You’re ready to move your writing career to the next level, so you’ve worked hard to build an author mailing list of your fans and followers. You have an account with MailChimp, MailerLite, or some other e-mail marketing automation platform. In the back matter of all your books, you encourage readers to join your mailing list. The same invitation is pinned to the top of your Twitter feed and your Facebook newsfeed. And on Instagram, you periodically post an invite for readers to sign up. In other words, you’ve worked hard to build a newsletter subscriber list—so why aren’t people signing up?
Perhaps you aren’t offering the right hook or incentive. Fortunately, the marketing experts at Web Design Relief have a list of great ways to make your readers an offer they can’t refuse.
How To Effectively Entice Readers To Sign Up For Your Author Mailing List
Build Your Mailing List With A Free Book
To coax readers to follow you, consider offering them what they want the most: a free book! Specifically, a free e-book.
Before the digital disruption of publishing, the idea of offering a free book meant paying full price for a copy and mailing it, a cost-prohibitive venture when you’re hoping to attract thousands to your author mailing list. But with the advent of e-books, self-publishing, and an easy-to-use service like BookFunnel, offering up a free e-book to new subscribers can be effortless and free!
Using this kind of grand incentive is one of the best ways to move your social media fans and followers to your mailing list.
Lure Fans And Followers With Exclusive Content
Books aren’t the only powerful incentive you can offer. Followers and fans want to be part of the “in” crowd, so consider giving people who join your newsletter some uber-exclusive content, which may also prod them into buying your books.
Exclusive content options could include:
- A bonus prologue or epilogue to your most popular novel.
- A deleted scene from your latest novel.
- A sneak-preview of the first chapter of an upcoming book.
- A novella or short story in your series world written exclusively for newsletter subscribers.
Nonfiction writers may want to offer:
- A resources page where readers can get more information about the topic at hand.
- A favorite recipe that is representative of, but not found in, your cookbook.
- A cheat sheet of bonus information, such as “best knitting tips” or “how to make a log cabin out of Popsicle sticks.”
If you’re looking to increase traffic to your author website, you can make this exclusive content available on a “locked” or “hidden” page accessible only to newsletter subscribers.
Boost Sign-Ups With Fresh, Original Content Ideas
Mark Dawson, a hugely successful British writer of spy thrillers, uses a partly redacted fictional MI5 “case file” on his main James-Bond-like character as a highly successful sign-up incentive. Dedicated readers of his novels may already know most of this information, but the compilation is original and intriguing.
Consider these other ideas:
- An annotated family tree for your fantasy novel or multigenerational saga
- A timeline that maps the evolution of your long-running series
- A short nonfiction book about the creatures that live in the world you’ve imagined in your sci-fi or fantasy novel
- Unrevealed backstory about the villain or monster in your horror novel
Maintaining an author mailing list is actually more important than social media when it comes to building a true-blue following for your work. Social media platforms change their algorithms all the time. On a whim, they could switch up the way they do business and significantly reduce your reach, since your list of followers is in their hands. So build your mailing list with gusto and confidence: Your cultivated list of email subscribers will always belong to YOU.
Question: What incentive does your favorite author use to entice readers to sign up to his or her list?