Friday JohnKu – AKA – TGIF

 

“It is Friday Lucy.”
“Yup Little Potato it is.”
“Let’s party.”
“Okay. You get the water bowl, and I’ll get the kibble.”

Here’s Friday. Seems like it was just Friday yesterday. Well, that’s how it goes when busy. What came to my mind this week other than the crappy weather was the subject of newsletters. I guess we all know that one way to boost book sales is to have regular contact with a core fan base. Hence the birth of the newsletter.

The newsletter is supposed to give the subscriber an inside track on giveaways, new launch news, and importantly (to most pushing newsletters) a closer and intimate relationship with your favorite author.

I keep hearing how some authors have amassed thousands of followers on their newsletter. In fact, they have such a good system in gaining followers they are willing to sell you the secret for oh, $250 bucks. Now that $250 also gets you an inside track to Hollywood, an agent, and publishers. Still not convinced? Try it free for 30 days. If you don’t increase your subscriptions and land a Hollywood deal, you can get your money back.

Okay so maybe I exaggerate. I have about 1100 newsletter followers and guess what? During the time I sent entertaining, erudite newsletters I don’t think one of them purchased a book. I could give away books until the cows come home yet I see no reviews. So what am I doing wrong? I guess plenty. I stopped communicating regularly since it was a lot of hard work for very little return.

Much like Amazon advertising, I am in the dark on how to have an energetic newsletter program. I do know that if I signed up for every newsletter offered, I would get over 350 in a month. Can you imagine? Most are about 1200 words. That would be like reading an extra five books a month. No wonder my letter doesn’t get traction. I’ll bet my average subscriber gets quite a few each day and can only skim them at best. I gotta think this through. Today’s JohnKu talks about beating on reader’s doors to get them to buy our books.

The reader by John W. Howell ©2019

Sitting quite content,

The reader’s door gets pounded . . .

An author needs sales.

Also, I am happy to say that The Contract by Gwen Plano and I has been selected as a semifinalist in the Global Thriller Book Awards for 2018. We are among thirteen semi-finalists. This is a juried award and not one that can be decided by reader votes.

Here is the list.

  • Richard Garis – Magenta is Missing
  • Randall Krzak – Dangerous Alliance
  • Timothy S. Johnston – The War Beneath
  • R. Barber Anderson – The Sunken Forest
  • John W. Howell & Gwen M. Plano – The Contract Between Heaven and Earth
  • E.M. Kelly – Addiction & Pestilence
  • Rachael Sparks – Resistant
  • Michael Pronko – The Moving Blade
  • Randall Krzak – The Kurdish Connection
  • Lawrence Verigin – Beyond Control
  • Harvey A. Schwartz – Never Again
  • Elena Mikalsen – All the Silent Voices
  • Paul McHugh – The Blind Pool

We will find out in April if we have been selected as the first place winner

Chanticleer semi finalist

96 comments

  1. Congratulations to you and Gwen! A much deserved nomination, John. As for newsletters…I don’t get the big push for it. I think people sign up for free books. I don’t have a newsletter…perhaps I’m doing it all wrong, but I think the interaction of blogging promotes better sales than a newsletter that goes into someone’s junk mail. As for it feeling like it was “just Friday” I’ll probably feel that way if I ever retire. 🙂 Have a great weekend and congratulations!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I feel the same as you, Jill. I haven’t publishe a newsletter for a while since I’ve not been happy with it.

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  2. Congratulations to you and Gwen, John. Your nomination is well deserved. You have a newsletter? Who knew. Oh well.

    I think the best way to get me to buy your books is to write well. You do. I have. I’m with Lucy. I’ll get the beverage, you get the snacks, let’s read.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I have a newsletter that I have ignored for so long because I’m not happy with it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Do you want some help with that? For a small fee of…

        Sorry, just kidding. If I can be of help, I would be happy to. I’ve published newsletters for several organizations, but not digitally – in the old days.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I maty let it die.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Being an author is a grind, it’s true – but you make it look easy, John.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you, Hook.

