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Karla sold over 1000 books in her recent launch, and we know that more than 50% came from her author email list.

That’s the dream, right? To go headstrong out of the gates with a really solid performance. We have a lot of tools available to us as authors for marketing our books. But there’s really nothing stronger than the list of email addresses that we curate and we OWN. ​ 

I’ve seen the difference an email list can make for authors during a book launch. Our authors that have a strong email list do much better during their launches. Just look at Karla – over 500 books were sold through her email list.

 

You Need an Email List as an Author

​Not working on my email list earlier and more seriously is my NUMBER ONE REGRET.

​I’ve made a LOT of mistakes in navigating this publishing world, but hands down, the biggest one is that I did NOT start my email list sooner and take it more seriously. I know it’s not cool to play the comparison game, but I look at colleagues who started around the same time as me. We talk. We share details about our business. And I know that several of my colleagues focused way more on email list growth and have over 100K subscribers by this point.

​I think about my author friends who have really, really focused on doing the work, growing their lists and following, and marketing their books now and are making $10K/month in royalties on KDP! (You’ll hear from my friend author Jennie Goutet in the Women in Publishing Summit about how she’s grown to this point with very strategic steps over the last 7 years!) {link to women in publishing summit}

Wouldn’t you like to be earning $10K/ month in royalties? 

What are your dreams? 

If you were selling a ton of books and making a lot of money, what would your world look like?​

It’s okay to dream, but as my little plaque on the bookshelf behind me says, “Dreams don’t work until you do.”

​So it’s time to do the work. You don’t have to pursue your dreams alone though. You’ve got us here to save you time, energy, and money. We’re here to show you some things that really have helped us.

 

Why do you need an email list as an author?

The emphasis on social media and an influencer culture has driven this tried-and-true marketing tool to the sidelines, but it’s time to get back to basics. An email list sells books.  In fact, an email list is so vital that you should start building one before your book is even finished!

What IS an email list?  It’s the email addresses that you collect of people who were interested in whatever you were offering them. You’re looking to build a list of people who like what you are reading and will hopefully want more of it.

 

How can you use your email list as an author?

Once you’ve started building an email list, here’s how you can use it to help you grow your author platform and help you market your books, courses, training, etc.

Build Relationships

Most people who download a sample of your book, join from a promo, or download anything else you’ve put into the world to get their email address don’t know anything about you. People who don’t know you are not going to buy from you… give them a chance to get to know you and keep providing value to them. That value, or what’s called content strategy, is going to vary WIDELY depending on what genre you write and why people come to you.  

The most important reason to have an email list is that it allows you to build relationships with your audience in a new way. With emails, you can give your audience sneak peeks, resources, and updates without making it public on social media. This creates a more intimate relationship. Our inboxes have become our private space, and when your audience invites you in, it’s a privilege! Readers are more likely to respond to an email than they are to comment on a post. Email feels a bit more private and allows for those deeper conversations and connections to happen.

Share Updates and Build Excitement

It’s not just about letting people know about your book and what you’re doing. Get creative. Why do you open emails from people? I’m going to guess it’s because they are offering you something of value…  If you want people to buy a cookbook, you should be sending out regular tips, tools, and resources that help people who are cooking. If you write romance, share snippets of your books, or reviews of books your audience would also like. And from time to time, make sure you talk about you and your books. People can’t buy or read your book if they don’t know about it. 

When you’re preparing for a launch, your email list is the perfect place to share updates. This is exactly how Karla sold so many books. She let her audience know the book was coming, let them know again when it was on pre-order, and she invited them to join her launch team. She built excitement around the book before it was even available to purchase. She got a lot of pre-orders and then doubled that during the launch month. There’s a lot of debate about whether or not you should run pre-orders, but the debate ends if you have an email list. Then it’s a no brainer! YES, pre-sell to your audience! Fun fact: pre-orders can be a great indication of your book’s total lifetime sales. 

Attract New Readers

Offer up something that entices new folks to your list. An opt-i or a lead magnet are fancy ways of saying that you’re giving them something for free in exchange for their email list. This could be a special short story or an excerpt from your book, it can be a checklist or a recipe or a valuable tool to help them. Whatever makes sense to the people that will be interested in your book. For fiction authors, it’s almost always sample chapters, a free book, or other free writing in the same genre. For the email list to be powerful, you want to make sure you’re getting the right people to sign up. So don’t offer a recipe for vegan pie if you’re selling a book about werewolves…

Finally… la Piece de la Resistance… You Own Your List

We’ve just given you a lot of reasons why it’s great to have an email list. The MOST IMPORTANT reason of them all is that  you own your list. No one can take away those email addresses once you’ve collected them. Granted, people can unsubscribe, but that’s okay. If they won’t read your emails, they probably won’t buy your books either. 

But social media followers are not yours. You don’t control who sees your content or even if you still have the right to share content.The platform can easily delete your account, remove followers, or limit who sees your content. Social media companies are interested in their bottom line, not yours. 

If you’re interested in learning more about how to build an email list, the tools you can use to do it, and what to do after someone signs up for your email list, make sure you check out our On Demand Workshop: Email Lists for Authors

An author is checking their laptop and the text says Email List Building for Authors