While this is blatant self promotion, I'm posting it on my blog to show newbies how to write an effective newsletter. And so far, this one has proven effective.
1. Join http://www.ymlp.com and place an opt in/opt out box on your website to build a mailing list. It's reasonably priced, easy, and does everything for you.
2. Make sure your newsletter is about what you have to offer, not what you have to sell. Like a website, it should impart information and entertainment. Yes, you should mention your latest projects. But contests and freebies also make it viral, causing your recipients to share it with others.
3. Make it brief. Get to the high points, and get out. The fewer newsletters you do per year, the longer you can be, but try to make it readable in under three minutes. I do two or three newsletters a year, and I think that's plenty. Also be gracious, and if possible, funny.
4. Send it during business hours on a weekday. Many people have computers at work, and welcome a mini break. Also make sure you're at your computer when you send it, so you can respond to the barrage of replies you receive.
5. Make sure it contains links, then track those links to monitor your effectiveness. After you read the newsletter, I'll post at the bottom what worked for me.
Straight Up - The Official Newsletter of Author J.A. Konrath/Jack Kilborn
In this issue:
--Jack Daniels News
You're on this mailing list because you love books. I love them, too. This email is my way of reaching out to readers, librarians, bookstore employees, and fellow authors, in order to give you free stuff. If you want to be taken off this list, you can opt out using the link at the bottom. If you've asked to be removed from this newsletter and haven't been, I apologize. If you've signed up for this newsletter and haven't received it, you probably aren't reading this, but I apologize anyway.
Now let's get to the fun stuff:
For those who haven't been paying attention, I wrote a horror novel under the pen name Jack Kilborn. The book is called AFRAID. It's coming out next month, in paperback and audio. Here's the basic premise:
ARE YOU AFRAID OF THE DARK? YOU WILL BE...
Welcome to Safe Haven, Wisconsin. Miles from everything, with one road in and out, this peaceful town has never needed a full-time police force. Until now...
A helicopter has crashed near Safe Haven and unleashed something horrifying. Now this merciless force is about to do what it does best. Isolate. Terrorize. Annihilate. As residents begin dying in a storm of gory violence, Safe Haven's only chance for survival will rest with an aging county sheriff, a firefighter, and a single mom. And each will have this harrowing thought: Maybe death hasn't come to their town by accident...
You can read more about it, and play the AFRAID Flash game, at http://www.JackKilborn.com .
AFRAID is being released March 31, but my savvy publisher, Grand Central, is giving 50 of my fans (that's you) a chance to get the book for free.
Yes, I said free. A real, honest to goodness book, at zero cost.
How do you get one?
In case you haven't noticed (and you should considering you're reading this via email) the Internet has become a wonderful marketing tool for authors.
So if you want to get a free paperback copy of AFRAID, I'd like you to use the Internet to help spread the word about it.
We're looking for fifty bloggers to post their reviews of AFRAID. These reviews must be at least 75 words long. It's even okay if you post a negative review about how violent and bloody the book is--I'm fine with that, as long as you hit that 75 word mark.
Along with the blog review, I'd like you to post your review at least one other place on the Internet. Some of the obvious choices are Goodreads.com, Shelfari.com, Booksnbytes.com, Amazon.com, Borders.com, BN.com, Librarything.com, Booksamillion.com, Yahoo groups, DorothyL.com, etc.
How do you enter?
1. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with the heading SCARE ME!
2. Include your snail mail address, the URL to the blog where you'll post the review, and tell me which review websites you'll post on. It will help your chances if you to promise to post on several sites.
3. Tell me how much you love me. I dig it when people suck up. It makes me feel like Brando in Apocalypse Now.
That's all. Fifty people who follow those easy instructions will get free books. Perhaps even more than fifty, if the response is overwhelming.
How cool is that?
--JACK DANIELS NEWS
The sixth Jack Daniels thriller, CHERRY BOMB, will be out in hardcover and on audio on July 7. The cheap paperback version of the fifth Jack Daniels novel, FUZZY NAVEL, will be out a few weeks prior to that. But you should have already purchased that in hardcover, you cheapskate.
If you need a Jack Daniels fix right now, you have some options.
MISSING, an anthology edited by Amy Alessio for Echelon Books, features a Jack Daniels novella co-written with Henry Perez, author of the soon-to-be-released thriller KILLING RED. In our story, FLOATERS, Jack tag teams with Henry's character, Chicago newspaper reporter Alex Chapa. Visit http://www.henryperezbooks.com/HP_STORIES.html to read about it and find out how to get it. The profits are going to charity, so buy fifty copies and then write it off on your taxes.
SHOT OF TEQUILA, an unpublished crime novel by me that takes place in 1993 and co-stars a very young Jack Daniels, is now available as an ebook download on my website. Visit http://www.jakonrath.com/tequila.htm for the secret details.
LIKE A CHINESE TATTOO by Bill Breedlove, an anthology which features Jack's ex-partner, Harry McGlade, in a novella called THE NECRO FILES. It's waaaaay over-the-top, and probably shouldn't be read by anybody. Jack is in it, too.
In July, Bleak House Books will release UNCAGE ME, edited by Jen Jordan. It also features Harry McGlade, in a short called SCHOOL DAZE.
There's nothing yet to report on the Jack Daniels movie. We may be having trouble selling it because I'm demanding to play Jack. I also insist on directing, editing, and composing the score, which I'm doing entirely on xylophone. If you're interested in buying the rights, contact my agent.
On my forum http://www.jakonrath.com/phpBB3/ I'm holding a bad poetry contest. Sign up and post your drek. The winner gets a gazillion trillion dollars, or a free signed book, my choice. Contest ends on March 8.
I'll be cruising around Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan, signing copies of AFRAID this April. Watch my website for where and when.
For you rabid fans who insist on buying everything with a Konrath story in it (hi Mom), here are two of the latest publications:
WOLFSBANE & MISTLETOE by Charlaine Harris and Toni L. P. Kelner, featuring my werewolf novella SA, which may be the funniest thing I've ever written.
BLOOD LITE by Kevin J. Anderson, featuring a story I wrote with F. Paul Wilson called THE SOUND OF BLUNDER, which may also be the funniest thing I've ever written.
Free stuff is cool. A few times a year I have a random drawing for free J.A. Konrath merchandise, and everyone on my mailing list is eligible. Three newsletter subscribers have been randomly picked to receive some cool gifts.
The lucky winners this time are:
Email me to get your swag. And keep an eye on JAKonrath.com for updates and news.
See you on the road!
In a nutshell, pretty much everything I wanted to work, worked. My Amazon numbers of all my books, including the anthos, spiked.
I got triple my average daily hits on my websites.
I got more than fifty people who want to blog about AFRAID in exchange for a free book (and more keep coming--feel free to send me an email if you're interested.)
I sold more copies of SHOT OF TEQUILA, and Sheila is very close to being saved.
A newsletter is one more weapon in your self-promotion arsenal. Use it wisely, and it can be an effective one.