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Upgrade Your Author Newsletter | Clare Mackintosh Takeover

If you’ve been around authors for a while, you might have heard a lot of back and forth on the topic of newsletters – how do you start building one, and how do you maintain it? Do you even really need one? The list goes on. 

The idea of landing in hundreds of strangers’ inboxes can feel a bit like shouting into the void. It’s scary. We get it.  

To put you at ease, author newsletter extraordinaire Clare Mackintosh is here today offering her advice, including some creative prompts for those of you feeling stuck.  

Upgrade Your Author Newsletter | Clare Mackintosh Takeover 

The best time to start a mailing list may well have been several years ago, but the second-best time is right now, so consider this your call to arms. Maybe you have legions of Instagram followers or get great engagement on Facebook. Perhaps you’re a whizz at TikTok, and practically professional on YouTube. That’s all well and good, but social networks go down, or disappear completely. People take digital detoxes, or delete their accounts, or simply go weeks without logging in to see what their neighbour’s cousin’s best friend had for breakfast. 

People rarely abandon their email accounts. 

When you send a newsletter to a reader, you’re zooming straight into their inbox, where there’s a much greater chance of your message being read. It’s the equivalent of being invited into someone’s house for a chat, as opposed to loitering on the pavement outside with a sandwich board, hoping they’ll spot you through the window.  

I started my mailing list when I was a blogger, and many of my subscribers have been with me from the very beginning. A few years ago, I refreshed my newsletter strategy and launched a book club, and it’s had a really positive impact on growth, as well as being something I genuinely enjoy. What you have to ask yourself is, ‘why should someone give me their email address?’ and I hate to be blunt, but unless you are incredibly interesting, it’s not enough to offer ‘regular updates’. 

Think about the mailing lists you personally subscribe to. What stops you clicking unsubscribe? Just like social media content, newsletters should be interesting, entertaining or useful… ideally all three. When you’re drafting an email, imagine it dropping into a real person’s inbox. Picture that person – at work, or browsing the internet over a coffee – and think about their reaction. Don’t press send till you’re confident you’re adding value to their day. 

If you’re struggling for content ideas, here are a few things to think about: 

- A digital postcard: a photo from your life, and a ‘wish you were here’ style update 

- Thought for the day/week 

- Writing tips 

- Book recommendations 

- Essays or columns about current affairs or industry news 

- A round-up of literary events – your own, and other authors 

- Recipes: snacks, lunches, cocktails 

- Research notes and photographs 

- Deleted scenes 

I could go on, but you’re a creative person. You’ve got this. 


Clare Mackintosh is the multi-award winning author of five bestselling novels. Translated into more than forty languages, her books have sold in excess of two million copies worldwide, have been New York Times and international bestsellers, and have spent a combined total of 64 weeks in the Sunday Times bestseller chart. Her latest thriller, Hostage, is out in paperback now and the first instalment of her first ever crime series, The Last Party, comes out in August and is available to pre-order now. 

You can subscribe to Clare Mackintosh’s newsletter here, join her book club here, and order or pre-order signed copies of all of her books here. 

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