Updated: Aug 1
Many authors I work with are eager to learn how they can connect with potential readers on social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter. While you can find success marketing your book on these platforms, I’d argue that you can sell more books and establish long-term support by building an email list. In this post, I’ll explain what an email list is and share seven reasons why having an author email list is so important when marketing your book.
What is an author email list?
An author email list, mailing list, newsletter, or subscriber’s list, is a collection of email addresses that an author collects from people via their website or blog. When a person adds their email address to your mailing list, they permit you to contact them at any time via email.
You can use this list to send marketing materials, such as book updates, offers, and event information, to many recipients at once. Having an author email list is a guaranteed way to always have a channel to communicate with your readers.
Learn more: How to Get Your Book on Bookstore Shelves
7 reasons every author should have an email list
As an author, you may wonder why it’s important to have an email list. I’d argue that it’s one of the most valuable marketing tools you can use to promote your book. Here are seven reasons:
1. Email is a reliable communication channel
People can send and receive emails from anywhere at any time, as long as they have a reliable internet connection. Sometimes, social media accounts, like Facebook, go down. When this happens, you can lose access to your followers on the platform. But due to the reliability of email, you have a communication channel that allows you to connect with your audience at all times from anywhere in the world.
2. Email is always relevant
Email remains a widely popular method of communication, and that’s unlikely to change any time soon. For all we know, your favorite social media platform could disappear tomorrow, taking your hard-earned followers with it. So, while it’s important to market your book on social media platforms, building an email list guarantees you can always connect with your following.
3. You own your email list
Authors completely own their email lists. This ownership means that a company cannot take your email list away from you. These are your contacts who have given you permission to contact them at your will. If they want to stop receiving emails from you, they can simply unsubscribe. Unlike email, social media companies own your social media following and can eliminate the communication channel at any time.
4. Email is versatile
Email is a versatile marketing tool that authors can use to send content to their subscribers. While it’s likely that your primary goal is to sell books, you can choose how you’d like to achieve this by drafting emails that connect with your audience. For example, if you’re an author whose marketing your first book of poetry, you may send your email list a poem each Friday leading up to the book’s launch.
Composing an email is like starting a book that you can write a thousand different ways, as your options are essentially limitless. You can send your subscribers a brief message or a ten-page update. You may include pictures, graphics, videos, or invite links. Need to attach a book club guide as a PDF? No problem. Want to send a direct link to buy your book? Done.
5. Email is personal
Using your email list, you can reach a large audience and still seem personal. Bri McKoy is an author who uses email to share stories that she doesn’t share on social media platforms. In her emails, she’s both humorous and witty, connecting with her readers by creating a sense of intimacy, which she may lose if she shared it publicly for all to read. Personal emails can help authors build trust and establish a sense of an author-reader relationship, leading to better engagement and potentially better book sales in the future.
Author recommendation: Check Out Author Bri McKoy's Work
6. The email is addressed to the recipient
When you email your subscribers, you’re addressing them directly. Your readers see your message in their inboxes, instead of stumbling across the post on any social media platform. This directness encourages engagement. Sometimes, I’ll see a post on Facebook or Instagram and ignore it, knowing it’s not directed at me (why do I follow them again?). With email, you can address your readers by including your recipients’ names in the subject line or within the email. Here’s an example of a personalized author email:
Liza Hemrick <email@example.com>
To: Asher Meehan
Subject: Sorry for the silence…
I know I’ve been quiet over the past year, but I promise I’ve had a pretty good reason.
Here it is.
[Insert book cover here]
Available wherever books are sold in early 2023.
Stay tuned for more information!
With lots of love,
Your girl Liza
Learn more: 7 Marketing Tips for Nonfiction Authors
7. People notice emails
One benefit of communicating with your audience through a mailing list is that they’re likely to notice your email. When marketing on social media, the platform’s algorithm can determine whether your audience sees your post. While you can pay to promote your posts, remember that most people receive fewer emails a day compared to the number of new posts they encounter on their newsfeeds. If you’ve already got people to sign-up to your mailing list, consider focusing your efforts on crafting effective emails.
Although some individuals on your list may stop checking their emails, most people open an email to read its content or to at least mark it as read. Regardless of the reason, your readers notice your message, keeping your name in their thoughts.
Whether you’re in the midst of the writing process or have already finished your book, now is the perfect time to consider a marketing strategy. To help you get started, I’m offering a FREE download of my guide, 10 Things You Need For A Successful Book Launch. This valuable resource is packed with expert tips and strategies to empower you to craft an effective book launch and connect with a larger audience of eager readers.