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  4. I have often wondered about this idea of a newsletter, John. I read a lot of blogs. I enjoy a good article and it gives me insight into the authors work. Writers usually post the odd article about their own reviews and books. I buy lots of books this way. I never read newsletters. It reminds me of school.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ha haha. Thanks, Robbie.

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  5. Gwen Plano · ·

    Wonderful news to share! We all love a pat on the back. Thank you one and all! Love the JohnKu. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes it is wonderful news to share.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Congrats on the nomination, John. There certainly are advantages to juried competitions, depending on how any popular polls are structured. Of course, one would hope that the jury members would be well-read and intelligent enough to declare you the winner!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You are sweet, Linda. I think the juries were wise to place us in the finalist category so we must have faith they will do their best. 😁

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  7. All the very best, John & Gwen!!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. John,

    You do things the right way, so I’m not sure there’s anything to sweat. Not that you’re sweating. Congratulations on the well deserved nomination!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Marc. Since I’m not a million seller, I can’t say I do things the right way. I do them my way which is fine. 😀

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The right way meaning you touch everyone you come across. And you are prolific not simply in your writing, but in how you connect with people. I mean, REALLY connect with people.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Ah. Thank you, Marc. This is why a newsletter is not my cup of tea. It is so one way. 😊

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Congratulations on being selected as a semifinalist in the Global Thriller Book Awards. About the newsletters, I’m ashamed to say that I don’t read half of them. As you say, not enough time.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you as well, Linda. I guess if a newsletter was really good it would get read but how many of those are there?

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’ve been wondering about sales and reviews too this week. Wish I had an answer. Does feel like free moves, but you don’t get feedback very often. Can’t even tell if people are moving on to the rest of my series.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I often think the freebies sit on a Kindle unread forever.

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      1. Wouldn’t surprise me.

        Liked by 1 person

  11. Hey well done. Excellent news

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Geoff.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Congratulations and all the best, John. Have a great weekend. 🙂 — Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You as well, Suzanne. Thank you.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. Congratulations, John … and good luck. Sure hope the presenters read the right card at the awards ceremony. Meanwhile, I can’t imagine the sales agony independent authors as yourself go through.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha haha. Sales agony for some. I’m pretty low key and therefore will never be a world famous author.

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  14. Congratulations you two. I still don’t have a newsletter. Friends keep telling me I need one, but I just don’t like the whole idea. I don’t like the ones I receive, and delete most of them without a second thought.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Confession…I delete them, too. Unlike blogging, they seem so impersonal, don’t they?

      Liked by 2 people

      1. I know right? Thanks, Jill

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      2. They do, and my email box is kind of sacred. Nice to know it’s not just me.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. I wouldn’t mind getting one from Kurt Vonnegut but that is about it. I think you are right. Most are deleatable. Thanks, Craig

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Wishing you and Gwen loads of luck! Congratulations on making the short list.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Staci. 😊

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Both you and my friend Rochelle are in the same boat. Fabulous writers who wish their books were selling more. I dunno about newsletters (bloody hell, I have trouble keeping up with the bloggers I love!)
    I do know one thing, though. And since “hanging” with authors, I write a review everywhere I can once I’ve finished a book… As I did for “Circumstances of Childhood” as I will when I get to “The Contract” and every other book I will read.

    Congrats on the nomination! Keep doing what needs to be done! I send good vibes your way (yeah, yeah, I know. What good are vibes? I dunno, but I like to hope they help!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Dale. Good vibes are always welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Then I’ll keep sending ’em! xo

        Liked by 1 person

  17. Wonderful news, John — congrats to you and Gwen, and fingers crossed the panel deems y’all the winners! I’ve heard that newsletters are a MUST, too, but golly, isn’t a writer’s first priority to write?!? I just don’t know where “they” expect us to squeeze out more time for that sort of marketing/publicity stuff. Grrr!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Debbie. I hear of all these people having such good luck with newsletter. I tried it and would consider it a bust.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks for blazing the trail, John. I imagine a newsletter is a good idea — if it’s done well — but who wants to slight their WIP for that, and from what I’m gathering, who wants to read one either (even if it’s by an author they love??!)

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I stopped. I was even boring myself.

