Rachel Thompson our fearless and filterless leader of authors and social media practices opened up her blog to answering YOUR questions. It’s my pleasure to have the opportunity to be one of those that provides tips and answers.
Apollo Papafrangou posed these questions about email marketing.
“Is it essential to have an email list as an author; how do you build a list before having a book released? I’m signed up for to a few mailing lists, but they don’t necessarily make me want to run out and buy books. Often it feels like more mail filling up my box. “
Let me begin by saying that all marketing is subjective. Some people will have more success than others will in certain realms. However, what you absolutely don’t want to do is discredit a marketing opportunity without at least trying it.
With that in mind, I’m going to give you some information and at least three ways to build a list.
Let’s address the first part of Apollo’s excellent and valid question.
Is it essential to have an email list as an author?
No, it’s not. You won’t be breaking some hidden code secret ninja author golden rule. However, you are limiting yourself from utilizing an excellent resource. Think about it. Wouldn’t it be great if you had a list of your readers who say bought the first book in a trilogy you could email and say book two will be available on this date? You can’t do that unless you provide a way for them to sign up.
How do you build a list before having a book released? I’m going to give you three ways to build a list before your book releases and one for after.
- Create a resource such as a top ten list, a character quiz or a short story eBook. Then offer it as a download to all your email contacts. This keeps you from automatically importing everyone you know into an email list. This gives them the opportunity to PICK to be on that list. Because really we don’t like be adding to lists we haven’t chose to be on. (Ed note: adding people without permission is also against the CAN–SPAM Act of 2003.)
- Take that same resource and offer it in a non-spammy way on your social media platforms. I say do it organically for at least four weeks. Then, if you have the money, pay to boost a post on Twitter or your Facebook page.
- As authors we always eventually end up at an event, whether as an attendee or a featured author and/or speaker. I suggest having a giveaway with something of value that compliments your platform. Such as a swag basket, tickets to a show, an iPad, or e-reader of some kind. The way readers can enter is by signing up with an email address. (For more tips for authors and events check out my blog post.)
- Finally, here is a tip for after you have published your book. In the back of your eBook and print book provide a link for readers to sign up to receive news about your upcoming releases. Remember question one about letting your readers of book one of a trilogy know about book two’s release…this is how you can do it.
In addition, to these tips I want to address the statement Apollo made about feeling newsletters are just full of noise. We all have a choice to unsubscribe at any time. And, believe me, it will happen. Nurturing an email list is a constant exercise. You need to reevaluate the day you send, how often, what your content is, how are your subjects doing, etc.
It can easily become overwhelming that’s why I think it’s good to at least use the resources that are out there. You could talk to a consultant like me or Rachel or make use of the free YouTube videos experts create.
Thanks for having me as a guest Rachel. I hope I’ve provided value to the group and can continue to support authors as they navigate the email marketing realm.
Feel free to connect with me on social media or drop me an email.
About Bri Clark:
Bri Clark is a real example of redemption and renewal. Growing penniless in the South, Bri learned street smarts while caring for her brother in a broken home. She watched her mother work several jobs to care for their small family. Once her brother could fend for himself, Bri moved on to a series of bad choices including leaving school and living on her own. Rebelliousness was a strong understatement to describe those formative years. As a teenager, her wakeup call came from a fight with brass knuckles and a judge that gave her a choice of shaping up or spending time in jail. She took that opportunity and found a way to moved up from the streets. She ended up co-owning an extremely successful construction business. She lived the high life until the real estate crash when she lost everything. She moved west and found herself living with her husband and 4 kids in a 900 square foot apartment. She now fills her time, writing, blogging, owning a publishing house, a marketing company, speaking on social media and sharing her southern culture. Her unique background gives her writing a raw sensibility. She understands what it takes to overcome life’s obstacles. She often tells friends, “I can do poor. I’m good at poor. It’s prosperity that I’m not used to.” Bri and her husband Chris live in Boise. Bri is known as the Belle of Boise for her true southern accent, bold demeanor and hospitable nature.