Not really, but I was in a click-bait mood.
As some of you know, in the Fall, I took a marketing class called Product Launch Formula. It gave me a lot of good ideas for newsletter-based marketing campaigns, one of which I successfully used in the Catholic Writers Conference Online. However, as a campaign-centered program, it didn’t really address what to do in the between sales times, especially for a writer of fiction.
I have many friends who are successfully using newsletters for their fiction marketing, but no one had a particular formula for success. This makes sense, since target audience determines so much. So I decided to run a survey. I offered up suggestions of what I could do and would be interested in doing, and asked how interested people would be. Forty-four people took it, including nine who were not currently on my newsletter list.
And the responses…? About what I expected, actually.
I asked four questions: email address, whether you were enrolled, if you prefer a single newsletter with writing/marketing and fiction, and what you’d like to see most. Most folks preferred a single newsletter, which made me happy. Here’s how the topics broke out.
As you can see, writing tips are by far what folks want most. This tells me have more writer/readers than pure readers on my list – not a surprise (but also my next challenge: get more pure readers.) The second column on the left is “writing tips geared to time management.” I’m glad to see that because I am planning a time management class for writers.
Second most popular topic – commentary from Vern, my dragon detective. Again, I’m not surprised, and I must say, you made his day.
(I did have someone ask if my other characters would post sometimes, too. That will be a little more difficult, since Vern is the only one who breaks the fourth wall, but I’ll see what I can do.)
A close third is “short stories,” which reassured me, because the PLF adaptation by Holly Lisle uses short stories in the marketing campaign for new books, so I’ll be doing those.
Background on characters and puns didn’t garner as much interest. Notice that puns are pretty divisive. Definitely a love-hate thing. People aren’t as interested in contests, which I’ve found true in the past when I’ve tried running them. Games, which my friend who writes YA is having success with, are not as diverting for my readership.
Thus, the people have spoken! Well 20% of the ones I know about, anyway, but even in a national election, you go with the ones who vote.
For the next 6 months or so, I’ll send out monthly newsletters containing most of the following:
- Arriving in Fabianspace: News of upcoming classes and books or if anything exciting happens in my life. Maybe a funny picture if I don’t have anything to say. If I have a class or book coming out, I’ll invite you to a more intense newsletter series with all kinds of goodies, including free stuff.
- 10-minute Tips: Writing tips that are quick to implement
- Marketing Moment: A tip or link to a great article or tool I’ve found for marketing
- From the Desk of the Dragon: Vern shares his wisdom or just gets snarky about something. You never know with him. Maybe he’ll tell a funny story or share the desk with someone else.
- Sometimes, I’ll toss in a short story or something else fun, too.
What do you think? If you have a newsletter, did you learn anything you can apply? Would this newsletter interest you enough to open each month? Got any other ideas? Want to make Vern preen by leaving him a complement? Go ahead and comment below!
Sounds great-thanks for sharing! I look forward to it. As far as other characters speaking but Vern being the only one who breaks the fourth wall, would it be possible for Vern to give us news on the other characters doings, something on the order of a Hedda Hopper only positive/fun/newsy instead of gossipy?
For the DragonEye universe, absolutely, and he certainly will. The characters in my other universes, of course, are just characters to him, so he could talk about them in context of having read the books, but not as news. (How schitzo do I sound right now? 🙂 )
Very well thought out!!!