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, connect with as many readers as possible so I’d have a large base to start from when I’m ready to publish again.
Growing my newsletter with ideal readers 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 lead magnet. 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 a lead magnet and use it to launch an author newsletter, there’s no better time than the present.
3 easy ways to refresh your lead magnet
Whether you have an active subscriber list or are just getting started, it’s never a bad idea to create a stock of free stories to both treat your existing subscribers and entice new ones.
Three methods that don’t require too much effort and have worked for me and other authors in creating newsletter hooks that grow lists:
- Write a short prologue. This acts as a double hook—both to gain subscribers and to funnel them to your paid book.
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. This is probably the easiest hook you can create since it’s basically adding another fun-and-fluff-filled chapter to an already fleshed-out story.
Also, a bonus epilogue 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.
- Reverted anthology rights. I use most of my anthology stories as lead magnets in list builders or bonus stories for my existing subscribers once anthology exclusivity expires.
This way I double monetize the story—once in the anthology and once to grow my list.
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.
Additional list-building sites include Book Throne, Story Origin, and BookSweeps, just to name a few.
Whether you’re seasoned in the art of newsletters for authors or a newbie, do not skip Tammi Labrecque’s Newsletter Ninja. I cannot speak highly enough of this fantastic book and how much it helped me both when I just started. I often go back to it when I need to hone my newsletter strategy.