Kickoff Your Mailing List: The Easy Way
The best way to guarantee your book will sell is if you already have a list of raving fans to sell to. While growing your mailing list feels like a low-priority task early in your publishing career, it won’t take long before you realize how important it is. You need to build hype around future books. You need to let people know when you have a release coming out… so how do you get people to sign up.
There are many ways to get readers, and usually these don’t require a lot of maintenance. Once you set these pathways up and hook them to your email provider, you’ll have a fully automated path (or several) that will help you land a dedicated list.
Sign-ups from your books. The back of every book you write should have an invitation to sign up. You can design the page yourself, but some publishing services (like Draft2Digital) also have a simpler integrated option that will give your readers a basic prompt. The only problem with this kind of sign-up is that you still have to rely on readers finding your books and purchasing them before they are very familiar with you.
Sign-ups from your site. Like the situation above, getting people to sign onto your list from your website means that you first have to get people to visit your site. This is easier for some people than others but can be challenging if you don’t have any good way to collect traffic.
Sign-ups from reader magnets. This is the best option of those listed so far. A reader magnet is a book, short story, or other prizes that you give away for free to anyone who signs up. You can read more about creating an effective reader magnet here, but it’s basically a fun bonus potential readers can get without spending money, right as they develop a taste for your writing.
One good strategy is to advertise your reading magnets in your books and on your list and to have a pinned post on social media letting people know it’s available. Then you can use a service like Book Funnel or StoryOrigin to deliver it to anyone who signs up.
Tip: Whatever strategy you use, quality is far better than quantity here! No opens or clicks on your emails means no sales or royalties for you, so make sure you go the extra mile in reaching out to potential audiences who would genuinely enjoy your book.
Supercharging Your List
The above tactics should help you grow your lists organically all the time and shouldn’t involve much, if any, effort after the initial setup. But how can you make your list explode?
Simply having a free book available is helpful and will win readers over time, but you’re unlikely to get more than a small (though consistent) trickle of sign-ups over time. It can take a while to build your list up to a number you can be proud of, whether that’s 200 or 20,000.
If you want to build your list in leaps and bounds, you’ll need to run a few giveaways. You can do these giveaways alone, but your results will be better if you run a group promotion with other authors. There are several ways to organize and host giveaways, but below are some of the simpler ones if you want to get started.
StoryOriginApp: StoryOrigin is a one-stop shop for book promotion. For an annual subscription, you can host and join as many giveaways and promotions as you want. This is great if you’re getting started and trying to build an initial base, and it integrates easily with mailing services.
AuthorsXP: AuthorsXP hosts regular genre-based giveaways for authors. There is a fee to join each giveaway, but you get the emails of every person who signs up—which easily rises into the hundreds or thousands per giveaway.
KingSumo: What if you want to go it alone? I’ve had moderate success hosting my own book giveaways on King Sumo, and it’s an effective way to get followers on social media as well as email sign-ups. However, if you’re the only author featured, you will need to get paid social media boosts to advertise for your giveaway. Otherwise, you won’t get much in return.
What tactics have helped you boost your mailing list? Please share your strategies in the comment section below or click on the blue button below to join my Facebook group for self-publishing fiction writers.