If you’ve been in the indie game--or publishing in general--you’ve heard about email lists. We have several articles about them on this site because it’s the most effective way to build an author career.
But not all email subscribers are created equal. You may have noticed this already. If you have an email list of 7k that are all Freeloaders, you won't sell many books and might be frustrated with publishing and book marketing in general. That's why I wrote this article. I’m going to go through the different levels of subscribers how to get the ones you want and how to avoid the ones you don’t.
Having a tagline seems like such an after-thought--after all, you wrote an awesome back copy, so why do you need to further condense your story into a single line? Well, taglines are versatile and a good one helps you turn the corner on sales and professionalism. We’ve all experienced the deer-in-the-headlights moment when someone finally asks what we write and we just blink and stare and mutter. It's great to have a rehearsed line to whip out when our brains blue-screen, plus it shows we’ve done our research and have confidence in our work.
Outreach is the best way to grow your organic traffic and build your brand. Podcasts are huge right now so it just makes sense for authors to take advantage of this. Here are the things we’ve realized are really important after seven months of podcasting.
You spend a year or two or maybe 32, writing and perfecting your craft, slap a cover on it, publish on Amazon and rake in the doe.
I hate to burst your bubble. But no.
Book marketing can be a complicated beast but it doesn’t have to be. Your author platform is what you use to sell your books. Once you’ve designed (Or paid someone to design) a fantastic cover, and chosen the perfect software for your email list.
I was giving into resistance the other day on Twitter and saw that Belinda Griffin of Smart Authors Lab wrote a post on her key takeaways from our time in Nashville with Tim Grahl. I really clicked with Belinda while we were there because we were both freezing in the AC, so every lunch break we went for a walk before sitting down (or not) to eat. I’d been wanting to write up something similar but was at a loss about how to go about putting that experience into a single or even a series of posts. So I read Belinda’s. Her takeaways were completely different from mine. Which is possibly one of the best things about the whole trip. So here are my key takeaways from my time with Tim and I’ve linked to Belinda’s below. Please read both posts and let it all soak in.
You’ve heard the term content creation and content marketing. But what is it and why is it? The what of it all is exactly what it sounds like. You create content, blogs or otherwise, and put it out into the world to be consumed. But why? As you know already, email lists are king in the book world. But how do you grow your list? You create content as mentioned before, share it in your newsletter and then ask them to share it.
You need money to market or your book wont ever be seen.
I hate this myth in particular. I talk about Tim Grahl, Joanna Penn, and Nick Stephenson a lot on here. The reason for that is they’ve done it. They are more successful than I even want to be. Tim is so successful that he had to find twenty people he could train so he’d have reliable coaches to send the people he can’t help to. When he started out though, he had to ask his parents for money to get by. The full story is in his new book, coming out in July and he mentions it on The Story Grid Podcast and possibly Book Launch Podcast. The reason I bring this up though isn’t to share Tim’s painful past it’s to show you how people with drive and a desire to make it in this industry can and do. Nick Stephenson also started out with nothing and now makes more money than I would know what to do with. Joanna Penn saved up enough for her to go six months and she had to make it or go back to work. That’s pretty motivating. And she was looking at going back when she started to make money. I’m on my way up using these techniques, following these people, and I’ll share my own story soon enough (hopefully real soon if you know what I mean). I’ve made such small simple changes and already my business is growing! Readers are finding me and I actually know what to do to keep them engaged and looking forward to my new books. And all this without spending a penny on ads or promotions.
When you first start out hiring a personal or virtual assistant might not be in the cards for you. I understand. Before you even think about paying an employee, make sure you have systems and automation in place. With the proper systems and automated tools, your platform can act as virtual assistant and be bringing in new readers as you write your next book.
Here’s what you should be doing:
What is your main goal as an author? Whether your answer is to make money or reach readers with your work, the tool that can help you achieve those goals is an email list. In Your First 1000 Copies, book marketer Tim Grahl gives several examples of how email lists are more effective in selling books than social media (Read Social Media for Authors: What Does the Data Say? and get the facts). There are ways to use social media but we’ll talk about that later. For today I’m going to focus on email lists. I wrote a post about how to set up your email list and a post about using giveaways to build grow that list so I’m going to focus on how to use your list today.
Are you looking for help with your platform and book marketing? Marissa is now scheduling free publishing consultations! Click here to learn more.