. is great when you can get it, and attending events is always good, though it seems that recently with ebooks, many readers seem to opt-out of coming out, or at least it can seem that way. Even some very well known authors have commented on that recently, that they aren’t touring for a while because the turnout is so low. Readers who enjoy the convenience of ebooks aren’t buying as many print books, but some authors say this is not the case and they’re selling just as many printed books – that readers want and enjoy the feel of the printed pages, and that they will spend the $20 plus for whichever book they really want to read.

So as usual, times are changing and that’s always a great thing - though reaching readers remains one of our many goals. I’d like to know what you think is the best way to reach out. Maybe we can all come together and try some of the shared suggestions, or we can once again go back to bringing that email list clipboard or email cards, or have them sign our new-school iPad list FB address list (since we don’t use as much paper these days). Whichever works for you, please share. After all, we’re all in this thing together; thus, NovelSpaces thankfully exists.

Write on!


Liane Spicer said...

I opened a MailChimp account when I started Wordtryst Press but haven't sent out a single newsletter to date (although the press now has 5 publications). I introduced one of the authors to MailChimp and he has sent out letters about his three stories. (He tells me that he loves MC).

My problem is that most newsletters I receive go straight to trash - not because I'm not interested but because I don't have the time to read every piece of commercial mail I get - so I assume the same will happen to any I send out. People are being bombarded by this kind of stuff so I'm surprised that ANY get opened. I also hate the idea of being perceived as a spammer - I got that response from a former Novel Spaces guest when I sent a letter to all past guests some time ago inviting them to guest blog with us again.

I've managed to avoid signings and turned down a local TV interview - I'm kind of shy that way. So the occasional tweet and FB interaction is where I'm at. Bad, huh.

Graeme K Talboys said...

The person who cracks this problem of how to put product in front of people who actually want to buy without annoying anyone in the process will become very wealthy. Like a lot of authors, I am shy and, as an added problem, I'm disabled, so the whole getting out and doing signings, readings, and other promotional work is out. When you add that to the fact that many publishers now do as little marketing as possible for most of their titles, we are left with the problem of promotion (for which very few of us are trained). Those people I have reached via email, Facebook and various forums have all been very supportive, but I always try ot keep promotion to a minimum, because these people are friends. It's a difficult juggling act which I think a lot of authors struggle with.

Jewel Amethyst said...

How about having a mailing list where the readers subscribe to the free newsletter? That way, since they are subscribing, it should not end up in the junk mail box.

I subscribed to Shades of Romance newsletter sometime back and I enjoyed getting their first pages. From there I actually bought several books because the first pages got me hooked and I had to read the rest of the book.

Lynn Emery said...

I have a Mail Chimp newsletter that is subscribe only, so people don't get it unless they sign up. It's small, but I know that they're getting it because they chose to. That's a big difference.I have the sign-up sheet on my website and my Facebook author page. I just read some great advice on author newsletters. I'd forgotten - since I had a newsletter page on my old website. People who read it loved that I had articles on topics other than my books. I'd talk about movies, charities I supported, historical facts related to my books or just history that interested me. So that made people not feel like I was selling to them all the time. I slapped my forehead and said, "Of course!" I used to do that routinely. I was dreading the newsletter thing, because there is just so many times you can talk about your books.

bettye griffin said...

I also do a subscribe-only newsletter, and I send out rare communications, generally only to let people know I have a new title out.

Marissa Monteilh said...

LOL, Liane, FB and Twitter are great, and I find they do work as far as informing readers about our releases. Graeme, yes it is a juggling act, thanks for your feedback. Jewel and Lynn and Bettye, I will look into a newsletter where readers can subscribe on their own and update them from there, great tip. Thanks all!!!