Promote Yourself: Email Marketing

October 29, 2021

What if social media disappeared tomorrow? Or if the algorithm suddenly changed, and there were no eyes on your content? Do you have a solid backup plan?  

In fact, email marketing isn’t just a backup plan. If used properly, it can be a vital part of your book’s success. As a bonus, email tends not to change in drastic and unpredictable ways like social media.

Building your mailing list can help you reach hundreds, even thousands of your ideal readers. It provides you a (near) direct line to let readers know about upcoming events and books, plus it gives readers a chance to get to know you.

Email Marketing Automation Services

Today, there are several services that help make email marketing easier, including: 

Each platform has a variety of features and different payment plans. Most services include email templates with easy-to-use interfaces to spend less time worrying about coding and more time creating content for your audience.

No matter which email marketing service you choose, you can typically find easy-to-follow instructions to set up landing pages and sign-up forms. Direct your readers and potential subscribers to your sign-up forms via a social media post, an advertisement, or a pop-up form on your website. 

Creating Valuable Content

So your email marketing service is all set up—now what? 

You’ll need to create content that your ideal reader persona will find valuable, relevant, intriguing, and worth giving you their email address.

Downloadable Lead Magnets

To build your mailing list, you’ll typically offer up a freebie (lead magnet) that provides value in exchange for an email address. It’s a great tool to reflect the quality of your work giving potential readers a taste of your style and hopefully a thirst for more! 

Common lead magnets include:

  • The first chapter in your series
  • A series prequel in eBook or audiobook format
  • A sample of your audiobook
  • A collection of short stories
  • A newsletter
  • A checklist, worksheet, or how-to guide
  • Contests and giveaways

Depending on your genre, the type of lead magnet you create may differ. A self-help author might give away a meditation video series or a "10 steps to master meditation" checklist. Authors of fiction in any genre might offer a prequel to a series or a short story in the same genre.

Exclusive Email Content

Your email content can include anything your ideal reader persona would find valuable and relevant. Announce a new book release, early access cover reveals, or behind-the-scenes sneak peeks into audiobook production or your writing process. You might choose to pepper in a relatable personal update, a recent blog post, or an event where readers can find you.

  • New book releases
  • Early access cover reveals
  • Behind-the-scenes sneak peeks into the audiobook production or writing process
  • Relevant personal updates
  • Recent blog posts
  • Genre specific articles
  • Cross-promotion with another author in your genre
  • Upcoming events
  • Pre-order or purchase your work
  • Asking for reviews

Email marketing is a balance of give and take. Ideally, give your readers relevant, entertaining, valuable content more often than you ask them for favors. 

Call To Action

What do you want your reader to do with the information they’ve received? Within every piece of content, give your new subscriber a call to action or a next step. 

  • Pre-order your next release
  • Share with a friend or on social media
  • Connect with you on social media
  • Buy your next book
  • Leave a review (Your mailing list can help you narrow down your list of superfans who will continuously help you out)

Make your call to action as easy as possible to complete by removing any potential barriers that could prevent them from taking action.

Experiment and Observe

Keep an eye on your inbox to see what works for you as a reader. 

What entices you to subscribe and open a marketing email from a business? What value do they provide? Is it the catchy headline or the promise of something valuable and free?

You don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Watch the marketing journey of other successful authors that you admire and take notes! There may be some techniques that you could implement in your email marketing journey.

Sales, marketing, and tech might not be what you signed up for when you decided to become an author; there might be a bit of a learning curve in the beginning. If you’re reading this, you’re likely a self-published author. You’ve been resourceful enough to navigate the publishing industry and launch a book! Here’s a little dose of encouragement if you need it—you can do this!

Check out other email marketing resources and best practices here: