As an author, we know how important it is to connect with our readers and build a loyal fanbase. One of the best ways to do that is through email marketing. Email marketing allows us to communicate directly with our readers, build our brand, and promote our books. However, many authors are unsure of where to start with email marketing. In this article, we’ll cover the basics of email marketing for authors, including what it is, why it’s important, and how to get started.
What is Email Marketing?
Email marketing is the practice of using email to promote your brand or products to a targeted audience. In the case of authors, this means using email to connect with your readers and promote your books. With email marketing, you can send regular newsletters with updates, and promotions directly to your readers’ inboxes.
Why is Email Marketing Important for Indie Authors?
Email marketing is important for authors because it allows you to build a direct relationship with your readers. By collecting email addresses from your website or social media, you can create a list of subscribers who are interested in your work. This list is a valuable asset, as it allows you to promote your books directly to those subscribed to your newsletter.
In addition, email marketing can help you build your brand and establish yourself as an authority in your genre. By providing valuable content to your subscribers, such as behind the scenes, first drafts, character art, history, promotions, short stories, blogs, writing tips, writing tools, book recommendations, etc you can build trust and credibility with your audience.
Lastly everyone has an email! Not everyone has a social media account and not everyone is on the social media accounts you use. However, everyone has an email. It is a requirement of modern day digital life.
How to Get Started with Email Marketing for Authors:
Choose an Email Service Provider (ESP)
The first step to building your mailing list is to choose an email service provider (ESP). An ESP is a platform that allows you to send emails to a list of subscribers. Some popular ESPs for authors include Mailerlite, Mailchimp, ConvertKit, Send Fox and UseInbox. Most offer a FREE tier where you can build a basic mailing list with limited tools for free. Allowing you to familiarise yourself with the software and when your reader mailing list grows, they will have a subscriptions service for you to expand into.
Build Your Author Mailing List
Once you’ve chosen an ESP, the next step is to start building your list of subscribers. You can do this by adding a sign-up form to your website or offering a free download in exchange for an email address. Make sure to clearly communicate the benefits of subscribing to your list, such as exclusive content or discounts on your books. And remember to comply with GDPR and similar data regulations. Sign up for my newsletter here.
Create Your Campaign
Once you have a list of subscribers, it’s time to start creating your email campaigns. This could include a monthly newsletter, book release announcements, or exclusive content for your subscribers. Make sure to provide value to your subscribers in every email, whether that’s through useful tips, entertaining stories, or exclusive discounts. Afterall you are a writer, a newsletter is a fantastic place to write, to express ideas and learn a new skills. Yes, writing short engaging prose is different from writing epic fantasy, but you will master it, you are a writer 🙂
Track Your Results
Finally, it’s important to track your results and adjust your strategy as needed. Most ESPs provide analytics on open rates, click-through rates, and other important metrics. Use this data to refine your campaigns and make sure you’re providing value to your subscribers.
Now You have your author newsletter up and running, here are some tips to help it grow.
1: Make it Easy to Sign Up
First, make it easy for readers to sign up for your newsletter. This means including a sign-up form on your website, social media pages, and other online channels. You can also offer incentives for signing up, such as a free ebook or exclusive content. However, the negatives to giving away lots of free books etc, is folks just looking for FREE and that turning into low open rates. My newsletter is situated on the MENU/Navigation bar and a sign up box on desktop on the right hand side.
2: Be Consistent
Consistency is key when it comes to building an audience with a newsletter. Make sure to send your newsletters on a regular schedule, such as once a month or once a week. This will help you stay top-of-mind with your subscribers and build a loyal following. I send one newsletter per month for example.
3: Segment Your List
One of the most effective ways to make your email marketing campaigns more effective is to segment your list. This means dividing your subscribers into different groups based on their interests, book, genre, location, or behavior. By sending targeted emails to these groups, you can provide more personalised content and increase engagement.
For example, you could create a segment for readers who have purchased your books in the past and send them exclusive content or early access to new releases. Or, you could create a segment for readers who have shown interest in a particular genre and send them book recommendations or writing tips.
4: Use Interesting Subject Lines
The subject line of your email is the first thing that your subscribers will see, so it’s important to make it compelling. A good subject line should be clear, concise, and give your subscribers a reason to open your email.
Try to make your subject lines eye-catching and personalized to your audience. For example, instead of using a generic subject line like “Newsletter #5,” try something more personalized like “Exclusive Book Recommendations Just for You.” If you’re looking for inspiration, check out my blog 699 Headlines To Set Your Blog On Fire. However, I personally just label my newsletters after the month and the year, play around and see what works for you and your audience.
5: Personalise Your Newsletters
Personalising your newsletters can help you build a stronger connection with your readers. This could include addressing your subscribers by name, including personalised recommendations based on their reading preferences, or sharing personal stories or anecdotes. Most software allows you to capture the subscribers email and name. Once this information is captured, there is functionality to address the emails to the first name or the surname etc.
6: Provide Value in Every Email
I am going to state this again, provide value. Your new subscribers have given you permission to email them, so it’s important to provide value in every email you send. There are so many things in today’s world competing for our attention. If there is no value they will unsubscribe. This value could be in the form of writing tips, book recommendations, giveaways, new book content or exclusive content. By providing value, you’ll keep your subscribers engaged and build a loyal fanbase. My emails can be random, about new advancements in technology, author related news, AI art, marketing ideas, recent blogs I have written, recent holidays or adventures, new chapters written, etc etc. Make it uniquely yours and make it worth reading.
