This has been trial and error for me over the years but now I feel like I finally have a handle on it and my mailing list is growing nice and steadily. Before I was unconvinced that an author’s mailing list could be as important as everyone was claiming it was. Now that I see my list growing in numbers daily and I’m actually getting interaction and sales from my loyal readers I see just how important an author’s mailing list is. There are many methods for growing your mailing list. I’ve tried many, some work better than others but I’ve found if you test out to find what combination is right for you then you can’t go wrong. A lot of times authors can’t afford to invest in signing up with an email marketing service so I’ve put together some free and effective methods for you to implement and monitor on your own.
This is every author’s first go to for pretty much any marketing, not wrongfully so either. If we’ve done a good job growing our social media audience then it can be a great tool for getting readers to sign up for our mailing list. In another blog I’m going to go over the best social media platforms for authors, but lets just say for argument’s sake you’ve got the basics going for your brand; Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.
One way you can build your mailing list is to be sure to include a post every once in awhile informing your followers how they can sign up for your mailing list and what your list has to offer that will be enticing to them. Every time I post one of these I get a few organic sign ups from it, nothing earth shattering but every person counts.
Another way you can use social media to gain followers is by including the link to your sign up in your bio. Believe it or not, readers actually do check out your bio to figure out what you’re all about and when they do they should be led to signing up for your mailing list. It’s a great place to include the link and also entice them by letting them know what they’re getting when they sign up. A popular method for authors is to offer a free eBook of theirs after sign up. I don’t get a ton of sign ups from my social media bio but some is better than none still!
Another way is to add the link to your email signup at the end of your messages and posts with others. This is especially helpful with Facebook. Often I don’t remember to do this, and mainly because Mailchimp doesn’t have links I can remember by heart to add to the end of each post. I would like to try this more to see how successful it can be. I also need to try to participate better in author and reader groups to use this method.
When using your author email, or even your non-author regular email, you should include the link to sign up for your mailing list after your name. I take it one step further and include my website link, my social media links, and my mailing list links. This has been moderately successful in gaining organic followers. Not only does it encourage readers who reach out to me through email but you never know who is a reader when you exchange emails. Everyone is a potential new member of your audience if you give them the chance. All you can do is put the word out and see if you get any bites and I’ve found this to be a non-pushy, automated, and successful way of doing that.
This has, by far, been the most successful method for growing my mailing list organically with real readers and quickly. If you haven’t checked out this site yet, you need to! It’s a paid program, but it’s affordable and in my opinion well worth it. The way it works is you either give away your book as a newsletter promotion or you sell your book through a landing page. You enter your books into promotions with similar genre books and each author that participates shares it across their social media and in their newsletters. Depending on which promotion you choose you are either gathering a new member to your mailing list or you are potentially making a sale. I try to do both evenly because it’s been successful for both.
I have not had huge success with this but I blame it all on myself and not on the method. I know some authors that have had huge success with handing out business cards or bookmarks to promote their work and gain mailing list members. I am painfully shy and introverted when it comes to talking myself up and selling my work in person. If you have the guts to get out there, socialize, and talk about your work with someone face-to-face when this could be a great method for you! I’ve had tons of cards and bookmarks printed up and have given away maybe a handful. I would advice you don’t invest in it unless you’re committed to following through with it.
Sign Up Sheets at Events
I have yet to participate in a book signing or author festival or event. First of all, shy introvert here. Second, COVID put a pause to all that for a good two years. These events are just now starting to come back and even so they’re not the same as they used to be. I just don’t know if I have it in me to talk to all those people and sell myself like that, but if you do then I say go for it! There’s plenty of authors, indie and self-published, who swear by it. Whenever you’re putting together your booth or if you’re just setting up a small display on someone else’s, be sure to include a clipboard with a sign up sheet for your mailing list. You don’t have to pry into everyone’s personal information. First name and email is enough to build your list effectively. I would suggest having a check box for if they would like to sign up for your Advanced Reader Copy program too. It turns out, a lot of people are willing to sign up for this. Who doesn’t love a free book and it helps to build reviews for your new releases.
Book Back Matter
I have used this, though I have yet to check up on my link to see how successful it is but adding the link to your mailing list in the back matter of your book is a must, along with social media links and website links and sneak peeks of your other books and more. The person looking at it is obviously already interested in your work so why not let them know they can gain another book of yours for free and get monthly emails from you about you, your work, your life, and more? You’d be surprised how many readers are interested in the person who wrote the book they just enjoyed.
Make sure you have buttons or links to your mailing list displayed prominently and in several places on your website. If you look at mine the first thing you see is a banner explaining what the reader is going to get that’s special if they sign up for my list and right below is the large button for them to click. This isn’t the only place I have it either. I also include it on the bottom of the main page, in the sidebar of my blog page, on my about page, and more. From a marketing perspective, a potential customer has to see something on average seven times before they click on it to consider a purchase. Joining a mailing list isn’t as big of a financial commitment as buying a book but sometimes it still takes a little repetitive nudges to get them to do it.
Guest Blogging, Author Interviews, Book Features
A great way to get the word out about you and your work is to open yourself up to more readers through other authors and bloggers. If you google book bloggers and author blogs you can contact them personally to see if they’d be interested in either interviewing you, featuring your book, or letting you be a guest blogger on their site. When you do this be sure to include all your links including the link to sign up for your mailing list.
If you have more methods of building your mailing list please share them with everyone in the comments section. I love trying new ways to reach a wider audience, as I’m sure all authors out there do. Authors are more marketers than writers now more than ever. Let’s share information with each other to help each other grow as authors! And as always Happy Writng (and Reading!)