Yes, as a matter of fact, I am one of those people who advocate for authors building an email list.
The difference is that I’m here to help you with the entire process. I know how powerful email marketing for authors can be to help you engage with your audience.
I know it’s an intimidating, daunting task. I’m convinced I have some new insights to help you past any hurdle you’ve been facing in creating your email list.
Ready? Let’s goooooooo!
Table of Contents
What is Email Marketing for Authors?
If you’ve been in online marketing for any length of time, then you’ve no doubt heard people yapping about building a list. What in the world are they talking about?
They are talking about the easiest, cheapest asset you can build for your business.
Your email list is the tool that single-handedly makes your customers your own.
See, you might be selling books and seeing some success, but if you aren’t building an email list, those aren’t your customers. They belong to whatever platform where they bought your book.
If things ever go south with that platform for whatever reason, that relationship with that reader is severed. For example, if Amazon were to terminate your KDP account, you’re at a loss, not them. They’ll have their customers, but you’ll be left without your readers.
This is why email marketing for authors is so important.
Once you capture their email, then they become your customer, reader, and a member of your audience. Someone who bought your book before is much easier to sell to when you release your next one.
Think of your email list as insider terminology for a directory of your valued readers. You simply collect the names and email addresses of readers who want notifications on your latest publications, deals and author info.
How to Get Started with List Building As An Author
It’s easier than you think. You don’t even need a website. You can get started completely free.
I’ve had quite the journey with email marketing myself. I’m currently on my fourth platform, so I have a little experience.
There are 3 email marketing platforms where you can get started free:
The first thing you need to consider is what are your goals in building an email list?
If you just want to get started with your list and send out occasional notifications about new books, etc., then MailChimp or Mailerlite will suffice.
If you struggle with what you should send out to your list and you like to write, Substack is great because you simply blog to them. You also get a little cross pollination with Substack because it has the ability to bring in new subscribers from the platform itself. With the other two, you either need a website or to share a link to your opt in to gain new subscribers.
I use a combination of Mailerlite and Substack. I write a couple of articles with actionable tips every week on my Substack. Then I send out a content round up via Mailerlite. When I have announcements, giveaways, etc., those normally go out via Mailerlite.
A dedicated email marketing platform like MailChimp or Mailerlite will have capabilities that Substack does not. The cool part is that you can import your list wherever you like. Many of my new subscribers get added to both Mailerlite and Substack.
Get started with Mailerlite using this tutorial on my Substack – https://selfpub.substack.com/p/build-your-email-list-free
What Should I Send to My Subscribers?
You’ll see a list on the end of that tutorial ^, but I’m going to include some ideas here as well. You can never have too many ideas for your email marketing for authors campaigns.
- Exclusive sneak peeks – Share early chapters or snippets of your upcoming books to generate excitement and anticipation among your readers.
- Behind-the-scenes insights – Offer a glimpse into your writing process, inspirations, and challenges, allowing readers to connect with you on a more personal level.
- Q&A sessions – Encourage readers to send in their questions and host regular Q&A sessions where you address their inquiries, fostering a sense of interaction and connection.
- Book recommendations – Share your favorite reads or create a curated list of books that your audience might enjoy, showcasing your taste and fostering a sense of community among book lovers.
- Giveaways and contests – Organize giveaways of signed copies, merchandise, or even exclusive experiences to reward your loyal readers and keep them engaged. I’ve done quite a bit of this lately, and not only does it give me something to share with my list, it’s also a great list builder!
- Writing tips and advice – Share practical writing tips, techniques, and advice to assist aspiring writers in their journey, positioning yourself as a knowledgeable and helpful resource.
- Virtual book clubs – Start a virtual book club where readers can discuss and share their thoughts on your books or other selected titles, fostering a community of engaged readers.
- Author updates – Provide regular updates on your writing progress, upcoming events, or appearances, keeping your readers informed and connected to your author journey.
- Exclusive discounts and promotions – Offer special discounts or promotions on your books, merchandise, or events, rewarding your email subscribers with exclusive perks.
- Fan spotlights – Shine a spotlight on your most dedicated fans, featuring their stories, fan art, or testimonials, creating a sense of appreciation and inclusivity within your community.
- Character interviews – Conduct fun and fictional interviews with characters from your books, giving readers a chance to get to know them better.
- Writing challenge – Issue creative writing prompts or challenges to your readers, encouraging them to participate and share their work.
- Exclusive short stories – Share exclusive short stories or prequels set in your book universe, giving readers a deeper dive into your storytelling.
- Book-themed recipes – Share recipes inspired by your books or characters, offering a unique and interactive culinary experience to your readers.
- Virtual author events – Host virtual author events like webinars, live chats, or workshops where readers can interact with you and other book enthusiasts.
- Book soundtrack playlists – Curate playlists of songs that complement the mood and themes of your books, allowing readers to immerse themselves in the world you’ve created.
- Exclusive merchandise reveals – Give your readers a first look at upcoming merchandise related to your books, creating a sense of anticipation and desirability.
- Fan art showcases – Feature fan-created artwork based on your books, highlighting the creativity and talent of your readers.
- Collaborative storytelling – Initiate a collaborative storytelling project where readers can contribute to a collective narrative, encouraging their active participation and creativity.
Reasons to Build Your Email List As An Author
- Communicate Directly with Your Tribe – Once you have captured their email address, you now have a direct and personal line of communication with your readers.
- Engagement – Now you can foster a sense of community and engage with your readers. Your goal is to create a loyal fan base that supports and promotes your books.
- Sell More Books – Regular communication and engagement with your readers will result in more sales.
- Bolster Your Brand – Your email list is totally a business asset. With it, you establish that business side of things and reinforce your author brand.
- Build Relationships – Your subscribers aren’t just there so you can throw a new book at them from time to time. You will benefit more fully by looking at them as people and building actual relationships within your own community.
- Get Feedback – One of the most valuable things you’ll receive from your people is feedback. It won’t always be pleasant, but most of the time it will be constructive. Build off of it and pivot to really serve your tribe and reap the rewards.
- Opportunities – When you manage to draw a crowd, you also draw in opportunities. You’ll get chances to promote things you love, and collaborate with your fellow authors through cross promotions.
- Control and Independence – Your email list will give you more control over your marketing efforts. You’ll be independent of social media algorithms or the constant changes social platforms experience. It all comes back to that direct connection you’ve established with your readers. It’s priceless!
Final Word on Email Marketing for Authors
There is no perfect action when it comes to email marketing for self-published authors. Just get started. That’s it! No magic. No filler. Just real stuff!
If you’ve built a list and are benefitting from it, I’d love to hear from you. Let us know if you’ve used any of the strategies in this article. Join the conversation in the comments below.