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Launching a Book? Why You Should Start Building an Email List Today

One of the most inconvenient truths many writers come to realize when launching a book for the first time is that tactics like social media marketing, blogging, and podcasting, don’t necessarily result in book sales. That’s a harsh and deflating reality when all you’ve imagined is publication swiftly followed by bestseller status and impressive royalty checks.

Here’s the thing: while there’s no doubt these marketing activities are an integral part of a successful launch, you must know how to translate them into book revenue. After all, what’s the benefit of having thousands of people reading your blog and following you on social media if you can’t turn them into active prospects and eventual book buyers?

So, how do you do that?

Believe it or not, the answer is surprisingly simple. You tap into where the money is: email.

Email marketing is one the most important things you can do to ensure the success and sustainability of your writing career. Besides generating more leads, email marketing identifies better-quality leads, shortens the sales cycle, improves conversion rates, reduces marketing costs, and more. In fact, email marketing has an estimated ROI of 3800% according to a report by the Direct Marketing Association (DMA). It’s also 40 times more effective at acquiring new customers than Twitter and Facebook combined.

A common regret amongst established authors who eventually do integrate email marketing into their launch strategy is that they didn’t start building their list sooner. If you’re not convinced based on ROI alone, the following twelve factors are sure to change your mind.

Reason #1:

Email gives you direct and immediate access to readers, effectively allowing you to reach out on a more personal, one-on-one basis. As a result, email continues to be a highly effective means of building trust with readers and turning keen fans into die-hard advocates.

Reason #2:

Email reaches everyone. With social media sites now limiting the percentage of followers who see your posts (unless you pay to promote your message), building a list drastically reduces marketing spend while guaranteeing extensive reach.

Reason #3:

You have complete control and ownership over your list and the content you share. Leveraging a third-party platform carries the risk of sudden rule changes—changes that could affect your visibility and lower your earnings. With your own email list, you’re not subject to Terms of Service, how many emails you can send, and when you can send them.

Reason #4:

Email offers an efficient and timely way to deliver informational and promotional messages to subscribers.

Reason #5:

You have an opportunity to segment your readership based on specific behaviors. This gives you the ability to create highly targeted and niche content that appeals to certain groups of subscribers. It’s interesting to note that the DMA’s findings also revealed segmented and targeted emails generate 58% of all revenue while a study by Campaign Monitor found that marketers have enjoyed a 760% increase in revenue from segmented campaigns. This is especially important for non-fiction authors who can potentially appeal to multiple segments of their market.

Reason #6:

Average click-through rates on emails are significantly higher than those resulting from pay-per-click campaigns. Perhaps the biggest draw is that you don’t have to pay a penny in additional advertising for those conversions.

Reason #7:

People who join your list are not only part of your target market, but they’ve also given you permission to interact with them further. This is unlike many other marketing tactics where an individual might not be an ideal buyer or want to see your ad. In addition, subscribers have opted in to engage with you on a much deeper level, which means they’re far more likely to share your message, buy your books, and support your work over a long period.

Reason #8:

Email allows you to boost your credibility, authority, and influence in your genre or area of expertise by facilitating regular, engaging, and rich communication that’s both meaningful and valuable.

Reason #9:

Due to the nature of email (i.e. the mass distribution of an approved message to a large audience at an appointed time) and your guaranteed reach, your launch offer could increase your visibility considerably and produce a heavy influx of sales. In turn, placement on bestseller and hot new release lists isn’t such a far stretch for a relatively unknown author. Just imagine telling hundreds—or even thousands—of eager readers that your book is now available through various retailers.

Reason #10:

With email marketing, you don’t have to rely on the marketing tactics of retailers to generate your income. You also don’t need to rely on their algorithms to put your book in front of browsers. While retailers will always play a vital role in the marketing, selling, and distribution of your books, there’s no reason you can’t diversify and create an income stream independent of these vendors.

Reason #11:

Emails are yet another way for you to extend your brand voice, personality, and style. Besides enabling you to create a more personal experience, many email clients allow you add design elements that can turn an otherwise boring piece of text into an eye-catching and vibrant message.

Reason #12:

Things can go wrong from time to time, rendering other forms of communication inaccessible. Emails allow you to stay connected even when your site is down, or you’re experiencing issues with social media.

The bottom line is this: an email list is a phenomenal asset that can help you gain traction and put you on a trajectory towards a lucrative and satisfying writing career. As your list grows, your potential to earn grows.

Now it’s over to you…

What’s holding you back from growing your list? Share your thoughts and challenges with us in the comment section below. Be sure to subscribe to our blog as we’ll be sharing loads more on email marketing and how to leverage this highly effective tactic for your next launch.


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  • How do you grow your list? This is the big question… I’ve equipped my website with a popover form, offer freebies, and am even going to offer my new book completely free in hopes that someone with a larger email list will help me out (my life/personal circumstances right now are dire in pretty much every way you can imagine). But if that isn’t an option (or not a widely available one because who wants to help a nobody? I’ve asked around… people are not willing to help once they reach a certain degree of success), how do you build an email list? I’m about two to four weeks away from losing everything if something doesn’t give soon, so any and all help would be appreciated. ACTIONABLE help, anyway. Thanks =).