Do you sign up for newsletters?

I don’t. Ever. And if I do, because there is some kind of contest or giveaway, I either use a spare e-mail address, or I relegate the newsletters to my “junk” folder, or I unsubscribe rather quickly. I am simply not a newsletter person.

But as an author, I have a newsletter, and I try to get people to sign up for it (See sidebar–> )

Wow, what a hypocrite that makes me! I am hoping that the people signed up are those who actually want to receive news of my new releases and promotions via e-mail, and I only send those – no “updates” or chatty newsletters ever.

Yesterday an author friend of mine had a nice discussion in a comment thread about this, and I listened carefully to the advice and opinions of the more successful authors who participated. Lots of people discussed giving away free content (which I do!) to get signups, or offering exclusive content. I know others who run periodic contests to keep subscribers interested. But one person pointed out a truth that I keep thinking about. She said: but I already follow you on other social media.

And I think that is exactly the thing that makes me sort of ambivalent about the newsletter. If someone follows this blog, they will get my updates. If they follow me on twitter, facebook, G+, or Pinterest, they will get my updates. If they follow my author page on amazon or goodreads, they will get some updates, too. So why am I asking for yet another follow? I guess I want to reach people who don’t already follow me via other channels. But how do I assure that?

I put a newsletter signup, along with other social media links, in the back copy of my books, so people who like me can follow me on whatever platform they enjoy. But why is the newsletter supposedly the big one? Shouldn’t I be just as happy if they decide to follow me on twitter instead?

I think I should be.

I know the reasoning behind the newsletter preference, and I do agree. Newsletters are platform independent. So, if facebook goes the way of MySpace, or if twitter suddenly changes their algorithms, or if Pinterest shuts down, I will still have a way to reach my readers. I get it. But…who says email addresses are any more permanent? I have changed emails a few times. Gone from yahoo to gmail. Opened accounts for the sole purpose of using them to sign up for things or for making online purchases. Why are we assuming a newsletter subscriber is any more dedicated than a G+ follower?

All very confusing to me. I got into this gig because I wanted to write, not market. But I suppose you can’t have one without the other.

So anyone out there subscribe to email newsletters? If so, do you read and enjoy them, or toss them in the junk folder? What would it take to get you to sign up, and stay invested, in a newsletter? Or if you are an author, how do you get and keep your subscribers? And what do you think the benefits are of having them?

4 thoughts on “Do you sign up for newsletters?

  1. Morning Amelia!
    I was under the impression that newsletters are a different breed altogether. That is, kind of like the high-priced VIP lounges at a sporting event. When someone signs up for a newsletter, they get to know *everything* first–what new project is around the corner, and when it’s going to be released. They’re in an elite group that gets special discounts and privileges that the masses won’t get, or won’t get until much later on.

    • Yeah, I’m not sure. I know some authors do use newsletters that way. One person I know uses them to ask poll questions (like choosing character names and settings and such) so that subscribers feel involved. And some send out regular mailings, even if they have no “new” book news, just a status update or sometimes a duplicate of their latest blog post. Some people send out flash fiction shorts, which also sounds like good content.
      I guess using it to give exclusive content and information would be good, and the newsletter-only discount is a great idea.
      I find it difficult to nail down a good plan because I myself have little interest in newsletters as a reader, so I never really “get” what my readers want or expect from them.
      So confused… need more coffee…

  2. I’ve signed up for newsletters. Sometimes to the author’s list, or Amazon, or through blogs. I have to admit that so far Amazon sucks at notifying customers. I find it easier to keep an eye on new books through GoodReads, WordPress, and Facebook. It’s actually quite rare even for me to see a direct email from the author’s list because of all the other emails I have to read through first. For me, the GoodReads alerts is the best because I get one email about all the new books from all my fave authors.

    • Interesting! I guess I rely mostly on amazon, though as you pointed out it isn’t the best source. I usually browse my “recommended for you” list, when I’m going to be buying books. Goodreads is a decent place, for that, too. The down side is it relies on rating a lot of books, and I’m not always good about doing that.
      It seems like a combination of things (wordpress/blogs, facebook, newsletters, goodreads, twitter) is probably the best way to ensure readers get our updates.

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