Why Creating an Email List is So Important When You Self-Publish

If you want to write a self-published children’s book that sells, you need people paying attention to your work. And if you want people’s attention, you need to communicate with them. 

There are many writers who don’t get the attention they deserve, and much of that comes down to not knowing how to promote a self-published book. Social media has become the standard today, but the real heavy hitter in getting your works noticed is putting a focus on email list building.

To ensure you build an email list that’s effective and yields the best sales results, let’s explore why it’s important to have an email list. Here are several steps you can consider ahead of time that will help you become a pro at marketing your self-published book through email list building.  

Why Do You Need to Build an Email List?

On average, people receive 121 emails a day. While a decent amount of these (typically around 40) are for business purposes, it’s evident that people are as tied to their emails as ever.

Email marketing is one of the most important tools you can use in your marketing strategy. It continues to yield the highest ROI compared to other tactics — for every $1 you spend on your email marketing you should expect to earn $36. 

Email lists are integral to the success of your book. They allow you to build your fan base before you even publish your book and then nurture those relationships, even after they’ve finished your book. 

Sure, social media is a powerful tool, but depending on your audience’s age and demographics, it may not cut it when you’re promoting a self-published book. Having direct access to communicate with your readers is significant because you can build trust, offer more value in your messaging, and place yourself in a great position to offer your books and supplementary content.

As an authorpreneur, building an email list is a huge asset to creating a larger following and selling more of your books. It can feel like a lot of work to set up, but the steps you take to create your email following and engage with them meaningfully will pay off in the long run.

Things to Consider as Your Build Your Author Email List

Just like any other marketing strategy, you need to build out a plan or framework before you get started. Think about the content of your emails, how often you’ll send them, and how much time you want to spend on developing an email cadence.

What’s Your Purpose As a Writer? 

The first step is to determine what your goals are as a writer. Your emails are an opportunity to let your audience know the type of influence you want to have in your genre or topic. 

For example, if you’re writing a children’s series, an email is a great opportunity to tease readers with the direction of your next installment, or even put out a call for local artists to design your cover art.

How Can You Add Extra Value to Your Emails?

Share with your email subscribers information and details that they wouldn’t find anywhere else. For example, your readers likely want to know what books within your genre you loved as a child (or currently love) — share that with them! 

You can also provide background information on things that inspire you or interesting facts about your book.

What Types of Topics Will Your Emails Cover?

This is something that will evolve over time, but you should have a strong starting point. Some topic ideas you could utilize include:

  • Free short stories
  • Character reveals
  • Sneak peeks of upcoming books or individual chapters
  • Book trailers
  • Book artwork
  • Interviews with collaborators on your book
  • Unboxing your latest books (show your excitement that they’ve arrived!)

Put yourself in your readers’ shoes and ask yourself what you would want to read if you were on this email list.

How Frequently Should You Send Emails? 

The most common reason people unsubscribe from an email list is that they receive too many emails from the sender. Sending 1-3 messages a month will typically yield you the highest engagement rate and lowest fatigue.

You’ll also want to consider how often you try to sell to your email list — try to mix in emails that are more content-driven and allow you to connect to your readers (see topic section).

How Much Time Do You Have to Put Into Your Emails?

You know that marketing self-published books is time-consuming. If you’re handling the management of your website, and your social media platforms (not to mention all other steps to writing a book) — you need to be sure you’re not overwhelmed by running your email list too.

Whether you’re a part-time or full-time author, make sure your email schedule fits around the rest of your responsibilities. One way to do this is to utilize content you’ve already created elsewhere within your emails. They’ll flow seamlessly and save you time on your overall workload.

By taking time to work these pieces out, your email marketing strategy should feel more manageable as you start to build and send out emails.

How to Build Your Email List

It might seem like there’s so much to do before you even send your first email, but the effort is well worth it. In order to start building an extensive author email list, you’ll need to choose a management program, find ways to encourage readers to subscribe, and be sure you’re promoting your newsletter.

1. Choose Your Email Platform

We’re not talking about Google, Hotmail, or Yahoo — email platforms allow you to manage your author email list, design and send emails en masse, track your email performance rates, and drive subscribers to your website or social media pages. 

They also have built-in templates you can easily personalize and automatically send messages to your email list.

Platforms like Klaviyo and ConvertKit are excellent options for children’s book authors to use — they offer a high level of creativity when designing your emails and are easy to use.  

2. Determine Your Reader Magnets

While some folks will join your email list solely because they’re a fan, you may need to do a little convincing with others. You want to sweeten the deal, so to speak. These offers can typically appear on your website or your social media feeds.

  • It can be something that supports your readers as they read your book. 
  • It can also be a resource that aligns with your book’s topic. 
  • As a children’s book author, you could consider a downloadable worksheet or activity to accompany your story. 

The purpose of a reader magnet is to serve as a free gift that either supports your reader as they read your book, or aligns with the topic of your book and helps them enjoy and experience the topic even more.

3. Create a Landing Page on Your Website

Your author’s website is a place where you can share important information, direct fans to important events, and showcase your personality. This is where you’ll offer your reader magnet to potential subscribers. 

Be sure you promote this landing page on your social media and encourage followers to subscribe. 

4. Send Out Your Reader Magnet Gift

You now have subscribers and it’s time to send out the gift you promised them. No matter the content you decided on offering, you need to be sure it’s easily accessible and can be downloaded in a snap.

Be sure you include a punchy email subject line and gracious email message. Make them feel special and appreciated for subscribing to your email list!

5. Write a Welcome Email Sequence

You’ll want to have queued up a number of emails for your new subscribers. This will also make it easier down the road when you’re creating brand new content for those who have been on your list since the beginning.

This sequence of emails can typically be sent out over 5-7 days, giving you the chance to introduce yourself, provide information, and further intrigue readers to stay subscribed.

Your welcome series can include:

  1. An introduction of yourself and what your writing is all about
  2. How can you bring value to their daily lives or otherwise solve a problem they may have?
  3. Surprise them with an unexpected topic that’s not trying to sell them anything
  4. Invite them to purchase a new children’s book you’ve released
  5. Share a survey to gather more information or feedback. Google Forms are great for this. Remember to keep the survey short!

Your welcome series can be automated through the email platform you choose. By doing this you save yourself an incredible amount of time while also immediately engaging with your new subscribers.

6. Promote Your Landing Page

You know that the best way to market self-published books is to promote your website and landing page wherever you can. 

Have an interview coming up? Ask if you can talk about the benefits of signing up for your email list during the interview and in the show notes. Maybe you have a guest blog opportunity within children’s publishing — promote it there, too!

No matter the social media platform, make sure you’re promoting your landing page there. If you have the budget, you can also look into paid advertising through social media and Google Ads.

As you’re working towards building an email list, automation is your best friend. Almost every step outlined can be automated, saving you time and energy for the rest of your busy schedule. 

Take the Guesswork Out of Printing Your Book

Marketing self-published books is a full-time job. With all of the different platforms, you’re trying to reach readers on, you may feel like you don’t have the time to print your story.

PufferPrint takes the guesswork out of self-publishing a book and helps you realize your publishing goals. You want a bookstore-quality book that’s going to wow your audience.

We’re here to offer specialized, one-on-one service to help you every step of the way. From preparing and formatting your files to printing to shipping and fulfillment. That’s the PufferPrint difference.

Learn more and get a quote today >

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