(see that layer of fog in the distance? It's hovering over the Genesee River)
Okay, now on to literary business.
I thought we might talk about communicating with one's readers via newsletters today. Dean Koontz regularly sends out a print newsletter from his dearly departed dog, Trixie. It's filled with tidbits about Dean's new books and observations from Trixie, from the great beyond. It's a common practice, and a wonderful way to share the latest scoop in an author's world.
And I, your humble mystery addict, send out the LeGarde Mysteries Newsletter via email just about every quarter. Or, when something particularly "newsworthy" comes along, such as a new book release. I like to include family news as well as literary news, since when folks read my books, they often like to hear about the whole package. And if they don't - well, they can always skip ahead! Ha. (if you'd like to sign up for the newsletter, just email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and put "newsletter" in the subject line.)
Newsletters are a wonderful way to stay connected with your readers. Not a published author? Not a problem. I'll bet you have friends, writer's circles, critique partners, and family who DO read your stuff and care about your progress. Right?
Start with them and get into the practice of summarizing your progress on a regular basis. You'll be surprised how much you actually do accomplish in a few short months. (and if you haven't accomplished anything, don't be too hard on yourself. Roll up your sleeves and make a new plan!) Of course, be sure to ask if your subscribers want to hear from you (you don't want to be a nuisance!). And provide a little note at the bottom of your newsletter to let them know how to unsubscribe if they get sick of you!
Once you become published, provide a sign up sheet at your book signings so you can stay in touch with folks who buy your books. If you receive mail from your readers, politely ask if they'd like to subscribe to the newsletter. And add a link to your website so it's easy for them to sign up.
As an example, today I'd like to share the newsletter we just issued for our Murder by 4 blog. As you all know, it's not just about mysteries. This is a blog for readers and writers of all sorts. SW Vaughn blogs on Tuesdays, Marta Stephens posts on Wednesdays, Kim Smith shares on Thursdays, and I chose Sundays. We also feature guest bloggers twice a week (Mondays and Fridays) and have had a wealth of guests, from publishers to editors to world famous authors. Matter of fact, check us out tomorrow, October 20th, when renowned author Warren Adler stops in to treat us to a piece about where his ideas come from!
So, whether you are a published author, or just starting to stir up interest in what will soon become your best seller, consider newsletters as a powferful vehicle to stay in touch with your readers. Here's our current newsletter - and please be sure to comment if you have time on the newsletter blog. We LOVE comments!