        Liked by 1 person

  18. Congrats to you and Gwen, John – sending you a virtual bottle of bubbly!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much, Teri.

      Liked by 1 person

  19. What exciting news for “The Contract!” Fingers crossed. This is a fantastic story! I totally understand what you are saying about a newsletter, John. I have toyed with the idea for two years and finally decided that my blog would have to serve as my newsletter. I don’t have the time nor energy to attack yet a different medium of social media. I may be missing the boat, but it won’t be the first nor the last boat I’ve missed. 🙂 Love the JohnKu!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jan. I gave it one heck of a try and just don’t feel comfortable with the newsletter concept.

      Liked by 1 person

  20. Congratulations on being a semifinalist in the Global Thriller Book Awards, John. That is good news at least. I have had exactly the same experience with newsletters and Amazon ads. This assumption that we are sold, that if someone hands over their email address, it equates to them becoming a loyal fan, is absolute rubbish.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your comment, Guy. There is an outfit right now charging $29.00 a month to help authors gater e-mail addresses as if that is what will sell books.

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  21. Congratulations. I think Dan is right. The secret is to write well and while that may not drive sales, at least you can live with having written well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha haha. Yes, I agree. Gives some dignity to the starving artist meme.

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  22. Congratulations, John, and Happy Friday (for once, I´m on time :)). I do subscribe to a few newsletters, but I don´t buy books based on the newsletter. It´s nice to know when a favorite author might be going on a book tour or when his next book is coming out, but I don´t buy that newsletters bring an author and reader closer together. I agree with Jill that blogging probably works best for that relationship. Have a great weekend!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for yur opinion, Marie. I so agree with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  23. D.L Finn, Author · ·

    You make some valid points on newsletters John. I’m not as likely to read them but I do have a few I enjoy. I’ve developed some friendships with my newsletter that are different from my blog so I continue with it for that part. I guess we stay where our interest is being held and we like the person, too. Yes we do need/want sales. Still hoping to run into a reading fairy:) Huge Congrats on being a semi finalist. It’s much deserved and I’m rooting for you guys!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Denise. Nice words indeed.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. Thanks for this lovely news

    Liked by 1 person

  25. Congrats to you and Gwen and best of luck going forward.
    Newsletters? I subscribe to *#* newsletters and truth-be-told, I barely have time to keep up with reading and commenting on blogs, so, at best, I just peruse the newsletters.
    Reviews? Unless your books are being read by other authors or by book bloggers, you wont’ get many reviews. The average person only thinks about reviewing anything (book or products) unless they feel they’ve wasted their money or thought it was horrible. Whenever someone tells me about a book they’ve enjoyed, I ask if they left a review on Amazon, B & N, or Goodreads. I’ve yet to have anyone tell me they did. We need to do a better job of getting readers to post their thoughts about a book, even if only to say, “It was good.”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree Michelle. I have had frinds tell me how much they enjoyed a book and when I ask about a review all you hear is crickets.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the ping back

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  26. Look, about newsletters – so agreed with you!…its a huge mystery to me how they are doing that. Because I have to tell you honestly, I’m trying to skip reading newsletters (lol, I’m getting too many) and I don’t want spend time writing them (when I can write or do something else instead..) – so I don’t know. Have to try it tho.
    About semi-finalist – CONGRATS!
    And I finally posted the review of “Contract”, I’ll post on Amazon and Goodreads today as well. It was a delay tho, my dog got problems with teeth (mouth, ingrown tooth, inflammation), so she had surgery today. The second dog, Sky…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m so sorry about sky. Dogs usually come out of tooth surgery quite well. We have had a number on ours. Thank you for the lovely review. I had to laugh out loud in a couple of spots. It was very good and I enjoyed it.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Cool 🙂
        yep, she is ok… they found also a hidden (ingrown) tooth, so we r lucky, otherwise it would be worse/huge inflammation.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. Glad it wasn’t worse.

