California Dreamin’ Writers Conference 2017 Part Two

Libby Waterford taught a panel titled Getting into Your Reader’s Inbox. These are my notes on the panel and in no way encompass all that Libby taught. If you ever have a chance to hear her speak, grab it! She is a lot of fun.

Why send out a newsletter? Because you are in charge of what it says and what it does. You own the content, you control the contacts, and you can include buy links to sell your product. It’s absolutely a golden ticket for an author.

040217 golden ticket

Kristin Higgins Newsletter is worth getting as an example. She uses pretty pictures, runs some subscribers-only contests, and has her buy links. Eloisa James has Five Things to Make You Happy in her newsletter, plus events where you can meet her. My newsletter will have lots of stuff about parrots and birds.

Your list For your newsletter is the email addresses of people who want to hear from you. Real people, not people drawn in by Facebook parties and just hoping to win stuff.

Libby gave us her address to add to our newsletter list. She expects to see newsletters from us in the next week or two.

The next hurdle is which newsletter service to use. Mailerlite is currently the favorite, replacing Mailchimp. Compare the free services and the charges when you reach 1000 addresses. This number varies. MadMimi doesn’t seem to have a free service any longer, but they did when I got into this phase. I’ve sent out two issues in the several years since I signed up. I’m checking with WordPress to see if they have or plan to add a newsletter service.



Mad Mimi (Free plan only up to 100 contacts)

A few others to check out.

Law and Etiquette – In order to make the best use of your newsletter, you want to avoid a trip to a reader’s spam folder. That gets you listed as spam on the computer email server and it’s very hard to correct that. Many authors only send newsletters when they have a new release of something to announce, a cover reveal or such. Pick a schedule that works for you, twice a year or once a month or anything in between. More than once a month edges you into the spam folder.


Include an address for people who want to send things to you. You can get a real PO Box or a virtual one.

It’s okay to include affiliate links to Amazon or Smashwords, but not affiliate marketing. Don’t run their ads for them. Disclose when you have an affiliate account such as Amazon that gives you income for people who click on it.

040217 kind of crazy

Customize a theme, one that reflects your brand. Use it every month, coordinate to your website and cover branding. Only use images you have the rights to. Be sure to have all links to all your media presence, contests, and calls to action (Like pre-order, vote for your cover in a poll, etc).

CAN-SPAM applies to authors sending newsletters.

The frequency is up to you but let your fans know what to expect when they sign up. Remember, no less than twice a year, no more than 12 times a year. Pre-release, release, and special sales are ideal opportunities to contact your fans. Experiment with the crowd.


040217 wtf fact
Fun facts add content to your newsletter


Make it easy to find you, put the links to subscribe to the newsletter in the back of all your books. Blog hops and contests can grow your list. And it’s okay to put a subscribe link on your Amazon author page.

Especially for WordPress pages, OptinMonster can optimize your list for a low monthly fee. Here’s more information about it.

Attrition happens, so continue to generate new subscribers. Get on board with sending out holiday greetings. Include buy links. Proofread and send to a friend to check appearance. A 30% open rate is good. Your click rate, unsubscribe, and other metrics are available from your server.

The panel ran out of time then, and I know Libby had more to share. But I also finished my on-line class on Social Media for Authors the week before the con. Author and instructor Jamie K. Schmidt ( shared a FREE platform that ranks all social media users. Klout. An average score for most people is 20. Barack Obama has a score of 99.

Hootsuite is another tool to make social media marketing easier. They have a free basic service.–us-pua-google_search_branded_alpha-&gclid=Cj0KEQjw2fLGBRDopP-vg7PLgvsBEiQAUOnIXNSxbf4eVSfKmBWs-Fnarqrz2z35eRbvzvA4X9qVOjcaAovG8P8HAQ#getstarted (Dude, they really need to work on the urls!)

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back on Thursday.


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