Several hundred authors already have claimed my free cheat sheet on “10 Profitable Ways to Use Email to Create SuperFans Who Help You Sell Books.”
After you get your cheat sheet by clicking the link above and opting in with your name and email address, you’ll receive several more emails from me that include tips on how to use email to build a raving fan base. I invite you to email me your questions about email marketing. You wouldn’t believe the response from authors!
Here’s a sample of some of the questions I’ve received, and my answers.
For Fiction Authors
Q. I write fiction. What kinds of emails can I share with my readers that would interest them?
A. If you’re writing your book, you can keep them up to date on how the project is going at every stage during the writing and publishing process. What vendors are you using and why? When are you planning to launch? How much time are you setting aside each week to write? Where are you writing? In your office? On your front porch?
If the book already has been published, you can share tips, advice and news items dealing with topics you’ve written about. You can write about the locale where the book takes place. If there’s a controversial topic in the news that ties into your book, send an email and explain what your main character would have to say about it.
Author Kayelle Allen told me she’s considering explaining to her readers why she kept or removed certain scenes in her book. “I’m also reworking my main site to make it mobile friendly, so I can certainly talk about that,” she said. Great ideas, Kayelle!
Don’t Use Outlook
Q. I use Outlook and I have names of several hundred people in my address book. Can I just start sending email whenever I have something to say about my book?
A. No, for several reasons. First, many of those people might not be interested in your book.
Second, the CAN-SPAM Act of 2003 requires you to give your email recipients the option of unsubscribing themselves by clicking on an unsubscribe link in your emails. Outlook and most other email programs don’t offer this option.
Third, using an email program like Outlook is inefficient. As your list grows, you’ll end up with a mess on your hands. Anyone who’s serious about email marketing will use an email management program that lets them keep things well-organized. I use and love AWeber, a paid service that offers a free 30-day trial. They have the very best Help Desk on the planet! Click this affiliate link and then click on “Pricing” at the top to start your trial.
Start Small, Then Grow
Q. Is it worth sending email if my list only has 100 names of readers who told me they want to hear from me?
Yes! I started with only one name. Mailing regularly to your list, preferably once a week, at the same time and on the same day, trains your readers to expect to hear from you. Encourage them to tell others about your tips and give them a link where their friends can subscribe.
Remember, you don’t need a huge list to see results. A small list of dedicated readers who can’t wait to hear from you is much better than a large list of people, most of whom never open your emails.
Don’t Buy, Rent or Borrow Email Lists
Q. As part of my paid membership in a trade association for authors, I have a list of other members’ names and email addresses. Can I add them to my email list and start sending them emails?
A. No. Those people haven’t given you permission to email them, despite what your trade association claims. Buying, selling, renting or using anyone else’s email list can get you into big trouble. Only mail to people who have asked to be placed on your list.
How to Grow Your List
Q. How do I let readers know I have an email list?
A. There are many ways. Include a sign-up box on the homepage of your website or blog. You can also create a “landing page” that explains exactly what people will get when they subscribe (tips, advice, news, special offers, etc.) You can lead people to your landing page from your social media profiles. Include information about your email list at the end of articles you write for other websites and blogs.
If you’re a public speaker, or when you do book signings, collect business cards of people who want to be added to your email list. Make sure they know you will be adding them to your list.
How to Avoid Spamming
Q. I don’t email people because I don’t want to be accused of spamming anyone. Isn’t it smart to be safe rather than sorry?
A. If you aren’t building an email list, you’re robbing your fans of the ability to stay in touch with you on a regular basis. And you’re leaving money on the table.
Use a reputable email management company. Mail only to people who have asked to be added to your list. And include only high-quality content in your messages. Follow those three major steps and you’ll be on your way to building a list of fans who will thank you. And you’ll stay out of trouble.
Why Free Email Services Fall Short
Q. Can I use a free email service?
A. Email marketing could well be the most powerful marketing tool in your arsenal. With a free service, you get what you pay for. Many of the free services don’t include important features, like telephone support, that the paid services offer. I’d be lost with AWeber’s helpful phone support.
Let’s Hear Your Questions
If you have questions about email marketing that you don’t see here, include them in the Comments below and I’ll answer them. And don’t forget to claim your cheat sheet.