Marketing is a critical component of building an author’s readership. I buy into the theory that one’s email subscriber list is the core component for driving sales. Whether you run ads, leverage social media, or whatever, your goal should be to grow your email subscriber list. Facebook and Twitter can cancel you in an instant; even if you are reinstated, you may lose your list.
Your email newsletter is one of your most powerful marketing tools. When you launch a book, you want a lot of sales right out of the gate, because that will push you up the bestseller charts in your category and get you some valuable visibility.
You get those early sales by sending a compelling sales letter to your email list. (That’s what they signed up for—to hear about when your next book is coming out.)
One way to grow your list is by using a “reader magnet.” A “reader magnet” is something you give away free to people who sign up for your email newsletter.
When do they make sense?
- Bad - if you don’t plan on writing more books
- Good - if you plan to write more books but are slow
- Great - if you have more books and write fast.
An ideal reader magnet is all of the following:
- It’s something everyone in your Target Audience would want.
- It’s something nobody outside your Target Audience would want.
- It’s only available one place—from you.
- It’s only available one way—by signing up for your email list.
- You can deliver it automatically at zero or very low cost.
A bad example of a reader magnet is giving away an iPad to your readers who sign up. It is expensive, and is of interest to people outside your target audience. A good example is a free ebook, if you have one available. It will siphon off some sales, and you have to ensure you have distribution rights (haven’t sold to a publisher or put in KDP Select). A great example is a novella, a prequel a bonus chapter, or something related to the series.
In-Book Newsletter Promotion
One important place to promote your email list is in your books. For example, many authors make an offer to give away their reader magnets in both the front and back of every book.
Notice the beauty of this:
- Your books promote your email newsletter.
- Your email newsletter promotes your next book.
This is called a “virtuous circle.” A increases B, and B increases A. This creates exponential growth.
A swap is a cross-promotional where you and another author in genre swap newletter lists.