I’ve recently sent out a newsletter which I tend to do every time I have news. You can see an example here. My promise to my readers is that they'll only hear from me when I have something newsworthy to report.
When I first started in the business, many of my colleagues told me I should start one of these promotional tactics. In fact, my webmistress who still takes care of my old website convinced me that should be my most important means of advertisement.
She said, "People who sign up on the newsletter are people who are interested in you and your path to success. They want to know about your books, your coming events and anything newsworthy you might want to share."
Of course, I didn’t think there was much about me personally that was interesting other than I’d written a book. But taking her advice, I did start a newsletter. I went to a place called “Your Mailing List” http://www.ymlp.com/ and within minutes had set up my file. Luckily, I had quite a few personal e-mail addresses. Now whether these friends wanted to be added or not, they were the first names on my newsletter list. :-)
From then on, I gathered names from people visiting my website but that turned out to be a slow process. I wracked my brain trying to think up ideas to attract attention but it was slow going. Then I hit on a brilliant way that I could put out the word to the readers that I had a newsletter and would be delighted to add their names.
I started doing the (I’m a Reader not a Writer) blog hops. These hops are a great way to get people to come to your blog. As part of the prize I offered – usually $10 Amazon gift Certificates - I would inform everyone who entered that they must leave a comment along with their e-mail addresses in order for me to be able to contact the winner. Also that I would be adding their names to my newsletter list and if they wished not to be added, just mention that fact in their comments.
I was delighted with the response. Very few visitors asked to left off my list. Many said they’d be happy to hear about my news. Now the file started growing by leaps and bounds. I was ecstatic. Then I figured out a way to add the button for my Newsletter here on my blog and about that time I became too busy to enter more hops. (see above on the left and please click if you're not already on my list! I do know that begging is unprofessional so I'm not adding the "pretty" before the please...)
Today, I think my total is sitting at around the 550 mark and when I check the statistics after each one released, more than half actually open and hopefully read them. (At first I was worried about this low number but many others told me not to be. It was pretty normal.) So I looked on the bright side. It meant that around 300 people are following my progress and maybe some are even buying my books.
Better yet, every time I send out a new blurb, I get wonderful messages in response and that alone is worth all the effort it takes.