I'm in a bit of a quandary and I need your help.
Now you probably know that the most effective way to get subscribers to your newsletter is to offer some kind of freebie in exchange for a name and email address.
I do this on my writing resources sites - where I give away lots of free writing help, ebooks on writing etc.
But this blog in particular is about promoting my fiction - so what should I give away to entice subscribers?
Bear in mind that what I need to attract is readers - people who might actually enjoy my fiction. So there seems little point in offering free writing resources to readers who may never feel the urge to create stories of their own.
But that's an option if you think it might be a good idea...
Five other things crossed my mind - which I'm happy to accept your thoughts on.
I could offer potential readers a short story - around the 5000 word mark.
That would at least give people a taste of my fiction. But it doesn't seem enough somehow. And what if they don't like that story? They might think that all of my stuff was the same. I could put off potential readers for life by letting them see the wrong story!
Already my mind is going in circles trying to think of which one...
Lots of writers offer excerpts of their novels - but that seems redundant now that Amazon offers the same service. Anyone can now read the opening chapters of Willow and Kindred on Kindle - for free. They just have to go to Amazon and click on the "See Inside" button.
No, I need to offer something that people can't get somewhere else - something that is unique to this blog.
I still offer Willow for free somewhere on my site - I forget where. I have thousands of pages, built up over a decade of writing online. I'm not sure what's out there half the time. But I do know that around 6500 people downloaded the free version of Willow - that's now selling for a dollar on Kindle.
I actually don't mind people reading my fiction for free. It's not about the money, anyway.
I'd rather be read than hold out for royalties.
I did think about offering some kind of reader's guide to my genre.
I thought maybe some kind of a guide to supernatural horror thrillers might make interesting reading for potential fans of my fiction writing.
The down side to that is that I would have to compile a guide like that - which could easily turn into a lifetime's work!
Nevertheless it's a possibility, if you think it's a good one, I'll listen.
Finally, I've been toying with the idea of a serialized novel.
People could sign up and get a whole new novel delivered over time. What I'm thinking about is a novel called "Dead Center" - which I'm about a third of the way through writing.
It occurred to me that I could offer the novel as it is being written. Say 2000 words a week until it's done.
The story is exciting stuff - full of strange happenings, cops, good guys and demons. It's probably going to be my best novel yet.
And at least the pressure to write the next installment would keep me writing!
I like this idea because Stephen King once said he didn't think there was enough serialized fiction offered by authors.
Dickens did it. As did William Thackeray, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and a lot of the greats.
King himself tried to do it with The Green Mile. He says he would have done more but his publishers weren't happy with the way nobody wanted to pay for his fiction online.
But, as I say, if it's not about the money, should I attract new readers with what is essentially 'live' novel writing?
It's an interesting idea to me.
What do you think?