This is a post I have been meaning to write for a very long time. Like, almost a year. But in all honestly, while I knew why I needed the email list and how to use it in a way that was not spammy I hadn't had much success growing it. So, I felt the time for me to help others really wasn't here yet. After deciding this was a goal for 2017 I have more than doubled my list since mid December and I have developed a plan to continue that growth over the next year. You see writing more books, while necessary, will not magically get you noticed by readers. Building your email list and sending out release notifications and building a street team can and will. In this post, I'll tell you why you need an email list and in my next post, a few ways to get started building one of your very own.
Sales: Sales are a huge part of what a lot of people consider success. Your definition of success might be different but sales are still nice right? And will help you get recognition and more fans (if either of those are involved in your idea of success). One of the myths of indie publishing is that all you need to do to is pubish more books. While having a back log is certainly helpful, if you have no way to contact your readers and let them know about a new book, your sales will suffer. You shouldn't be relying on new releases alone to make it in this industry. Unless that's all you want. In which case go for it. But being able to pay for your editing and covers would be nice too, wouldn't it?
Okay, if you have 1000 people on your email list when you release a book. Any book. (If it's your first you're a rock star for having that many subscribers before your debut). If you send out an email announcing your debute and a couple hundred people click the link you enclosed and buy your book, it will increase your chances of ending up in the top 100 list on Amazon. This is huge for your sales goals. If you get into the top 20, it's even better. You have those sales from your email list, but you also will now have sales from being in the top charts of the site. Get it? You should also be seeing more people signing up for your email list as they read and enjoy your book (because you included a link and incentive to join in your book).
Reliability: Nick Stephenson talks about this a lot and it's so incredibly true, with an email list you are in control. If people follow you on Amazon, then Amazon is the one with their info and that connection to them. So, Amazon get's to decide whether or not they send an email announcing your new book. Facebook is constantly changing how you connect to fans and even friends. Your organic Facebook post might reach 15% of your fans. That's really not a lot. Because Facebook wants you to pay for ads to get that post infront of more people. The only way to talk to your readers reliably, is through email. And sending a monthly newsletter or letting them know about an upcoming release is not spammy. You can also take a page from the 80/20 rule book and offer them something else of value. Maybe a book recommendation or fellow author they might enjoy. Remember, they signed up willingly. Just remember, they want to hear from you. That's why they signed up for your list.
Street Team: Using your list to find reliable fans to help you with reviews and even final revisions can be tremendously helpful in meeting your goals. Whether you want to reach a certain income each month or reach more readers with your work, a Street Team can help you with that. I'm still struggling to build mine but once my list has grown a bit I intend to ask them if they're interested. You can give them a discount on your books or offer them the titles earlier than the public. Both should appeal to the type of person you are looking to bring in. These people are part of your community and will want to help out. Could you imagine being on an email basis with your favorite author?
OK, so that's the why of it all and in the next post I cover how to grow that list from just your friends and family to your potential biggest fans.
Marissa Frosch is the head of marketing at Amphibian Press and all writes under the pseudonym Cameron J Quinn. She is the author of The Starsboro Chronicles. She can be found on Facebook, Twitter, blog and her website.
Are you looking for help with your platform and book marketing? Marissa is now scheduling free publishing consultations! Click here to learn more.