About ten years ago I started a writing business. I positioned myself as an email newsletter specialist for businesses. From top to bottom, I created weekly newsletters that they would send to their list. There were some solid successes with this approach, and some mistakes and failures.

You see, many business owners (and you’re a business owner if you’re pursuing publishing – the IRS thinks you are so you better believe it too), were under the false impression that how their newsletter looked was what mattered the most. They wanted fancy graphics and impressive media.

The problem is that I stink at any type of graphic design. I’m not even very skilled at making a template look good. The other problem is that a pretty email isn’t worth much if the content isn’t interesting and valuable and when my clients focused on style over substance, their audience didn’t respond.

Fortunately, there are more than enough business owners who know that what they say is more important than how it looks and I was able to build a solid business writing email messages and other content.

Email is A Direct and Personal Connection to Your Potential Readers

Email is personal. It’s how we communicate with one another. If we’re not texting, we’re emailing. It allows you to directly connect with potential readers on a regular basis. The fundamentals of email marketing are quite simple too. There are really only three steps.

Step One: Build Your List

Your “List” is your email list. It’s all of the people who have said, “I’m interested in what this person has to say.” Generally speaking there are a few approaches to building yoru list. You can simply ask people to sign up for your newsletter. You can also create an incentive for them to sign up.

For example, you might give away a novella and deliver it via email. Those who want your ebook will sign up, you’ll deliver the book using an autoresponder system like aweber, and they’ll be subscribed to yoru list.

(I use aweber for both my business and my fiction email messages. I like it because you can send attachments, like your books, to your subscribers. Other newsletter or email management services don’t let you do that. You can sign up for a free trial when you’re ready to start building your platform with email. Aweber also helps you create pretty sign-up forms that you can cut and paste into your blog, which helps motivate people to sign up.)


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Step Two: Send Email Messages

Decide how often you can realistically send email messages to your potential readers. You might decide that once a month is all you can manage. If you’re already published, consider reaching out at least twice a month. It’ll help boost sales.

Deciding what you’re going to say in your email messages can be a challenge. If you’re working on a book you might share a small snippet. You can also share information about events you’re attending. Consider what would be interesting to your readers.

For example, if you write mystery romance and your heroine bakes cupcakes for a living you might share a monthly cupcake recipe. Get creative with your email content and have a little fun with it.  Your email messages don’t have to be wordy. You might share a recipe or a fun news snippet and then link to your blog posts. You might talk about what you’re reading right now or create a small story from your heroine’s perspective.

Step Three: Pay Attention

Pay attention to what your subscribers open and read. Most email management systems will provide you with this information. You can look and see which messages were your most popular ones so you know how to appeal to your audience.

Remember that as you begin publishing more romance novels, you can and should use your email to occasionally promote your books. Creating a platform is about connecting with your audience, building a loyal following, and ultimately selling more books.

Feeling Overwhelmed?

Keep in mind that as you embrace all three components of an author’s platform, blogging, social media, and email, that they can work together. For example, your email messages can include links to your blog and your social media pages. You can encourage people to connect with you on all three.

You may feel a bit overwhelmed. You might be thinking, “how can I finish my novel when I’m spending all of this time building my platform?” We’ll wrap this series up with a post that helps you easily organize and manage your platform. You’ll spend no more than an hour or two each week and I promise, it’ll be fun.

Happy writing!