I Picked My Newsletter Platform, Now What?

Blue envelope with subscription form.

Last post we talked about why you want an author newsletter. It seems like you can’t throw a cyber stone without hitting someone’s newsletter opt-in.

Digital marketing is insane. Some places you’d never think would have a newsletter, slap you with a sign up the moment you enter their site.

But there is probably one thing they’re doing that you never noticed; they’re offering you something free in exchange for your email address. Every opt-in form does this, and you’re going to do that with your author newsletter.

Some people call this gift a loss leader; some people call it a lead generator. For writers, it is usually a book that you’re offering readers for free in exchange for their email address.

This week we are going to discuss setting up your newsletter and going over a few places you can advertise your free eBook to get eyes on your freebie.

Step one

Decide which book you want to offer your subscribers for free—if you have one ready—or write one. Some ideas are a short story anthology, a prequel to your bestselling series (or just a prequel to the series you’re currently writing if you haven’t published yet), or a short story set in the world you write most about.

If you put your brain to it, you’ll figure out the perfect thing to offer your readers. Approach this freebie as you would a book you intend to publish. This means edited, formatted, and a snazzy cover. Make sure you have the files in MOBI, EPUB, and PDF. If you can’t get it in MOBI or EPUB, at least make sure you have a PDF.

BookFunnel is a great website that allows you to automatically send a file to a reader with absolutely no work on your end. The reader can then download the file in whichever format they desire, and it will be sent directly to their device.

  1. Create an account.
  2. Click on the “Add New” button that appears on your dashboard.
  3. Add new book (we will do a download page later).
  4. Follow all the prompts for adding a new book.
  5. When you’ve filled out all the info, click save and close.
  6. On the new screen go to the section that says, “Download Page” and click “Add Page.”
  7. Here you can select to collect emails, or just allow them to download the book. Since this is the page they’re being navigated toward from your email, there’s no need to collect emails.
  8. Here you can add in whatever you’d like the page to look like. Be sure to pay attention to the expiration date and the download limit. Mark the date for the current month and day, but with the year of 2099 so you don’t have to worry about the page expiring on you. Leave the download limit blank so there won’t be a limit.
  9. Once you save, navigate back to the book info screen, and copy the “link for readers.”

BookFunnel makes it easy from there. You’ll want to hold on to that link for the later steps. Of course, if you don’t want to copy the link now, or you lose it in the future, you can always find it again on BookFunnel by navigating to the book page.

Step two

For this step, we are using MailerLite for demonstration purposes.

  1. Set up a subscriber list for all the emails to go in once they sign up for your book.
    1. Once signed in, navigate to the subscriber’s
    2. Click “Add New Group.”
    3. Name it and save.
  2. Go to webforms.
    1. Click “Add New Webform.”
    2. Name it something you will remember, preferably the book name and save.
  3. On the next screen, select “Landing Page.”
  4. Select the subscriber list you want the emails to be assigned to when they sign up.
  5. Save.
  6. Select template (eBook works best and needs less editing to get ready).
  7. Edit this screen however you want. There are a lot of options here, so take your time and set it up the way you want. The theory here is if you smack readers with a button that says “subscribe” or something else, they may be less likely to give their information. Readers know they’re signing up for a newsletter, so incentivize the button to show benefit to them, not to you.
  8. When you’ve finished, click “done editing.”
  9. On this next page, fill out all the info you’d like. When filling out the social share text, make sure you use short, strong copy.
  10. Save.
  11. On the next screen, you will find the URL you need. Make sure you grab that link to share with people.
  12. Turn off “Double Opt-in.” There’s no real need for it, and it creates more hurdles between the reader and the gift.
  13. Navigate to the “Automation Tab.”
  14. Click “Create New Workflow.”
  15. On the right side, name your workflow (this is just for your eyes, so name it something you can remember) and select the subscriber list you want the email to go to.
  16. Once you fill out those fields, more options will appear. An option is to leave it as “when they join the list.”
  17. Save.
  18. In the main field on the screen, you should see a box that says, “When a subscriber joins a group (and group name).” Click on the + beneath that.
  19. Click email.
  20. Click the email option that pops up and fill out the info to the left.
  21. Click design email, then drag and drop option, and design it however you want. Something simple that says “Thanks for signing up, here’s the link for your free book (include BookFunnel link here)” works fine, it’s simple and doesn’t take a long time to read.
  22. Click “done editing,” and you’re set.

The link you saved for your opt-in page can be shared, and people will go directly to that opt-in page. You can set it up on your website, share it on social media, or any other creative thing you want to do with it (like linking it to a QR code you put on your business cards and bookmarks. Once scanned, it will take them directly to the opt-in page).

It takes a bit of time, but it’s not difficult once you get the hang of it.

You can advertise on Facebook and Twitter if you’d like, offering them a free book and linking them to the opt-in page, but the most effective method is to get an InstaFreebie account.

InstaFreebie has a monthly subscription, but they have tons of readers who will sign up for your newsletter to get a book. You can upload the book you’re offering as an opt-in and click to collect emails in exchange for people downloading your book.

Next time, we will discuss ways to keep readers engaged using your newsletter. Have fun, and I wish you lots of sign ups!



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