How to Build An Author Email List


Building an email list.
 
One of the most important things you can do for your authorpreneur journey.
 
We talked last week about the importance of having an email list as a vehicle to stay connected to your readers. Your assignment was to sign up for an email list platform if you didn’t already have one.
 
If you forgot (like I often do), then put it on your to-do list RIGHT NOW. Or better yet stop reading this post, do it now, and then come back.
 
Today we are going to talk about the HOW of building your list. Now I warn you it’s not going to be easy. List building can be difficult and frustrating until you find what works and people start to respond.
 
Then it’s awesome.
 
Now I know I shouldn’t feel validated by how many people like my social media posts or sign up for my email list. But I’m only human, and I can’t help but get excited when someone signs up for mine. On the flip side, it can be hard to take when someone unsubscribes. But you can’t take it personally.
 
It’s going to happen, and it’s ok.

 

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Anyways we can talk about our feelings later over coffee.
 
Let’s dive right into the best ways to start building that list.
 
Have a website – To get subscribers on your email list you need to have a place for them to subscribe. Your virtual home I like to say, and the logical place is a website.
 
Sidebar – I have a guy for that who is awesome and uber affordable. Even for people starting out. Contact Chris at 801red.com and tell him you’re an author and Laina sent you!
 
Do think you don’t need one because you haven’t published your book yet. You don’t need anything fancy when you’re starting your career, but you need a place to connect with your readers, and somewhere they can find out more about you and your work.
 
Basic Contact Form – The different email marketing providers, will have tools for you to make forms. This allows you to put a form on your site where your reader can enter their name and email (or whatever information you want), and you’re able to collect it. Then you can send out all sorts of fun stuff to them and start engaging them as your audience.
 
However, having a website with a contact form is not enough to actually get people to sign up. Don’t let me wrong you will have people land on your site and sign up but you need to
 
A- get them there in the first place
 
B- compel them to sign up
 
Blog posts – Many authors who blog and many don’t. Like everything else in the world, there are many differing opinions on the why or why not to blog. I think it’s a good thing to do. And you don’t have to blog about writing. You can blog about anything. It’s a good way to connect with you readers on a personal level.
 
Content upgrades and/or Calls to action – these are elements that provide the compel part of getting people to sign up. You offer them something absolutely fabulous in exchange for their email address.
 
Some ideas:
 
Excerpts – Offer excerpts and teasers to your books and upcoming books. You want to get people excited about what you’re writing. Giving them a sneak preview of what’s to come is a great way to do that.
 
Free chapters – I have the first chapter free as a download on all my books. It’s a chapter and if it gets them hooked, and they buy the full book, then how awesome is that. If they download a chapter and don’t buy the book. Well, it’s still not hurting me.
 
Character or setting background – A good writer often leaves a lot to the imagination of the reader. But, if a reader is engaged in your work they often want to know more. They don’t want the story to end. Offering tidbits that aren’t in the book but in your mind while writing can be exciting for a reader. It’s getting insider information and who doesn’t love that?.
 
Short stories – You might want to write a short story that’s an offshoot of your current characters or entirely new ones. This could also be a great way to test out story ideas and see how interested people are in a certain concept.
 
These are just a few ideas and don’t think you have to do them all. Pick one or two that you feel create enough value that it will entice someone to join your list.
 
If it doesn’t seem to be working, meaning you’re not converting people who land on your form to actual subscribers, then revisit your offer.
 
Keep tweaking it until you hit on something people are signing up in droves for. It can take a lot of trial and error to find the thing people want.

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— laina

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