Building an Email List for Your Fiction Books
Marketing yourself into a six- or seven-figure income bracket as a fiction author is beyond hard, yet many authors are accomplishing this all the time. Let’s make no mistake about it: it’s hard as hell. But is it worth it? Absolutely, it is. There are many benefits to starting, growing, and cultivating your email marketing list, but today, the one reason we want to focus on is this: Building an email list for your fiction books will help you sell more books.
There are a lot of ways fiction authors like yourself have built their email list, but in this post, we’re going to talk about four specific ways you can grow your list.
Building an Email List through Publishing
One of the easiest way to start collecting emails through your list is publishing your books. All it takes is one simple page at the beginning of your book. You simply tell your readers that if they love your books and want to receive updates on your future releases, they can sign up for your email list on your website. And then you give them your link. Easy peasy.
This strategy requires very little effort on your part, so it is one of the first things I always recommend my clients do. If your reader loves your books, it never fails that they will sign up for your email list. You can play around with what the text says to see what gets you the best results. Some authors talk about their upcoming releases to entice them, while others might promise free stories in exchange for their email address. Whatever strategy you plan to use, having it front and center at the beginning of the book will get you the best results.
Give Your Readers Free Stuff!
It’s pretty typical to offer free stories—or some other freebie—to entice your readers to sign up for your email list. The challenge there is in keeping them, though, so I’d recommend not offering this until you feel you have a solid strategy with automations and planned content to motivate them to stay for a while.
Short stories related to the current release work really well for freebies if you are a fiction author. The plus side to writing these short stories, too, is that you can also offer them for sale on e-book retailers for those fans who have opted out of signing up for your email list.
This is a bit more work, so it takes some time getting it right, especially if you are new to writing short stories. For people who haven’t read your work yet, this sets the tone for your published books that are out there and the ones you have yet to write. So, if they don’t like your freebie, you are risking losing a fan for life. That’s why I recommend working with either a ghostwriter or editor to ensure your story is the best it can be.
Building an Email List through Newsletter Builders
A newsletter builder is a group of authors in specific genres who come together to offer a collective group of freebies to entice a lot of readers to sign up for the list. Often, you will see a lot of the same people signing up for these builders, so it’s likely not something that will work out for you if you plan to sign up for a bunch of them.
I’d also recommend building this into your strategy as well. Limit yourself to two or three newsletter builders to get you started with a respectable-size list, then focus on connecting with your new fans. These new sign-ups more than likely haven’t read your work, so you want to make sure you introduce yourself once you add them to your list so they can get a feel for what you and your books are about.
I’ve seen authors build email marketing lists of 10,000 subscribers or more just from using newsletter builders for a few months. But keep in mind that there is no guarantee you’ll get that many with this strategy—it will depend on what genre you’re writing. (For instance, cozy mystery and romance newsletter builders can help new authors build their lists pretty quickly because of how many fans these genres have.)
Add an Extremely Visible Sign-Up form to Your Website
Another easy way to build your list organically is through adding an easy-to-find sign-up form on your website. Here are the various ways you can add something that will attract your readers’ eyes:
- Add a link in your top menu
- Add a sign-up bar at the top of your website
- Create a pop-up form that disrupts the page
- Add an inline container on your home page that asks for sign-ups
But, for any of these things to work, you must first get your readers to your website. That brings us back full circle to the first suggestion—adding a link to sign-up in your published book. However, there are other ways you can get people to your website:
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
- Links on your social media profiles
- Guest blogging on others’ websites
- Getting interviewed by bloggers
- Going on book podcasts
- Getting book reviews on other websites
If you have a large email marketing list, I’d love to hear from you about what worked best. (And, if you’re interested in doing an interview, I’m always down for that.) You can tell us what worked and what didn’t work in the comments below.