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Corporate Commentary

Authors: How to Build an Email Subscriber List

There was a time when you could hit ‘publish’ on a romance novel and expect a decent income from Kindle Direct Publishing. Unfortunately, this is not the case anymore. The Kindle Bookshop has been flooded with poorly written novels and short stories that lure readers away from the decent quality books. Big name authors have a brand, but authors just starting out are finding it increasingly difficult to gain traction in such a competitive marketplace.

Marketing is the key to achieving lasting success in the romance genre. It isn’t the only piece of the puzzle. You do need to stick to the tropes and write to market, but without marketing, you will struggle to find new – and loyal – readers.

One way to give your marketing strategy a boost is to start an email subscriber list. With the right approach, you can build a responsive email list in less than 30 days. And once your list is up and running, you can use it to let readers know about new books, request beta readers, and build a sustainable writing career.

Why is a List so Important?

Aside from the things we just mentioned, an email subscriber list can turn readers into advocates. By keeping readers in the loop about your work, you build momentum each time you have a new release in the pipeline. If a reader loves your work, they are likely to share the email with friends or mention you on their social media account.

Emails are a quick and easy way to reach a large number of people. You can use email to build your brand, engage with readers, and gain reviews, which is very important for new releases. With enough pre-sale reviews under your belt, your book might gain enough traction to hit the bestseller lists. And if that happens, you can enjoy a huge visibility boost, which lifts your back catalog into the spotlight.

To build an email subscriber list, make sure you do the following:

Sign Up for an Email Marketing Platform

Look at email marketing platforms, such as MailChimp or Sendinblue. This makes setting up an email subscriber list a piece of cake. Everything is done automatically, so you can concentrate on your writing.

Have an Author Website

Set up a website for your work. It really is easier than you think. Buy a domain name and invest in a hosting package. Use a content management system like WordPress and install plugins to make it nice and easy for subscribers to opt in to your email newsletter.

Include an opt-in button on your homepage, in the footer section, and on the About Me page.

If you have a blog on your site, make sure you add a link at the end of each blog and also in the content, if appropriate.

Other Newsletter Link Placement Ideas

Review your book back matter and include a link to your email newsletter. If a reader likes your work enough to finish the book, they will spot your subscriber link.

Many authors have social media pages dedicated to their writing. This is an excellent idea. Readers will find you on Facebook and Twitter if they search for your author name. It is one more way to engage with readers. Maximize the effectiveness of a social media profile by including a link to your email newsletter.

Make Readers Want to Click on That Button

You have to give readers a reason to click on the button. Just asking them to subscribe is not enough. Make it an attractive offer. Give them something for free to make it worth their while. Many authors offer readers a free book. You don’t need to give away a free novel – a short story is enough, as long as it fits your brand.

Other alternatives include bonus chapters for one of your novels, sneak previews of a new novel or cover art, or an audio version of one of your books.

Send a Welcome Email

Once someone clicks on the subscribe link, you need to send them a welcome email, letting them know what to expect, and include a link to the free gift (if applicable). The purpose of a welcome email is to engage readers, so it needs to tick a lot of boxes. Sendinblue has a list of nine welcome email examples, so you can see the kind of thing you should be aiming for. Take this advice on board – it will boost your email open rates.

Don’t Abuse Your List

Once your subscriber list begins to grow, be very careful not to abuse it. Only send out emails when you have something to say, such as a new novel or a special offer. Too many emails are bad for business and abusing a list will lead to people labeling your emails as spam or hitting the unsubscribe button.

Measure email metrics and monitor the data. That way, you can spot any problems before they affect your brand.


Have you read?

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Emma London
Emma London is a columnist and member of the ​CEOWORLD magazine editorial board. She's one of the magazine's founding editors and leads global newsroom coverage and management. Having lived in five different countries — the United States, Canada, Australia, Spain, and the United Kingdom - Emma is obsessed with how tech empowers people from all walks of life. She is fluent in Spanish.
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