To Blast or Not to Blast: Why Online Marketing is About Reach

Do you hate newsletters? I do, too. Often.
Do you read some over others? I’d love to know why.

I’ve been known to encourage authors to send mass emails and newsletters. (Bansky’s going to oppose me on this one: even if all of Bansky is a form of lobbying for something.) And so, in my “year of walking in an author’s shoes,” to better understand the whole experience of social networking that’s now non-negotiable in author promoting, I’ve decided on my stance where newsletters are concerned. I believe there is value in getting your books on the radar
screen, in knowing your audience, in taking the time to think–perhaps this person will care. In finally analyzing how the experiment converted to awareness, universe, click-through, and sales. In a prior post, I wrote about how it’s important for authors and their marketers to know what they’re after in terms of these priorities.

I spent easily 20 hours developing this newsletter in look/layout and editing. And no less than 5 more in determining the right promotions for the books — such cool contest ideas, thought I! But it can almost feel worse–you thought nothing could feel worse–than the meal that takes you an hour to make and is gobbled up in less than 15 minutes flat. I wonder, of those who opened the newsletter, actually read it. As I try this author experiment myself, I’m not immune to these insecurities.

But as a one-off, I know this blog post will bring longer exposure. And the more I learn, from one of author I work with, Douglas Kennedy, sometimes micro-blogging via Facebook can be even more effective for your limited schedule, not to mention the limited attention spans of your readers. There your Facebook post sits, a little novella all of its own. It doesn’t disappear like that brilliant tweet you spent more time on than you had to spare, when you really should have been writing your book. (But my publicist made me!)

I’ve long been trying to crack the Facebook nut: what is it really bringing authors in terms of exposure? It’s that wider, aggregated audience that includes Twitter pundits as well as your mother-in-law; it’s that longevity or permanence mentioned above; and maybe it’s that exclusive, “in-network” curation. If my friend likes, I might just take her word for it and like it myself.

What more does it take than a click?

Having been so long in the elite world of publishing, isn’t it time to get mass-oriented? To take the risk of publicity? Yes. If you can alienate one person and reach 5 readers with a newsletter, you’re going to have to see your gains over your losses. This is survival of the fittest–by high school popularity standards.

Do you read any newsletters? Why? Please post examples below. I welcome inspiration.
  • I do a monthly newsletter for my blog. I usually see an increase in hits to my blog after sending it.

    I also receive a number of newsletters. I probably read most, but not all. I think layout is very important for a newsletter. I read yours!

  • Lucinda

    Thank you, Donna! I have been terrible with checking blog traffic but I have seen Twitter #s fluctuate. You’ve inspired me to do another. As long as you’re not constantly blasting, I suppose you hope for the best–whatever can possibly get authors more audience is a good thing.

Brian O'Reilly

An utterly delightful debut novel from cookbook author and TV cooking-show producer O’Reilly. Filled with more than 20 (fairly complicated) recipes for Angelina’s gourmet fare, the food is only half of the novel’s winning ingredient—O’Reilly’s keen ear for the neighborhood swells lends a charming, timeless quality to the tale. Light comedy and good food make a winning combination. — Kirkus Reviews, starred review