10 Updates Writers Need to Make before 2019

1. Update your MailChimp automated emails.

Check your open rates (how many of your subscribers actually open your emails?). Are people responding to what you offer? Do they like your freebie—do they download it?

Things to double-check:

  • Ensure you’re using a domain email address as your “from” email address so you won’t fall into spam folders. Example: hello@shaylaraquel.com

  • Use your first name rather than a business name. It ups your open rate. Rather than “From [Business Name],” my emails say, “From Shayla.”

  • Please, please, please do not copy and paste your latest blog post in the email body. That is not a way to get people to stay on your list.

Besides your automated emails, I would take a serious look at your weekly (or however often you send them) campaigns. Read this for email inspiration (it is hands down the best one out there): https://smartblogger.com/subscriber-emails/

2. Update your website's contact form to make it work for you.

I learned this from my brand marketer, Mike Loomis. He suggested that my contact form should answer every question possible from the client to avoid a hundred unnecessary emails.

You can see my contact form here.

What can you, as an author, learn from mine?

  • Get as specific as you can.

  • Get their website URL.

  • Get a referral name (how did they find you?).

  • Get the real reason why they’re contacting you (notice all the checkmark options I have).

As an author, you might want to have different options for guest bloggers contacting you, or literary agents or just your typical fangirl (not that there's anything typical about a fangirl).

3. Back up all the things.

You’re a writer, and the worst thing in the world, as you know, is to lose all your precious words. Back up everything on your computer. It’ll make you feel so incredible! Trust me. Like a warm cyber blanket wrapped around your shoulders.

When the new year approaches, there's something about knowing that the previous year's content is safe and sound.

4. Clean up your computer.

If you actually have the time every single day to delete old files and photos and unused documents and blah blah, then good for you. But I don’t. So every month or so, I sit down and clean out all of my files in my MacBook Finder, delete the junk that serves no purpose, and reorganize everything in my folders.

Pro Tip: Try CleanMyMac to keep that Macbook lookin’ fresh.

5. Update your social media + website bio.

Surely things are a little different in 2017 than they were in 2016. Did you win any awards? Publish a new book (or two)? Hit bestseller status? Update your bio with the latest stats and upload to all your social media platforms and website.

 6. Update all your passwords.

Seems too simple, but way too many people ignore this. You’re an author, and that means you have a brand to protect. Anything you can do to prevent hacking is a plus. The last thing your readers want to see on their newsfeed from their favorite author is a RayBan advertisement.

7. Update your pinned tweet + posts.

Check your Facebook groups that you manage, your Facebook business page, your Twitter profile, and anything else that allows you to pin posts. When was the last time you pinned that post? Mine was from 2015 on Twitter! Yikes. Update it to something more relevant.

8. Have a serious conversation with yourself about your writing goals.

If 2016 wasn't your year and you're feeling a little down and out about what you haven't accomplished, then put a positive spin on things and ask yourself how you're going to conquer 2017. Here are some helpful questions for your come-to-Jesus meeting:

  • Do I want to write more guest blogs or have more people guest blog for me?

  • How many books do I want to release this year?

  • How much time do I want to devote to writing each day or week?

  • How much money do I need to save up for self-publishing my book?

  • What are my weaknesses as a writer? How can I strengthen them?

  • What are my weaknesses as a marketer? How can I strengthen them?

  • Should I hire a marketing/writing coach to help me?

9. Unsubscribe.

It’s the new year, and you’re subscribed to so many emails that you don’t even know who you are anymore. Go through them, and unsubscribe from the ones that do not offer you value as a writer. 

Pro Tip: If every single email from that influencer is trying to sell you something, un-freaking-subscribe. 

10. Check your stats.

From MailChimp to Facebook groups to Instagram to your website, you should know your stats. Write them down and update them each month. It’s a great motivator! I’ve done this for the last few years, and it’s always encouraged me when I see the numbers go up. Basically, I write down how many followers I have in each platform each month. Here are the platforms I keep stats on:

  • Facebook business page

  • Facebook group (Curiouser Author Network)

  • Twitter

  • LinkedIn

  • Instagram

  • MailXhimp subscribers

  • MailXhimp campaign open rate

  • Pinterest

  • Medium

  • Website views

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An expert editor, seasoned writer, and author-centric marketer, Shayla Raquel works one-on-one with authors and business owners every day. A lifelong lover of books, she has edited over 300 books and has launched several Amazon bestsellers for her clients. Her award-winning blog teaches new and established authors how to write, publish, and market their books. She is the author of the Pre-Publishing Checklist, The Rotting (in Shivers in the Night), and The Suicide Tree. In her not-so-free time, she acts as organizer for the Yukon Writers’ Society, volunteers at the Oklahoma County Jail, and obsesses over squirrels. She lives in Oklahoma with her two dogs, Chanel and Wednesday.