By now, you’ve probably heard all about the benefits of having your own email list. It’s a way to connect with readers and fans. You can let people know when you’re releasing a new book or having a sale. You can work with your superfans and create a Street Team to help you launch your next book. You can ask readers for feedback, or see if people are interested in your next book idea. And so on, and so on.
So how do you build your email list?
Offer a freebie
This works well for both fiction and non-fiction authors. For fiction authors, some ideas of what you could offer include:
- Bonus scenes
- Book 1 in a series
- A chapter or short story
- Character sketches
For non-fiction authors, some ideas include:
- A short ebook
- A mini-course, related to your book topics
- A series of emails that teach people something related to your topic
Feel free to repurpose content you’ve already created. Maybe you have some deleted chapters from your novel already written, or you have a series of blog posts you can expand upon and turn into a short email course.
Set up a landing page
You have your freebie ready to go. Now what?
You want to make it as easy as possible for readers to sign up for your email list and get your freebie. This means having a simple landing page. In most cases, you’ll want to include an image of the freebie, a description of what they’ll get and why it’s exciting, and one call to action: join your email list. You can include more information on your page. However, if you do this, make sure your freebie offer and call to action is at the top of the page.
An example of this is the short audiobook I offer on my author website.
Here are a few more real life examples:
- Nick Stephenson’s “Paydown”: Download a free prequel to Nick’s Leopold Blake thriller series
- J.F. Penn’s “Day of the Vikings”: Another free thriller, this time from J.F. Penn
- David Gaughran’s “Following”: A marketing book for a marketing newsletter
Drive traffic to your landing page
This whole section could be at least an entire blog post (and even an online course), so I’ll stick to the broad strokes.
You want interested readers to find your landing page and sign up for your newsletter. That way you’ll have people who are invested in you and your work on your mailing list, and they’ll be excited when you have book news to share with them.
With that in mind, you can create targeted ads for your ideal reader on platforms such as Google, Reddit, Facebook, Instagram, etc. Take your time and experiment. Start by a small budget and keep your eye on how well it works for a few days, then make updates based on what’s working. Images and videos are great, as well as snappy copy.