We talked about several ideas for what you could put in your newsletter, but maybe you’re not even sure you should start one. Especially if you aren’t published yet. Maybe you’re thinking that newsletters are only for published authors that already have big audiences.
They’re not. In fact, before you’re published is the best time to start your newsletter for three reasons.
1. Get a Jump Start on Building Your Audience
Let’s pretend you’re opening up a small shop to sell tea kettles. One day you’re busy working in your store, getting it ready to open to the public. The door opens and a man walks in.
“I was walking by and saw your shop. Do you sell tea kettles?”
“Not yet,” you say. “But I will be soon.”
“Soon? Do you know when?”
You hesitate. The tea kettle business is fickle and you don’t know when you’ll actually have product to sell. “I don’t have an exact date. I’m sorry. But it should be soon.”
“Well, I love the look of your shop and I’m interested in buying a tea kettle. Since I’m not in this area often, can you take my name and let me know when you are selling tea kettles so I can stop back?”
YOUR TWO OPTIONS:
“I’m sorry. I don’t have any way to write down or keep your name handy. You’ll just have to keep coming back to my shop, maybe multiple times, and one of those times I’ll be selling tea kettles.”
“Yes, I’d love to take your information. Please fill out your email address here and I’ll let you know the moment I start selling tea kettles.”
Even if you don’t have a book available for sale right now, there will be people that stop by your website that are interested in YOU. Some of those people may want to leave their email address with you so you can notify them when you do have a book available.
Are you going to turn them away because you don’t have a mailing list option on your website?
2. Get Comfortable With Your Newsletter Before You’re Famous
Sending out a newsletter isn’t a difficult process, but it can be stressful if you’re not sure what you’re doing. What do you say? How often do you send it? How will people respond to it? What if you make a mistake?
When you’re a published author and you have 5000 people on your mailing list, those fears are magnified.
But when you have five people on your list, those concerns are easily managed. You can experiment with content and frequency. You can answer replies from your readers without getting overwhelmed. You can try something new.
If you start with a small list, you’ll get familiar with the process and set up a routine for yourself. Then when you have 5000 subscribers, your newsletter will be easy to create and send. And not stressful.
3. Develop an Intimate Relationship with Your Readers
When you have a small mailing list, you can ask for feedback from your subscribers and personally answer each reply. You can get to know the people on your list and they can get to know you. Feeling that personal relationship with a writer is what prompts some readers to spread the word about that writer’s books.
Maintaining that kind of personal connection can be a lot tougher when you have a list of 5000 people. By starting now, you can develop relationships with people who will tell others about how awesome you are and, when you’re published, how awesome your books are.
You definitely need a newsletter after you’re published so you can keep readers informed about your releases, events and special promotions. But starting it before you’re published gives you a chance to get to know your readers and polish your newsletter before you’re famous.