13 Newsletter Ideas for Authors (+ 5 Rapid Fire Tips)

There's been a lot (a LOT) of discussion around newsletters lately, and while I do have a general "how to newsletter" post, I thought it was high time to do a round-up of some ideas for what you can actually put in these things! 

Before we get into that, hi! I'm Jess, and if this is your first time reading one of my blog posts, I do apologize sincerely. I am long-winded af. That said, I do think I have some good stuff to say, so I hope you stick around! 

Do I Even Need to Have a Newsletter?

Ahh, this question is what started (and continues to start, on a near weekly basis) the discussion around newsletters. 

In short: No. You don't. 

You don't need to do anything you don't want to do. Ever

Buttttttt, newsletter marketing has been proven time and time again to be one of the best ways to reach your audience and drive sales.  

If you're sitting there thinking, but I never open newsletters. I don't know anyone who signs up for them and I hate getting emails. Cool, me too. But we're not marketing for ourselves, we're marketing towards our potential readers and stats say that they really really do sign up for these things and ENJOY them. 

The Golden Rule of Publishing: YMMV

"Your Mileage May Vary" of course! Always take every piece of advice with a grain of salt, and as Becca Syme says, Question the Premise. 

If anyone, including me, is saying you HAVE to do something (in this case, have a newsletter), ask yourself "Do I?" You may not, in your specific and personal circumstances. And that's okay! 

That said, I would encourage you to start building your list of emails, even if you don't send anything to them on any kind of regular basis. 

These are people who are telling you they WANT to hear from you. Take their emails! If social media ever goes down, gets banned, you get kicked off platforms, etc. it is going to be really nice to have that list so you can email people and not have to start building your audience again from scratch.

So, if you do nothing else after reading this post and the list of ideas below, at least set up a form to collect emails (I talk you through the basics here). 

What Do I Even Put in These Though?

I'm going to leave the human psychology side of why people open newsletters and what they want to see in them to an expert like Tammi Labrecque (aka the Newsletter Ninja).

Her books also go through what you can use to get people to sign up (cookies!) and how to set up automations and welcome email series to really get to the core of who you want to keep on your list. 

Maybe I'll do a post about my own one day, but like I said above, QTP and YMMV and right now, I use bonus scenes as cookies and I have one welcome email... (No one tell Tammi!)

Want to see these in action? Here's some of my favorite newsletters I subscribe to (and my own hahaha!) 

Alright, and now for what you're all really here for.... THE LIST! 

13 Newsletter Content Ideas for Authors

These are in no particular order, theme or pattern. Maybe when I have more patience (lol, that'll never happen) I'll break them down into categories, but for now, enjoy the chaos! 

