For all those Indie and Trad pubbed authors out there building businesses, email marketing can be the last thing on your list of things you want to focus on. I came across this tip list in my email and thought it had value. It was sent by a lady named Ilma from @ilma_tweets
Some of these, I do. Some, I need to look into. Enjoy!
For authors just starting out with a mailing list, I know it can seem overwhelming, but it is absolutely doable and so worthwhile.
In less than a year, I have gone from having my mom and dog on my mailing list to over 30,000 subscribers. These subscribers have helped me form a street team, they follow my social media accounts, and they make my book launches more than me just shouting out to the ether that I have a new book available.
Include a sign-up link for your newsletter in the front and back matter of every book, as well as in a prominent spot on your website. These organic subscribers are your biggest fans.
Group giveaways on InstaFreebie and BookFunnel (MailerLite has integrations with both of them) are another great way to get a group of subscribers. These subscribers may not yet know you or your writing, so give them some freebies and nurture them into fans.
I include sign-ups links in the back of all my books, and in a number of them, I also offer a free short story in return for joining my list – these vary from 3k to 10k words and relate to the book they’ve just read. Mailerlite’s forms and automation are brilliant for this – I collect the reader’s details on a landing page then use automation to send an email with the download link. I use BookFunnel for delivery, which works brilliantly.
Always tell a new subscriber how they got on your list, what to expect and make it easy for them to unsubscribe.
It’s best to do some kind of giveaway or share free books for your first couple campaigns, like you are gifting them a thank-you for subscribing or being a loyal subscriber. Putting the posts together is time-consuming, but worth your time. Make the post pretty and aesthetically pleasing.
Give stuff away at least once a month—or at least share a friend’s giveaway. People like winning stuff!
For example, I offer 1 free book to readers for subscribing to my reader group, but then I send them 4 over the course of a few weeks. In my automation emails, I hint that there are more great things coming, but I don’t give specifics. This seems to work well to entice subscribers to stick around to see what else I’m going to give them.
I want them to feel like they get to have the inside scoop on any freebies, sales, giveaways, etc. that I know about… including those from other authors. I don’t want to seem too sales-y, so my newsletter often includes information about book deals from author friends. Rather than saying “Please buy my book” over and over, I want my message to be, “I thought you might want to know about this awesome deal.”
Respond to every email, be respectful even if a reader is critical about your work, survey your readers from time to time and ask for their help for names, covers, titles, etc. (I often run cover polls. The difference between the two options can be as small as the font type, but the readers enjoy having a say, and the author benefits too – especially when there’s a clear preference for one over the other).
I tend to send my newsletters fortnightly, and on the weeks in between, I use the non-open data to send a different newsletter (a shorter one) to the people who didn’t read the first. This seems to drop into a few extra inboxes and therefore makes the most of my list. I also use the link-click tracking to work out roughly what percentage of my readers buy from each store. That can help me decide where to target advertising and also work out whether it’s worth me going into KU or staying wide.
My advice for an author starting out: Research what other writers are doing. What do you like? What don’t you like? Take elements and give them your own spin in your newsletters. Also, don’t be afraid to ask your readers what they want too. A simple survey can give you loads of information, such as what genres they prefer, how often they like to receive newsletters, and what kind of content they enjoy reading.
To any author starting out with email marketing I’d say, relax. Just have fun and enjoy books together, ones you are writing and ones you are reading. Don’t just sell, sell, sell, but get to know your readers and allow them to know you too. Do use automation but give it your personal touch and voice.
Full-time author of sexy, action based romance novels ranging from Fantasy, Paranormal, Historical Time-Slip & Contemporary. Happily ever afters without Sappily ever afters.