SFFMP 157: Advanced Newsletter Tactics, Set-It-and-Forget It Automation, and Cultivating a Relationship with Your Readers with Andrea Pearson

We had a very informative show tonight when non-fiction and fantasy author Andrea Pearson joined us to chat about one of her passions: newsletters! (Jo, Jeff, and Lindsay don’t share this passion, so it was great to get answers from a pro.) Andrea has written more than thirty novels across three pen names and also has a series of books for authors called Self-Publish Strong.

Here are some of the details of what we covered:

  • Doing a big promotional push at launch or waiting until your book has a good number of reviews?
  • Where to get reviews when you’re a newer author (These all cost money, but Andrea mentioned Booksprout, Jim Kukral’s Review Grabber Tool, and Book Rank’s review service.)
  • Whether to do a big promo push all at once or spread things out over weeks.
  • How to get noticed on other sites if you leave KDP Select/Kindle Unlimited and go wide.
  • If it makes sense putting together big boxed sets or exclusive content for any particular sites.
  • Launch strategies for a spinoff series or novel set in a world some of your readers are already familiar with.
  • Why Andrea published her YA fantasy series from scratch with new ASINs when she relaunched the series.
  • Being aware of “black hole” ages for characters if you’re writing middle grade or YA fiction (and also that the heroes should be older than the readers they’re aimed at).
  • What newsletter service Andrea recommends for authors (MailChimp) and why.
  • The seven-email autoresponder series she has set up (when a new subscriber signs up, he/she gets the first welcome email, and then more letters in a series spread out over the next several weeks).
  • Whether she does a different sequence or has different lists depending on where subscribers come from (i.e. free group promo or back-of-the-book signup)?
  • The importance of emailing subscribers regularly to keep sales flowing — Andrea lists her books in the post script of all her emails.
  • Zapier.com, a service she uses to help automate and deliver her bonuses for subscribers.
  • What aspects of newsletter delivery shouldn’t be automated?
  • Using exclusive content to get people to sign up (this works better for Andrea than giving away Book 2, something readers could simply buy, for free).
  • Andrea recommended the Dave Ramsey EntreLeadership podcast.
  • What to do to hopefully keep newsletters from getting stuck over in people’s Gmail promotions tab.
  • Giving away bonuses from other authors as part of an incentive to get readers to buy new releases.

Find Andrea online at her website, or check out her Facebook group for authors: Bookbub Promotions and More. Andrea also has a series of books under the Self-Publish Strong title. The most recent one is How to Grow a Rock-Solid Newsletter List: Newsletter Marketing for Authors.


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  • Had to pause this one to go take notes. Thank you. Thank you.

  • I admit it. I’ve been scared to touch my autoresponder since I set it up about 10 months ago–forgot how to manage it, didn’t want to mess it up, seemed like a huge deal. Andrea, you’ve inspired me. I opened up mailchimp and I’ve already applied a tiny tweak. Thank you for all that inspiration. I hate that it’s the small details that make the difference, but that’s the way it is with these things. That was a great episode. Love the show each week guys. Thanks.

  • Amanda

    Ho boy. I’m biting my nails right now, because I had no idea about aging the characters above the audience.

    I’m currently writing a mystery/suspense book with 14 year old characters. It’s meant for adults. This probably isn’t a book to advertise to 12 years olds, because a lot of kids get brutally murdered…


    • SFFpodcast

      It’s tough, Amanda, because books with young protagonists tend to get put into children’s or YA fiction even if they’re not meant that way. I know Ender’s Game always gets classified as children’s lit when it’s really not! If you’re self-publishing, you can just put it in the adult categories and cross your fingers that adult readers will be interested. Good luck!