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How to build an author email list: 10 workable ways

4 minute read

If you have an email, it is 100% that you receive some mailings. Sometimes appealing offers make you go to the website and buy something. So why not use this approach in promoting your books?

But first, you need to build an author email list. It must include your target audience. Otherwise, you’ll end up irritated and negative comments instead of people wanting to buy your book.

So that this does not happen, we have prepared 10 methods on how to build your author email list if you’ve never done it. Let’s start.

What are the pros of email marketing?

Email marketing remains one of the most effective ways to reach potential readers, increase sales and boost your popularity. And here is why::

  • You can communicate with your readers directly. Unlike other promotion options, you can be sure that only interested people receive your message.
  • It’s a way to build trusting relationships with readers. Use personalized messages, share insights and secrets, and ask readers for their opinions—and they will treat you like a true friend.
  • Unlike social media, email reaches everyone. Facebook and Instagram show posts according to a particular algorithm. You can create an exciting post, but not the fact that the entire target audience will see it. Each subscriber receives an email.
  • You can generate more traffic to your website. Your email can include links to your website, such as blog articles or news.
  • It’s a chance to extend your voice and personality. You can write letters not only about the book but also share your point of view on current issues.
  • You can boost your book’s visibility and increase sales. Since your recipients are not a group of random people but a target audience, the chances that most of them will buy your book are very high.

But still, for email marketing to work, you need recipients’ contacts. And now we will learn to collect them.

How to build an author email list?

There are technical and more creative ways to collect emails. You can choose one, several, or all as desired.

1. Create an author’s website

An author’s website is the primary tool for collecting emails. It usually contains sections such as blogs and news, where writers share their thoughts and updates. Therefore, the Subscribe button looks entirely organic here. After all, the author’s fans want to be aware of all the events and not miss anything.

2. Share valuable things in exchange for an email

Create unique materials available only in exchange for readers’ emails. You can do it in two ways. The first one is content locking when the continuation of the exciting article appears after entering the email. 

The second one is sending valuable content directly to the emails. Here are some ideas what you can send:

  • Extra chapters of your books
  • Writing guides
  • Reading checklists
  • Printables (for example, a map of your fictional world or stickers with characters)
  • Links to your secret online lives.

3. Publish engaging and high-quality content

However, just keeping a blog isn’t enough. You should give people a reason to sign up for your author email list. That’s why you must take care of publishing valuable and exciting content. Don’t forget about its format and some images or illustrations. You can share personal writing insights or unique materials concerning your books.

4. Add a forum to your website

Actually, book fandoms are cohesive societies that enjoy talking, sharing thoughts, and exchanging experiences. If there’s no specific forum, readers create groups on Facebook to discuss their favorite books. So, just provide your fans an online place to discuss your books. You can also join discussions sometimes or make Q&A sessions. Indeed, readers must sign up with emails to join the forum.

5. Create an email course on writing

The fun fact is that most book fans dream of becoming authors and writing as thrillingly as their favorite writers. So you have to help them a bit. Create an email course on writing based on your experience and knowledge. What can you teach your readers?

  • General basics of writing fiction
  • How to develop a solid fictional character
  • How to overcome writer’s block
  • How to publish a book
  • How to write a short story

Or choose any other topic you are an expert in. Announce the course and offer your readers to join it for free. They must leave their emails to receive valuable materials or links to hidden video lectures.

6. Add a thematic game

It can be a simple pixel game with several levels or a complex fictional world with various heroes. Also, you can create a mobile application based on your book, for example, a story game or Hide and Seek game. The point is that readers should sign up with their emails to play it.

7. Offer entry into a contest or giveaway

You can publish an announcement about a giveaway in the News section on the website or using your social media. One of the main requirements is to enter contact information, including email.

8. Provide a discount for your new book

Are you waiting for the imminent release of your new book? It’s an excellent opportunity to collect more leads by offering a discount in exchange for an email. Publish news about it on your website or social media. By leaving their contacts, readers receive a promotional code for a discount by email.

9. Make a quiz

A quiz means a set of questions to test someone’s knowledge or find out some interesting facts about the person. You don’t need to be a psychologist to create such things. It’s more about having fun. Make an exciting quiz related to your stories, for example:

  • What character from the book are you?
  • What book should you read next?
  • What’s your superpower?
  • Who’s your true love from the book?
  • What fictional world should you live in?

After answering the questions, ask your readers to enter their emails so you can send the results.

10. Conduct surveys

It’s a chance to not only build an email list but do research for your next stories. Create a particular form (for example, using Google) where readers can share their opinions on the books. Ask them what characters, settings, or plot twists they like most. Let the audience feel that it influences your art processes. Add the line where readers must enter their emails to submit the forms.    

Summing up

It’s time to recap. The main thing to remember is that you can’t send emails randomly. Newsletters must reach your target audience. 

If you want to build an author email list out of your potential readers, try the following ways:

  • Create an author website and add Subscribe button 
  • Publish engaging content
  • Offer valuable materials via emails
  • Add a thematic game and a quiz
  • Create a free email course on writing
  • Add a book forum
  • Offer discount or entry into a contest or giveaway
  • Conduct surveys. 

What other ideas to gather emails do you know? Tell us in the comments.

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Vasylysa In her spare time, Vasylysa likes reading books, writing fiction, gardening, and walking. She hopes to publish her own book and become a famous author one day.
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