Everyone Starts Small So Get Started
When I talk with would-be book authors about starting an email newsletter or an ezine, I often hear, "No one will be interested in my newsletter and my list will be so small." Or "What in the world will I write about or use to fill the newsletter (or starting a blog)?" Here's the truth of the matter: everyone starts small. When you start any publication, you put yourself, your spouse and a few close friends to pad your newsletter list and get it going.
The key is to start and then consistently put out your newsletter. It doesn't have to be often but it does have to be consistent and continually grow. Many people talk about writing and even repeatedly go to writers conferences, but the ones who succeed are the ones who continue to grow in their craft--and they consistently write. They write for magazines and they write fiction and nonfiction but they keep working at their writing.
I'm suggesting you can do the same thing when it comes to growing a newsletter. Over four years ago, I started Right-Writing News I had less than 50 subscribers. Today I have thousands of subscribers and this list continues to grow. Yes, I've had a few people unsubscribe but that happens for many reasons and some of them have even unsubscribed then returned. It's a free newsletter and I've produced 32 issues. If you look at the newsletter, I don't write all of it but get articles from my friends and those articles promote their books and other work. You can do the same with your newsletter. It doesn't have to be as much work as it appears. You can download a free 150-page Ebook about this topic but the key is to get it started and grow your relationships with individuals. Newsletters, blogs or a book project or any type of consistent writing project takes work. Just keep the big picture in mind and take the plunge.
In yesterday's mail, I received the May 12th issue of Publishers Weekly and noticed two listings from their bestseller list which are connected to this matter of growing your newsletter list. In past entries about The Writing Life, I've mentioned Debbie Macomber and how she continues to grow her newsletter list and use it. Her new release, Twenty Wishes, is #3 on the hardcover bestsellers fiction list. Debbie is on a 20-city tour to promote the book and at a recent signing in Chicago fans lined up for more than two hours to meet her. Then the magazine says, "Many attendees learned about the signings through e-mails from Macomber. At every appearance, she invites readers to join her e-mail list--already over 90,000 names. Mira reports 480,000 copies in print (of Twenty Wishes)." Macomber has established a personal connection to her audience.
If you flip the page in your Publishers Weekly over to the paperback bestseller/ trade list, you will notice the second entry or Hungry Girl from Lisa Lillien which makes its first week of appearance on the bestseller list. Beside the entry, here's part of what is in the magazine, "Lillien began her Hungry Girl (hungry-girl.com) in 2004 with 100 subscribers; now, she has 440,000. When she announced the book to her readers a month before the April 29 pub date, preorders at online retailers racked up astronomical numbers--it hit #1 at BarnesandNoble.com and #2 at Amazon.com and stayed in the top 10 for the month of April. Griffin (the publisher) reports 400,000 copies after eight printings and expects that figure to increase." Lillien's newsletter is daily which is quite ambitious. You don't have to start there--but do get started.
The value of your list and that direct connection to the author will be evident in your book proposal and pitches to publishers. It will pay off.
As another resource, if you are near Los Angeles, I encourage you to attend Author 101 University, which I mentioned several days ago. In preparation for this conference, three of the speakers have recorded preview calls (Preview call #1 with Brendon Burchard), (Preview Call #2 Steve Gardner) and (Preview Call #3 with Hollywood Agent Ken Atchity). You can follow each of these three links and download these teleseminars to your computer or iPod and listen to them--and profit from the free information. The key--just like this newsletter issue--is to act. There are limited available seats at Author 101 University but it could be the boost you need for your writing life. I'd encourage you to act before the doors close to this unique event.