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  • Writer's pictureAmanda Clemmer

Do You Need A Reader Magnet?

Let’s face it: producing a free piece of writing for readers isn’t always convenient. You’re busy, book production is expensive, and giving something away for free feels thankless and inefficient.

In an earlier post, I explored other ways you could win people over instead of a conventionally written reader magnet. But let’s look at the bigger picture: do you really need a reader magnet… at all?


First, no strategy is absolute. Any book marketing or list-building rule you can name has a large cluster of people who break it regularly without consequences. You don’t need a reader magnet to succeed as an author. You don’t even need an email list.

Next, let’s take a look at the book-selling market and at reader mentality. If you write in series, people will have a natural incentive to read the other books in a series even if they don’t sign up to be on your list. Having a list still helps because they’ll want to know when the next book is available, but you don’t need to offer them anything to sign up.

Then we come to Kindle Unlimited. Several years back, the introduction of Kindle Unlimited threatened the idea of the reader magnet. As long as your books are enrolled, readers can explore your writing without risk. If they like your books, they’ll follow you without your needing to win them over. It’s worth noting that not much has changed in the realm of reader magnets since KU came around—they remain about as effective as ever because readers simply like free things.

What if you’re wide? In that case, you can always choose to make a book free later on and use that to get readers on board. You can publish a few books and sell them at full price, and when you have a bigger backlist, you can list a few books for free and then promote them to gain traction.

Finally, there are other ways to get signups onto your list. If you promise exclusive details on future releases or host regular drawings for digital or paperback copies of your books, people will still want to sign up to get in touch.


The whole point of a reader magnet is to get readers to sign up to your email list. If you have other ways of achieving that goal, then no, you don’t need a reader magnet.

Self-publishing is a very flexible and customizable industry, and just like with any other part of it, there’s no rule dictating whether this is something you need or don’t need.

But there’s more to it than that.

Second Verdict

What will help your book succeed?

That’s what it comes down to in the end. If you want to see your book flying out into the hands of enthusiastic readers, readers who will buy it from day one, a reader magnet is one of the single best ways you can reach that goal.

As always, please sign in to leave a comment below. You can also click on the blue button to join my group for self-publishing fiction writers on Facebook.


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