Indie Authors: It’s All About the List

Marketing is a huge, integral part of indie publishing, but it doesn’t have to be hard. There are a lot of different pieces, but one of the most effective and longest lasting is building an email list.

The email list has a few different names. Mailing list, subscribers, sign-ups, newsletter. But it all boils down to the same thing: it’s a list that people have willingly signed up for, because they are interested in what you have to say. That means the people on an email list are an indie author’s target market, which, as any internet marketer will tell you, is incredibly valuable. 

Setting Up a List

There are a few ways to get people to subscribe. The easiest is to have a sign up form on your blog or website.

You will also have to sign up for an email service. Two of the more popular services are Aweber and Mailchimp. Personally I use Mailchimp because you can send out free emails if you have under 2,000 subscribers.

However, many other people like Aweber. Think Traffic talks in-depth about the switch from Mailchimp to Aweber. Note that many of the features, such as A/B testing, embed form codes, and list segmentation are now available via both services.

Beta Beat has a list of ways to funnel people to sign up:

  • When you speak, put a slide in your presentation inviting people to sign up for your email list.

  • When you write something on a bloglink to a page inviting people to join your email list.

  • When you post stuff on your Facebook page, invite people to join your email list.

  • When you publish your book, make sure there are links in the content to your website where people can sign up for your email list.

  • When you launch your website, make sure you’re inviting visitors to signup for your email list (more on this shortly). Not buy a book. Not read your blog post. Not, for god sakes, following you on Twitter.

Lindsay Buroker also has some tips, such as mentioning your newsletter at the end of your book or giving people incentives to subscribe, such as by offering them a free short story or book. If you go that route, use an autoresponder to send new subscribers a link or a way to download the ebook immediately after they sign up.

Using Your List to Sell Books

Email newsletters can be used to further engage with readers. Digital Marketer gives three tips on how to use email to drive engagement. For example, if an author sells ebooks direct from a website, they can send automatic follow up emails after a purchase to thank the reader for buying the book and then recommending another book or related product.

Emails are also great to announce the launch of a new book. Or, authors can send out coupon codes to get discounted or free books. They can also occasionally send their subscribers gifts, such as a free short story.

The most loyal fans are most likely subscribed to an author’s email list, which means writers with a list have the easiest way of earning income. What are some creative ways you’re using your list? Share in the comments!

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