With this article, I’m addressing primarily everyone who writes books for a living. (Or, hopes to earn a living at any rate.)
I meet writers on a regular basis and I always ask questions about how they use social media to promote themselves and their books.
One thing I’ve noticed that separates writers who regularly make money out of their writing from those who don’t is a good email list.
(There are a few other things that matter in making money out of writing like being able to write a good book in the first place that people want to read. But, that’s beyond the scope of this article.)
Creating and using a good email list is not some dark mystery, although some would treat it as such.
Let’s talk about this!
An email list is critical for writers because it allows them to stay in contact with people who like their writing and would purchase their next book if they only knew about it.
Email lists can also be used to encourage readers to leave reviews on sites like Amazon.
Email lists can also be segmented for different categories of recipients such as book reviewers, bloggers, and bookstores.
The only thing the aspiring writer needs to do is build an email list!
Unfortunately, these take time which is why I recommend getting started early, even before the book is written.
The first step is selecting a tool to use.
I recommend Mailchimp to my clients because it is initially free until a limit is reached while Constant Contact only offers a free thirty day trial.
(Full disclosure, I use Mailchimp myself.)
An important point, these products will keep you from running afoul of the US CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 which you don’t want to do.
Next, I recommend having a blog/website to permit people to sign up to join the email list.
How do you get people to give you their email address?
Offer them something!
Lead magnets like newsletters, a short story, a free, digital copy of a book are all good ways to get started.
Have a landing page on your blog/website to collect these.
Other opportunities to collect email addresses are:
- Sign-up sheets at readings or conferences
- Include a Call to Action in your books either inside or on the back cover directing readers where to go
- Have a link on all your social media and hard copy marketing materials directing readers where to go
- Periodically on your social media, send out notices asking for sign-ups
Do these actions soon and regularly, and you too will have a healthy, growing email list!
Now, once you have that list, what do you do with it?
First off, don’t abuse it!
Don’t spam your addressees and don’t ignore them either.
Regularly stay in contact with them.
Share your progress, let them know a launch date is approaching, share some of the research for your books, send a short story, deep character backgrounds not found in your books, or whatever else you may have that is original and novel.
Don’t just only send out emails that say, “Buy my books!”
That’s a sure way to get people to opt out of your email list.
Once your email list is growing, each time you launch a new book, you’ll find pre-orders and initial sales better than the last time.
It’s a cumulative process, so don’t waste time…
That’s it for now!
Please check-out my 8 step approach for developing a social media program to get some more ideas on how to use social media.
Also, never forget to reach out to either ask questions or to ask for help from someone like myself!
In the meantime, thank you for following and reading my blog!
I look forward to any and all comments that you may have. I will reply to any comments made to this blog post as promptly as I can.
I do this for a living and if I can be of any assistance to either you or your organization, please feel free to call on me. Our initial discussion will be of no charge to you.
I can also be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My Twitter handle is @conpsweeney.