Spring is a time of renewal and growth and not just for nature.
For us authors, spring signals the start of the second quarter of the year, an opportunity to take a moment and reassess what worked (or not) in Q1.
Questions like, where can we renew for our readers? What potential growth avenue have we not explored yet? Will our sowed oats of Q1 blossom?
The beautiful thing about working in quarters is that you have an opportunity to reevaluate what worked and what didn’t, then adjust towards the second half of the year.
My main goal Going into 2022 was to increase income from my existing backlist.
I’m a teacher, a mother of a 5-year-old, a grad student, an authorpreneur, a spouse, a daughter and granddaughter, a friend, and a human in need of me-time (and not necessarily in that order). To top it all off, I’m due early June, which meant I had six months of sub-par productivity this year before entering a new and exciting phase in my family life.
Trying to squeeze new releases into an already overflowing plate was not a good idea, and I’ve been in the business long enough to know what happens when I pressure-write a book.
So, I set out to see how I can still get my name out there, stay relevant, increase my income, and, above all, deliver my stories to as many readers as possible without burning myself out.
Growing my newsletter seemed like the natural first step in that process.
Growing your subscriber list
One of your most powerful marketing tools is your newsletter.
People who subscribe to your newsletter are usually your ideal readers and it is much easier to convert them to loyal buyers with emails that connect them to your journey as an author.
The best way to grow your list with relevant subscribers that fit your genre is with a newsletter hook. For us authors, that’s usually a short story in our genre or a prologue/origin story for our existing series.
If you’ve yet to create such a hook and use it, there’s no better time than the present.
3 easy ways to refresh your newsletter hook
Whether you have an active subscriber list or are just getting started, creating a stock of free stories to both treat your existing subscribers and entice new ones is essential.
There are three easy methods that have worked for me and other authors in creating newsletter hooks that grow lists:
- A short prologue to your novel acts as a double hook – first to gain subscribers, and then to turn them into buyers.
If you write a prologue that pulls people into your story and connects them to your character, they will want to know what happens next. This is especially useful in genres such as fantasy and PNR, where the backstory plays a major part in the arc.
- Write a bonus epilogue for every book you publish. This is probably the easiest hook you can create since it’s basically adding another chapter mostly full of fun fluff to an already fleshed-out story.
Also, a bonus epilogue pretty much guarantees to draw in your ideal reader, as it is offered at the end of your book. This type of hook is perfect for romance novels.
- I use most stories that have been released from anthology exclusivity as hooks in list builders or bonus stories for my existing subscribers. This is based on the passive income strategy I mentioned earlier – the story exists, it’s been professionally edited, and I’ve already monetized on it. All I have to do is format my story as a separate book and get a cover (I make those myself or find someone on Fiverr that isn’t expensive).
Tips and resources for growing your list
If you’re new to list building, there are a few sites you should get acquainted with.
My top site for list building is BookFunnel. Their most basic plan costs $20 per year and allows you to join their genre-based list builders and sales promos. More advanced tiers have integration options with your mailing list.
AuthorsXP is another wonderful service to use in order to grow your list. At AuthorsXP they run list builders based on giveaways, which means you pay to participate (the buy-in is used for a gift card) and sometimes also contribute a book.
Whether you’re seasoned in the art of newsletters for authors or a newbie, do not skip Tammi Labrecque’s Newsletter Ninja books. I cannot speak highly enough of these amazing books and how much they’ve helped me both when I just started and now (I have both the books and will never stop recommending them).
Just click on the covers and it’ll take you straight to Amazon!
Learn how to automate and create passive income
Nothing about being an authorpreneur is easy. It doesn’t matter if you’re indie, hybrid, or trad—the work never ends.
Add to that parenting, day jobs, school, and just life in general, and things can get overwhelming, fast.
Part of avoiding burnout and leaving yourself time to write, which is why we all became authors at the end of the day, is finding solutions that minimize the peripheral work (the ‘preneur’ part) without compromising your growth.
Automations and increasing passive income by creating as many revenue streams as possible will help you decrease the hustle and grind.
You’ve totally got this!
If this post helped you in any way, spread the word by sharing! And if you have tips of your own or questions, just leave a comment below.