  1. Bonus scenes - Either deleted scenes, alternate POV scenes, epilogues, or any other kind of scene that didn't make it into the finished book.
  2. Bonus content - Got a really cool map? Got some recipes for food or drinks mentioned in the book? World building guide? Glossary? Share it!
  3. Artwork - If you commissioned artwork for your book, share it with your subscribers. Everyone tends to love art, especially when you share it with your newsletter first. 
  4. Behind the Scenes - Did you research something really cool for your book the other day? Share it with your subscribers and give them a hint of what they might see from the research in your next project.
  5. Teasers and Progress - People love when they can see early content. So, with the caveat that the snippets are (likely) unedited, share small teasers from your work in progress.
  6. Character Content - Most of us author-types tend to have little nuggets of information about our characters that never end up making it into the books. For example, Alexander from Hollowed has a really big tea collection because it relaxes him, though we only ever see him making tea once. Share this kind of stuff with your readers. Character interviews, questionnaires, personality quizzes, you name it.
  7. FAQs - If you get the same questions about you, your books, or anything really, over and over and over and over and...you get it. Anyways, share those in your newsletter! If you're getting asked multiple times, odds are someone on your newsletter list wants to know too.
  8. Reveals - I think this is too easy of one, but hey, you never know. Share your reveals about your book. Title, blurb, cover, preorder links, all of that stuff you also put on social media to reveal should go out to your newsletter too! Some of your readers might not be on social media, or given how the algorithm's algorithm-ing, they might not see it.
  9. Giveaways - It helps grow your list if you treat your list like some kind of VIP experience. Have giveaways just for your subscribers, like signed books, swag if you have it, gift cards. It helps to show your appreciation.
  10. First Dibs - Do you offer ARCs for your books? Got a Street Team? Looking for people to help with a cover reveal? Share it to your newsletter before you share it on social media! Again, that helps show your appreciation.
  11. News and Events - I think this one is also a no-brainer, but I'm trying to be as detailed as possible! Got a book releasing? SHARE IT. Going to be doing a signing at a local bookstore or a big convention? SHARE IT. People want to know. And more people than you think will want to meet you.
  12. Pet Content - Let's be honest, people love pets. If you've got one, share it now and then! My cat, Nebula (aka Satan's Spawn, aka Destroyer of Worlds) makes appearances now and then when she's done something extra Evil.
  13. Personal Life - Related to the above, people just like getting to know authors as people. If you're comfortable (and you absolutely don't have to be), share little tidbits about your life in a way they can relate to your audience. For example here, in March's newsletter, I sent out bonus content, but in the introduction, I talked about how I put off making. big batch of soup to write it and ended up having to scramble to make the soup. It was two sentences, maybe, but people really enjoyed it and replied to ask for the recipe even!

There's definitely a ton more, but 13 is my lucky number so we're gonna just call it quits here.

If you want more tips and ideas, I encourage you to check out Tammy's book, and then honestly, just subscribe to some of your favorite authors or authors with similar audiences to you and see what they do. 

Just remember to QTP and that YMMV. This is your newsletter, not theirs.

Butttttt, I do want to leave you with just a few more tips and tricks that I didn't include in my overview post and that don't really fall into the newsletter idea list above. So, here's 5 bonus tips related to getting better engagement with your newsletters (open, clicks, replies, etc.).

  1. One call to action (CTA) per email. Try to keep it to one button if you can. If you give people too many requests, too many options, too many decisions...they're not going to make any and they're going to close out of your email without doing anything. Pick the most important thing you want them to do, and focus on that.
  2. Keep it short. Maybe you're long-winded like me. I get it, but shorter emails (especially when you're starting out) usually perform better. If people have to click the "See More" button on their email app, they're more likely to just close out of it altogther.
  3. Use a unique subject line. Sure, you can have just "Cover Reveal" as the subject, but something like "OMG look at this COVER 😱" is probably going to get more opens.
  4. Ask them for a reply. This may seem like a "duh" thing, but honestly, people need to be told it's okay to reply! Ask them a question somewhere that is easy and quick to answer and invite them to reply. (Vanessa's a great example of doing this)
  5. Keep it personable. Unless aliens or robots have taken over the world, you're probably a human. Write like it. Keep your messaging conversational. No one wants to read a formally written essay about why your book cover is so amazing. Just write how you'd talk to a friend, because that's what these are, emails to a friend who really, really likes you and your books.

Okay, that's all folks! Got questions? Feel free to drop them in the comments or shoot me an email! I'd say DM me on IG, but honestly, I think there's a gremlin in there eating my messages because I never see half of them.

I hope this post was helpful, and again, if you want to see these tips in action (and maybe get some hella cool bonus content while you're at it), be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!

Oh, I almost forgot! Want 50% off your first year at Flodesk? Use my affiliate code here to claim your savings. (I will earn a small commission if you end up using my link to sign up, but it'll be at no cost to you)

1 comment

  • K. Williams

    This was so helpful. I am an indie author who didn’t know the first thing about newsletters thanks for sharing. Once I get my website back up, I am putting your top 13 ideas to use. Thanks again.
    KD Williams/ The Mysteries of Woodland Academy

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