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Email marketing helps authors sell more books
Ashley GrantApr 22, 2024 9:12:42 AM8 min read

How Email Marketing Platforms Help Authors Sell More Books

So you’re an author and you want to sell more books? Well, you’re in luck because that’s exactly what we’re covering in this post.

The reality that not enough people talk about is that discoverability is a top challenge for authors these days. The book market is overrun with hundreds of thousands of wordsmiths just like you competing for those coveted book sales. And, with millions of new titles published each year, standing out takes creativity and persistence.

You could try doing some sort of paid campaign on Facebook or Instagram. But, the smart money is actually in leveraging your email list.

If this sounds good to you, keep reading because with a thoughtful plan and quality content, your mailing list can become an invaluable asset.

Grow Your Audience - Start an Email ListGrow-Your-Audience-Start-an-Email-List-Internal-Image-18-April-2024

One thing is for certain - people that have an email list have a direct means of talking with their potential book buyers. As author Tom Morkes says, “If you have an email list, you will sell books. If you don’t, you might, but you might not.”

How much money can authors make? Tom explained that a third of “self-published authors earn less than $500 a year from their publishing efforts.” On the other hand, authors with email lists can make anywhere “from $20,000 to $100,000+ per year.”

That’s why growing your email list should be an ongoing priority. The larger your subscriber base, the more readers you can directly reach about new releases and promotions. Here are five effective tactics for expanding your mailing list:

Embed sign-up forms on your website and blog. Make it easy for site visitors to join your list with a simple opt-in form placed in the header or sidebar. Avoid annoying pop-ups, however. Just a short form with name and email fields that is constantly visible.

Offer a free bonus for subscribing. Readers love getting something for free. Provide an incentive like a short story, free chapters, or behind-the-scenes content. This gives new subscribers immediate value. Services like BookFunnel or StoryOrigin help authors distribute lead magnets.

Run paid ads promoting your newsletter. Small investments in Facebook, BookBub, or Amazon ads targeting your genre fans can rapidly grow your list. Focus your copy and creatives on the freebie new subscribers will get.

Partner with influencers for co-promotions. Approach bloggers or authors in your niche about swapping list mentions. For example, you'll mention their book in your newsletter if they mention your list sign-up to their audience. This expands your reach.

Guest post content with a newsletter plug. When writing guest posts, always include a call-to-action inviting readers to join your mailing list. This allows you to tap into new audiences when content marketing.

The key is making it quick and rewarding for readers to subscribe in various contexts. Avoid being pushy or overpromising. Transparency about email volume sets proper expectations. With a compelling and honest call-to-action, you can steadily expand your list of engaged contacts.

A Quick Word on the Importance of an Email Marketing PlatformA-Quick-Word-on-the-Importance-of-an-Email-Marketing-Platform-Internal-Image-19-April-2024

As a scrappy author trying to push your book, it might be tempting to just send a bulk email to all your friends, family, and your entire list of contacts. If your goal is actually making money as a writer though, we’d strongly advise against this!

Instead, you’re better off creating an account with an email marketing platform like SendX. Why? The best answer is that it will help your emails better avoid the dreaded spam folder. The unfortunate reality is email filters don’t trust the average Jane or Joe when they fire off an email to multiple people. They have no way of confirming that all these people you mass shouted out to actually want to hear from you.

On the other hand, when you send a bulk email through an email marketing platform, it’s going to have all the markers and protocols on it that service providers are looking for that tell them your email is safe to go to a user’s inbox. So, if you want to avoid your precious newsletters going into the digital junk pile, use an email marketing platform.

Encourage Engagement

Once you have subscribers, the focus shifts to keeping them engaged. Your goal is to provide value that makes readers eager to hear from you. Useful techniques for encouraging email engagement include:

Send new release announcements in your newsletter. Give subscribers early access to new book launches. Share your excitement in an authentic way. Include pre-order links, glimpses of the cover, and details on the premise.

Share excerpts, samples, and sneak peeks with your list. Send subscribers exclusive excerpts from your latest work in progress. This gives them a taste of what's to come and incentivizes pre-orders.

Use segmentation to send personalized recommendations. Divvy up your list based on past purchases and engagement. Then tailor content accordingly. For example, send serialized installments of a new novella only to your most avid fans.

Enable book reviews and testimonial collection. Many email services let you easily collect product reviews from contacts. Reach out asking subscribers who enjoyed your book to leave an honest review where they purchased it.

Poll subscribers for input on next projects. Engage your audience by surveying them about what they'd like to see from you next. Ask for suggestions on new stories, topics, or formats. Let them guide your creative process.

The goal is to demonstrate you value their time and attention. Avoid over promoting or pushing purchases, though. Instead, think of creative ways to involve your subscribers and thank engaged contacts.

Promote Your (Entire) Catalog

A robust email list also enables you to actively promote your full catalog of work, not just new releases. Here are a few ideas:

Spotlight backlist titles and evergreen books. Periodically highlight older books that are still relevant. Share fun facts about the inspirations or creative process behind these releases.

Offer limited-time discounts on older releases. Run periodic promotions offering 25-50% off previous titles. This incentivizes subscribers who missed them the first time to purchase at a lower price point.

Bundle books to provide additional value. Combine 3-4 thematically related titles into discounted bundle deals. This allows you to repackage books in creative ways.

Send timely recommendations tied to events. When tied to holidays, current events, or seasonal themes, spotlighting a backlist title feels fresh. An autumnal book in October or a love story around Valentine's Day, for example.

Share positive reviews and reader stories. Collect and showcase testimonials, ratings, and reader experience stories to build excitement about your books. Social proof matters.

The goal is to surface older releases that align with subscribers' interests. Time these promotional emails carefully to avoid overwhelming contacts. Offer honest value, not constant demands to purchase. With creativity and restraint, you can effectively reengage fans with your full range of titles.

You Can Even Build Your Audience Before You Have a Book Written

While having a completed book is ideal before starting to build your email list, savvy authors know it's never too early to start growing your audience. By establishing connections with potential readers from the very beginning, you'll have an eager group of fans ready to support your book launch when the time comes.

Even if your book is still just an outline or a work-in-progress, there are several ways to start cultivating your email list:

Share Your Writing Journey

Offer a behind-the-scenes look at your creative process by starting an email newsletter or blog. Share snippets of your writing, discuss your inspiration and research, and give readers a chance to follow along as your book takes shape. This sort of insider access builds anticipation and investment in your forthcoming work.

Launch a Lead Magnet

Create a free resource related to the themes, genres, or topics your book will explore. This could be a short story, a downloadable guide or workbook, or even a fun quiz. Promote this "lead magnet" online and give it away in exchange for email sign-ups. Your audience gets valuable content, and you start building a list of interested readers.

Leverage Your Personal Brand

If you don't have a book yet, focus your efforts on showcasing your expertise and establishing yourself as a credible voice in your niche or genre. Share thoughts and advice through guest posts, podcast interviews, or speaking engagements. Always include a call-to-action to join your mailing list so audience members can follow your creative journey.

Take proactive steps long before your book's release date, and you'll transform casual email readers into an enthusiastic group of supporters ready to help your book hit the ground running. With an engaged audience eagerly awaiting your book's arrival, your journey from author to successful published writer becomes much easier.

Where to Go From Here

If you want to sell more books, you need to be leveraging email. Full stop!

With the power of email platforms, independent authors and publishers have an unprecedented ability to control discoverability and connect with fans. So start building those mailing lists! A vibrant tribe of subscribers can support you throughout your creative career. Put in the work to cultivate it.

Want to launch your author email list with ease? Click here to get started with SendX for free!

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