Thursday, May 20, 2021

Newsletters: What the hell do I put in this thing? A listicle.

Hello, gorgeous people. It has been absolutely, breathtakingly beautiful in the Poconos these past few days, so I hope the sun is shining down on you too. Today, I am going to share my ideas on what to put in author newsletters. Because let's face it, content is hard.

For indie authors who publish frequently, their newsletter content is fairly easy to come by: a cover reveal, an excerpt, a sale, a new release--all of that will make up the bulk of their newsletter. But what about the traditional author with a once-a-year-release? Or the author who hasn't released anything in a while? Who doesn't have book news or cover art to share? What should they put in their newsletter to keep their readership engaged while they are waiting to sell a book or announce a deal?

Here are some ideas. Use them in good health.


  1. Other authors' books. Did you read a great crime thriller? Tell your list. Did your talented friend publish a new book last week? Tell your list. Did your agency sister get a book deal? Tell your list. Is a book you championed on sale this week? Tell your list.
  2. Photos of your personal stuff--your desk, office, garden, antique cuckoo clock--share the things that relax and inspire you. 
  3. Mood boards. Are you working on a secret project? Maybe you don't want to share the deets, but you could share a mood board. 
  4. Also create a fantasy cast list of characters for that secret project and share it. 
  5. Your book research. Did you dig up an interesting tidbit about 1750s France for a novel? Or a weird way to poison someone? Share it.
  6. Tell a funny story. You're a writer, you can make an awkward encounter at the mailbox interesting. 
  7. Recipes--do you mention interesting dishes in your books? Did you cook something delicious? Did you make your 80th sourdough? Did you invent a new cocktail. Share it.
  8. A lot of authors subscribe to newsletters so consider sharing your writing process. I personally like seeing photos of a computer screen with a half-sentence and the cheek of a forlorn author pressed to the keyboard--it makes me feel seen. Also people really want to know how the sausage is made.
  9. Also consider sharing the odds and ends that help your process. Fancy notebooks, pens, and stickers and where you buy them. An antique typewriter. Pink highlighters. Whatever works.
  10. Writing advice: if you suddenly learned the secret to efficiency, share it! If you figured a better way to plot, share it. If you started using new software, share it.
  11. Your local indie bookstore. Take pics and share them. 
  12. With that said--the library. Snap photos of your books in the library. You're in the library! It's cool.
  13. Movie, streaming, and podcast recommendations. I do this all the time. Did you listen to a cool true crime podcast? Tell your readers. Did you binge watch a new science fiction show? Tell your readers. Did you rewatch a little-known indie film from the 90s that still holds up? Tell your readers.
  14. Make-up/clothing recommendations. My favorite author shared a lipstick recommendation and I was all about it. She also shared these dope hats she wears. The woman has style, and I know her fans want to hear about it.
  15. A Q&A: do you get any interesting reader questions? Compile them into a Q&A for exclusive content.
  16. Flash fiction between two beloved characters.
  17. Reader reviews. Did your book get an awesome new review on Amazon or Goodreads? Share it. 
  18. News related to your genre. If you write romance, link to a new celebrity couple (Bennifer!). If you write science fiction, link to news articles about space (60 Minutes just aired a piece about UFOs-swear to God). I personally enjoy telling my readers about cold cases that have recently been solved. But you do you.
  19. Memes and jokes--people like them. 
  20. Inspirational quotes. Make it pretty and shareable using Canva.
  21. Imitation is flattery and all that. Copy your favorite authors. What do your favorite authors include in their newsletters that you enjoy reading? Do the same.

If you have suggestions for newsletter content, don't hog it all to yourself. Share it! And, please, subscribe to my list. If you love true crime, you'll love my newsletter.

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