Connect with Your Readers
While you are writing your mystery novel, your work on your author platform improves the success of your book launch once the story is finished. Your website gives readers a place to discover you and your work. An email list gives you a way to communicate with these readers and build enthusiasm.
When you email to a reader, it’s a personal note from you to that particular reader. You want to bring them in on the story of your book success.
There are quite a few steps to setting up a successful email connection with your readers. Take them step-by-step. You don’t have to do them all in one day.
Create A Giveaway
Create a giveaway for readers who join your email list. This is your gift to them for connecting with you. You give the reader a free gift for signing up for your email newsletter. You want to make it something related to your mystery. You will build interest in your story before you finish writing.
Make your giveaway as a first-time author simple. The prime objective is to build a stronger connection with you and your story.
- A preview chapter from your book.
- A character background of your detective. Use the information you create in your character bible to fill out a 1-5 page background. Add a graphic or two. A gun, a crime scene tape, the location of your story. Graphics make it easy for readers to remember your giveaway.
- A character interview with your sleuth. Answer questions readers may have about your character. Use a graphic.
- A short novella with your sleuth as the main character.
- If your setting is exotic or historical, create a brief about the setting. Tell readers how the setting influences the story.
Format your giveaway to make it easy to send as an email attachment. For short pieces use a PDF. If you wrote a novella, use BookFunnel to distribute the story in the reader’s preferred format. BookFunnel distributes your book in .mobi, .epub and PDF files according to the reader’s choice.
Set Up Your Email Provider
An email provider does the heavy lifting of sending emails to subscribers. Using an autoresponder, the email provider automatically sends a sequence of emails and delivers your giveaway. This saves you the time of responding to each reader individually.
Set up your email list. Add yourself to the list to check that all your emails go out. Write a sequence of welcoming emails for your autoresponder.
Create your invitation to join the list (landing page). Most email service providers also offer a landing page. Entice people to join with your free giveaway. Send people to your landing page from your website and social media.
Create a sequence of emails to go to people who join your list. Write a sequence of welcoming emails for your autoresponder (MailerLite, MailChimp, ConvertKit, etc.). Here are prompts for creating your sequence and the timing to send out.
- Thank. Introduce yourself and your books. Link to the free giveaway. 1st day.
- Did you miss the download? Short and sweet. My quote. History is different people are the same. 3 days after 1st.
- 3 days after previous. A bit more about how you started writing the book. Social media connection links (Part 3) as well as Amazon Author page and your website. Later, after you publish, you can add your Amazon Author page.
- 1 week after previous. Personal what I do. Pets. Activities, photos of life. Later, an invitation to read one of your books with a link to the book.
- 1 week after that. Invitation for free books forever by joining the beta readers group. (You’ll set up another list, usually with tags from your email provider for this special group of advance readers.)
- Write to One Person. Always compose your email message as if the reader is the only person receiving the message. The more personal you are, the better your email reader feels about your message. You care about your readers. Let your email messages show you care about the person who is reading the message. Most email providers allow you to set up a first name field to personalize your message.
Decide on a Communication Schedule
Once you have created your autoresponder introductory messages, you want to keep in touch with your subscribers on a regular basis. Consistency is critical. It’s better to write one message per month every month than promise weekly updates and skip a couple of weeks.
Timing is up to your personal choice. Every day is too often. Readers will feel overwhelmed and unsubscribe to stop receiving your messages. Consider all the time you have and make a commitment to including your regular messages.
What To Include in Your Email Newsletter
Keep your regular newsletter friendly and informative. Share your something of yourself as a person as well as writing progress.
- Talk about your progress on your mystery.
- Share a short excerpt.
- Tell a story about your personal life as an author. Share things like your children, pets, cooking life, vacation adventures.
- Ask for feedback on a character idea.
- Give a taste of current books you are reading.
Your message doesn’t need to be long. Readers are busy. Always ask a question at the end, like what books are you reading? Or who is your favorite detective? Encourage engagement and communication with you.
Most authors agree that getting responses from readers is exciting. Reply to each communication you receive. Build rapport and trust with just a simple reply.
Your Treasure Trove of Readers
People who subscribe to your email list want to hear from you. They care about your writing journey.
Your email list, like your website, belongs to you. Email is the best way to stay in touch with readers and build your fan base.