7: Use a Clear Call-to-Action
Every email you send should have a clear call to action (CTA). This could be to buy your book, sign up for an event, or visit your website. Make sure that your CTA is clear, concise, and easy to find. After all, a newsletter is a form of marketing and we build these newsletters to sell more books.
8: Test and Refine Your Campaigns
It’s important to test and refine your email marketing campaigns. This means tracking your results, experimenting with different tactics, and adjusting your strategy as needed. Most email service providers offer analytics on open rates, click-through rates, and other important metrics. Use this data to refine your campaigns and make sure you’re providing value to your subscribers. I have had newsletters that had lots of clicks and other that have had none. I take time to think about the reasons why? What was different? What were the topics covered? Was it art heavy or copy heavy? Was it of value or just spammy promotional crap? Anaylse and refine.
9: Delete Unsubscribers
Most newsletter software is pay per month, for this you get X amount of subscribers. Do not continue to flog a dead horse and use your precious resources sending emails to those who do not open them. As an indie author, resources can be tight, a lot of email subscribers will not even open any of your newsletters. Set a rule, like three months with no open rates and you delete them from your list. Every email counts, every subscriber counts, you do not want to be paying for emails that are not being read.
10: Do Not Spam
Yes, send regular email, start with your first email and keep to your email schedule, but as you will be aware, email spam is a horrendous thing and unfortunately authors are amongst the worst offenders. I do not need eight thousands emails in one month from every cross promotion you have signed up for. X has released a book, Y has a competition, Z is about to boil the kettle. Email your readers with value, not spam.
11: Author Cross Promotions
A good way to build your list fast is to team up with other authors to offer massive giveaways, group promos, etc. This is a surefire way to build your email list fast. And author cross promotions can be an effective way to get lots of new folks to join your email list. However, I once signed up for a bumper bonanza 50 free fantasy books. The authors had used a site to facilitate this (article comings soon). When I signed up, I actually signed up to all 50 author newsletters at once. Over the next few days I received around 15 of the promised books, and more email spam than one man can handle. It was like an avalanche, each authors auto scheduled crap bombs attacking at once, fighting for those new subscribers’ precious time.
12: Email marketing vocabulary for authors
As you explore your email mail marketing strategy, you’ll probably come across the following language. Most terms you will be fully aware of, however, here are some brief explanations to get you knowledgeable:
Subscribers – Theses are the folks who’ve chosen to sign up for you marketing emails.
List – Your list of email subscribers.
Subject Line – The heading to the email and the part you read to decide whether to open the full email.
Preview Text – A preview to the email, below the subject line that you can read before opening the full email.
Spam – Mass marketing, phishing, and nefarious emails sent to someone who hasn’t elected to receive it.
Open Rate – Percentage of people who opened your emails.
Click Through Rate (CTR) – Percentage of people who clicked a link in your email.
Bounce Rate – Percentage of emails that never made it to an inbox.
Conversion Rate – Percentage of people who followed a CTA in your email, such as, “Buy my book”. This is related to CTR.
Double Opt-In – Requesting that subscribers verify their desire to obtain emails from you by clicking on a verification link in the initial email.
Email Campaign – An individual email or a succession of emails created to accomplish an objective, like inspiring people to pre-order your book.
Landing Page – A web page accessed through a link in your email (or other form of advertising) that typically encourages a purchase is known as a landing page.
13: Must Haves
Prior to launching your email promotional campaign, it’s essential to have certain elements in place.
- An unsubscribe link in every email.
- A landing page or a full website where people can sign up for your email list.
- An email marketing software.
- Passion and commitment, it is a long road. but your an author, you can handle it.
14: Let The World Know.
Tell people about your email list, shout it loud and shout it proud. SIGN UP. Let your social media followers, your fans, your family, your friends, your colleagues etc. Put it on your website, your email signature, in your book, on your Amazon pages, your good reads and anywhere else you can.
15: Welcome Email
Last but not least. When someone signs up to your email, send them (automatically) a welcome email, a quick thank you. This welcome email is where you would send instructions on how to redeem any FREE items offered etc. Personally I just say thanks for subscribing and what they can expect. Sign up to my newsletter to see an example.
Conclusion Email Marketing For Authors What You Need To Know
Send an email, keep it regular, build by providing value and before you know it, you will have a great marketing resource at your disposal.
If you enjoyed this article, feel free to share it, on social or in your newsletter! Check out my books, software recommendations and author related blogs.
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Q: How often should I send emails to my subscribers? A: This will depend on your audience and the type of content you’re providing. However, most authors send emails once a month or once every few weeks.
Q: What type of content should I include in my emails? A: This will also depend on your audience, but some popular types of content for authors include book recommendations, writing tips, and behind-the-scenes looks at your writing process.
Q: Can I use email marketing to sell my books? A: Yes, email marketing can be a powerful tool for promoting your books and driving sales. Just make sure to provide value to your subscribers in every email, rather than just asking them to buy your books.