For authors, success depends upon the ability to keep our current audience and employ techniques to draw new readers. While paid advertising is one way to do this, it can become very expensive. For authors on a budget, the answer to achieving this goal is to grow an e-mail list. With a bit of creativity, it is possible to drive awareness with little expenditure.
A tactic that works well is to include a tempting offer in the front and back matter of your book. I write for children and for adults. On the first or second page of my children’s books, I show a thumbnail and link for another picture book that I believe may interest these customers. When I offer a free download, the link goes to my e-mail l sign-up page where they must enter their name and e-mail address to take advantage of the offer. There are several sites that will host your opt-in pages as well as allow you to set up welcome letters and design campaigns to send to your list. The free services on Mail- Chimp have worked well for me. The first two thousand subscribers to your account are free. After that, you must choose a paid account. However, when an author is first building a list, getting the first two thousand free isn’t a bad beginning.
In order to draw more readers to my list, I have a perma-free romance novel on Amazon that offers a free-download for another romance novel. The offer for my second free novel is prominently displayed on the front matter before the story begins and again at the end of the book before my author bio. When someone clicks to download the second free book, they see a thumbnail and a link in that book that suggests a purchase in the genre that seems to suit their interest.
Always put a clear call to action above your link that instructs the reader to “Click Here Now” or “Download Your Free Novel Now.” This prompt helps to urge them to take the action you want them to take.
Another way to grow and e-mail list is to set up a Facebook fan page and post offers for book giveaways and contests. In order to enter, the reader will click on the link to your campaign where they must enter their e-mail address. When they take the trouble to enter the contest, you are confident of a reader who is interested in your genre and someone who will be receptive to your future novels. Be sure to have a written disclaimer on your sign up page that assures the reader their name and e-mail is secure and you will never sell or disclose their information to any other party. With the amount of spam most of us receive, this is a concern. Addressing their hesitation with your assurance is essential.
Remember to keep in contact with your list on a monthly basis, at least. If they forget who you are and why they joined, you may begin to see unsubscribes. Yet with care and attention, your list can grow and flourish like a well-watered garden and you will reap the fruit of your harvest.
This post is contributed as Guest post by Karen Cogan.
About the author:
Karen Cogan is multi-published in contemporary and historical romance. She also writes books for middle-grade and young children. Her experience as a public school teacher has given her insight into the interests of young readers.
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