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  27. 🍸🎇 Congratulations, John and Gwen! I’m delighted for you. As for Newsletters? Nyah, I tried it on for size and it just wasn’t a comfortable fit for me. Frankly, I resented spending the time I should have been dedicating to improving my writing craft. I know I don’t have the time to read many of the ones I receive. Marketing continues to be a huge learning curve that my brain has problems keeping up with. Remind me again why we do this to ourselves, my friend.😊

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m with you, Soooz. Newsletters are not my speed. We do this because we don’t know any better.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. Congratulations on making it to the semi-finals! I am amazed that you find time to post every day AND write books! Cheers for the weekend! We may have some sun on Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jo. Yes, I write everyday on my blog and write books. I must be nuts. Happy but nuts. 😁

      Like

  29. Reblogged this on Smorgasbord Blog Magazine and commented:
    John Howell on the subject of the validity and effectiveness of author newsletters and also announcing that The Contract co-written with Gwen Plano is up for an award. They are semi-finalists in the Chanticleer International Book Awards 2018… that is fantastic…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for the feature, Sally

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  30. That is fabulous John.. and Gwen.. so pleased for you both. As to newsletters I don’t subscribe, as you say I would be reading instead of writing with the number that would come through. I don’t usually except free books either as I prefer to buy those I review, and I don’t like giving my email address out on other blogs. Something unfortunately has become more prevalent of late. Anyway.. fantastic news.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Sally. Hugs

      Liked by 1 person

  31. Congratulations, John. I agree on the newsletter front. I think if you are known and have a traction, people will read your book no matter what, and, otherwise… well, it’s with the gods. What works wonderfully for one person seems to do nothing for another, and there are so many variables it’s impossible to know what makes a difference. Good luck with the award!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Olga. There are many variables it’s true. I have a problem trying to do a newletter that has as the primary objective the selling of books. I think folks can see through that motive. I receive one from a well known author and have finally unsubscribed since I came to the realization I just don’t want to hear anymore stories of how hard the poor thing works at the craft of writing.

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  32. If congratulations were book sales, eh John! I know we shouldn’t – in some respects – look back and compare, but I can’t help it now and then….Back-tracking to 1983/4, my first two factual books were published by mainstream publishers. Oh, what joy! And sales…Fast forward to 2000 plus….there’s no comparison. Just finding a mainstream publisher was difficult enough. The fact that, technically, I’m as adept as a sheep, there’s not a lot more to add…Nevertheless (husband reckons I was born with a pen in my hand) writing gives me immense pleasure – masochist that I am. Being an eclectic writer is not the best way forward….but we can only live in hope. All the above said, you deserve congratulations. Life is full of surprises and sales could sky-rocket. Hopefully!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Always hopeful, Joy. Thank you.

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  33. Congratulations to you and Gwen – fingers crossed! And if you do ever solve the mystery of Amazon ads or successful newslettering do let me know!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Ha haha. Thank you, Mary. Still working on Amazon. I will let you know if I figure it out.

      Liked by 1 person

  34. Congratulations to you and Gwen, and good luck with the final judgment. (Man, that sounds grim; not meant that way). This post and all the comments have finally convinced me I can stop fretting about not having a newsletter or building an email list. Your point that a blog is a way better way of actually engaging with readers is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I would stop fretting, Audrey. Not worth it.

      Liked by 1 person

  35. Who gets to vote?? Can i vote?

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

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    1. There is no voting. It is all decided by juriors ​. Thank you anyway.

      Like

  36. Congrats John on your nomination for your book with Gwen. Wishing you two much success. As for the newsletter, I’m with the masses on bombardment. If readers like what we put out on our blogs, some become interested in our books, then word of mouth. I’m not interested in competing with the numerous newsletters out there. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Thanks Debby. 😁

      Liked by 1 person

  37. I love your common sense wisdom about newsletters, John. And, congratulations to you and Gwen. Very exciting!!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Jennie.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re welcome, John.

        Liked by 1 person

  38. Wow, John. Congrats on being a finalist. Awesome.
    When authors talk about news letters, I’ve never seen the point — if one is also doing a blog. The blog serves the same purpose… That’s my two cents’ worth anyhow. Have a sublime Sunday.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree with you, Teagan.

      Liked by 1 person

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