Want to foster deeper connections with your readers and encourage more sales of your self-published book? A “dear reader” letter is a great way to show off your writer personality, create a sense of personal connection with fans, and sell more copies of your books. Self-Publishing Relief has some tips on how you can write a great “dear reader” letter to help you promote your book.
Important Elements Of A Successful “Dear Reader” Letter
Where Should A “Dear Reader” Letter Appear?
Both traditional and self-published writers use “dear reader” letters in various places in order to reach both new readers and established fans. Here are a few places you might consider publishing a “dear reader” letter:
- Guest blog post
- Your book’s back matter (end pages)
- The back matter of other people’s books (for cross-promotion)
- Your author website
- A media/press kit
If you’re writing a “dear reader” letter for a website other than your own, you’ll need to ask your host for word count recommendations. But if you’re writing a “dear reader” letter for your own marketing materials (including a press kit), keep in mind that your fans won’t want to read a lengthy tome. To keep your audience interested and engaged, it’s best to keep your letter less than one page long (approximately 250-500 words).
What’s Usually Included In A “Dear Reader” Letter?
What you write in your “dear reader” letter will depend in part on where you’re planning to publish it and what your goals are. If your letter will appear on someone else’s website, ask for guidance about topics or read other letters to get ideas.
Many writers include a short introduction, then a personalized story pertaining to the book that’s being released or some other writerly topic, then a short summary of the newly released book. Typically, most “dear reader” letters will end by pointing readers toward opportunities to connect (for example, reminding readers that a digital freebie is available to those who sign up for the author’s mailing list).
The best “dear reader” letters portray authors as relatable and real, entice with the promise of a great read, and then offer a compelling reason for readers to get/stay connected to a writer via social media or a mailing list.
What’s The Right Tone For A “Dear Reader” Letter?
The tone of your “dear reader” letter depends on the topic you’re writing about as well as the general mood you hope to convey for your author brand. If you have written a somber memoir about a personal tragedy, you might not want to take a lighthearted tone with your “dear reader” letter. And if you’re writing a guest blog post on a website known for being funny and casual, you might not want to seem too stiff and serious.
There is no single “tone” that works best for a “dear reader” letter; just be authentic as you pursue your marketing goals. Readers can often spot a voice that’s fake within a few lines—and that can have the opposite effect of what you hoped to accomplish with your letter.
Also, you may want to avoid any language that sounds self-aggrandizing, salesy, or boastful; instead, strive for celebratory, grateful, and sharing.
What If You Have No Idea What To Write About In A “Dear Reader” Letter?
You may find yourself writing a number of “dear reader” letters for your various marketing materials, and it can be easy to run out of ideas. Here are a few personal topics you may be able to tie in with a summary of your new book release:
- The reason you fell in love with writing
- The “aha” moment that sparked your book idea
- The challenges you faced writing your book
- Your personal reasons for writing your story
- People’s reactions to your book
- Interesting description of your writing space
- Your feelings about libraries/schools
- Anecdotes about promoting or sharing your book with others
Whatever topic you write about, your engaging voice and interesting story will go a long way toward getting readers to buy your next book!
Want to learn more? A “welcome reader” letter is similar to a “dear reader” letter, except that a “welcome reader” letter often appears on an author’s website. Here’s how to tackle a “welcome reader” letter for your writer website.
Question: Have you written a “dear reader” letter for your self-published book? What topics did you include?