Today on Fictionary, we are hosting Evan Gow, Indie Developer of StoryOrigin. StoryOrigin is a community of author superheroes who work together to build email lists, boost sales, and find reviewers.
Over to Evan…
The Most Important Marketing Tool: Email
Email is one of the few ways to connect with readers directly where you’re still in control of the communication line.
With email you know that there won’t be a change in some algorithm that makes it 10x more expensive to send an email tomorrow than it did today. If anything, it has gotten cheaper to manage mailing lists.
With other marketing channel, it has become a “pay-to-play” business where have to pay to reach your own fans.
For example, Facebook Pages used to show your posts to everyone that liked your page, but now, Facebook only shows your posts to 2-3% of your followers.
In order to get your book seen by more readers on Facebook, you have to pay for ads now. The same is true Amazon or Bookbub as well.
And, as those platforms are becoming saturated, the cost of advertising on them continues to rise.
That’s why it’s more important than ever to “own the reader touch point,” where you can get your message out to your readers regardless of where they found you (a book purchase, your website, etc.).
Plus, once you have a reader’s email, there’s so much you can do with that.
- Find beta-readers and reviewers: Ask people from your email list if they would like to become beta readers or reviewers for your book
- Increase “read through” rates: Announce your latest release to your subscribers
- Boost sales: Run a limited time discount and only promote it to your newsletter
- Get word-of-mouth: Nurture your readers into becoming your super fans that will spread your books through word-of-mouth
- Cross-promote: Get other authors to promote your books in their newsletters when you agree to promote their books in your newsletter
How To Build Your Email List
The most important question to answer is: why would someone want to join my mailing list?
Or, rephrased – what’s the point? What value is in it for the person joining your email list?
The key is to deliver value to a reader as soon as they sign up to your mailing list.
The best way to do that is to give them something for free. Just like you might get a free sample of a product, you can do the same with your writing.
The most popular approach is to give readers one of your books for free, usually a 10-15K word prequel to your series. That way, you can get them hooked into reading more books in the series.
How do you get it to readers though?
You can email it to people when they signup to your mailing list, send them a link to download it from Google Drive, or, you can use a specialized tool like StoryOrigin to generate a landing page that automatically handles collecting email addresses and has a seamless method for delivering the book to the reader’s preferred device.
How do readers even find out about your free book though? That’s where it gets really interesting.
As I mentioned previously, you can run cross-promotions with other authors with your mailing list, but before you even have subscribers, you can start to join in what are called “group promos.”
An example of a group promo might be that you and 20 other authors who all write science fiction and they are all trying to build their mailing lists, so you:
Each author benefits from a new audience seeing their book and potentially subscribing to that authors mailing list (including yours!).
Of course, finding other authors in your genre interested in cross-promotions and building all of this on your own website would be pretty time-consuming, and that’s where platforms like StoryOrigin come in again.
StoryOrigin has a marketplace for finding other authors running group promos and it automatically takes care of generating and updating the landing page for authors joining the group promotion.
When To Start
Building your email list takes time, patience, and determination, but the reward is well worth the effort when you have a list of fans that you can count on to act a beta-readers, reviewers, and to buy your new releases.
Even if you haven’t finished editing your first book, it’s worth writing a 10-15K word short story prequel and to start building your mailing list now.
That way, when the time comes, you can launch your book to fans instead of crickets.
Fictionary is online software that simplifies story editing. Fictionary will help you evaluate your story on a scene-by-scene basis. You’ll be able to focus on problem areas in your manuscript and improve it quickly.
Why not check out Fictionary’s free 14-day trial and tell better stories?