I had lunch last week with my friend Philip Marino, associate editor at W. W. Norton’s Liveright imprint. As so often happens in this industry, we landed on the topic of social media and platform-building. He pointed out that e-mail—recently considered a bit of an also-ran in the age of texting, Twitter, and Instagram—has regained a lot of book-marketing strength. That’s because of the newsletter, which authors are finding to be a terrific promotional tool. Yes, newsletters have been around since the beginning of the internet, but they have now made a comeback.
Marino and his team at Norton have noticed a strong correlation between the number of an author’s newsletter recipients and the resulting sales figures. “As social media platforms become oversaturated with promotions and advertising,” says Marino, “we’ve seen a shift in the past year or two in regards to what sort of author outreach actually gets traction with readers, both new and with those who are already fans. Right now, it’s the newsletter.”
That’s good to know, as is the fact that there are also plenty of great tools available to help authors easily manage the lists for their e-mail blasts. There are also equally helpful ways to measure how effective the messaging is. Not only that, but it’s becoming easier to collect e-mail addresses through social-media outreach, your author webpage, and sign-up sheets at book events.
Writers who don’t have a newsletter yet should think about starting one. Even if there’s not a lot of news to report, and the newsletter only comes out every few months, its reach can extend beyond the e-mail list as your contacts forward it, re-tweet it, and share it on their Facebook pages.
Any suggestions to add? Please feel free to post a reply.