The Money is in the List!

Leveraging email to sell more books

Hey Snowballers!

Each Friday, The Book Marketing Snowball delivers actionable tips to authors to help them gain more readers and sell more books. This week, we are going to discuss one of the most powerful tools in an author’s book promotion arsenal:


There is a saying in marketing, particularly book marketing, and that is…the money is in the list. In this case, we are talking about a list of email contacts.

Why Building an Email Contact List Matters

Email marketing remains one of the most direct and personal ways to communicate with readers. Unlike social media or other platforms, emails provide a space where authors can craft personalized messages, share exclusive content, and nurture a sense of community. Building an email contact list is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Direct Communication: Emails allow authors to establish direct contact with their audience without the constraints of algorithms or changing platform dynamics.

  2. Targeted Promotion: An email list allows authors to segment their audience based on interests, preferences, or purchase history, enabling them to tailor their marketing messages effectively.

  3. Higher Engagement: Email recipients have actively opted in to receive communications, indicating a higher level of interest and engagement compared to other forms of marketing.

  4. Long-lasting Connection: Unlike social media posts that may get lost in feeds, emails remain in recipients' inboxes, serving as a lasting connection between authors and readers.

Strategies to Build an Email Contact List

1. Create High-Quality Content:

Before even starting to build your email list, focus on creating high-quality content that resonates with your target audience. Whether it's through blog posts, short stories, or social media, consistently providing valuable and engaging content will attract potential subscribers who are genuinely interested in your work.

2. Offer Compelling Lead Magnets:

A lead magnet is something of value that you offer to your audience in exchange for their email addresses. This could be a free ebook, a downloadable guide, exclusive short stories, or even a behind-the-scenes look at your writing process. The key is to make it irresistible and relevant to your audience.

3. Utilize Author Website and Blog:

Your author website is a hub for your online presence. Include prominent sign-up forms for your newsletter on your website and blog. Engage your visitors with engaging content and encourage them to subscribe for updates and exclusive content.

4. Leverage Social Media:

Promote your lead magnets and newsletter on your social media platforms. Create posts that highlight the benefits of subscribing to your email list and include a call-to-action that directs users to your sign-up page.

5. Host Giveaways and Contests:

Organize giveaways or contests that require participants to enter with their email addresses. Make sure the prizes are appealing to your target audience and related to your writing. This can generate buzz and attract new subscribers.

6. Collaborate and Guest Post:

Collaborate with fellow authors, bloggers, or influencers in your niche. Guest posting on their platforms can introduce your work to a wider audience and direct interested readers to your email list.

7. Book Launch and Events:

During book launches or events, encourage attendees to sign up for your email list. Offer special discounts or exclusive content to those who subscribe, making them feel like valued members of your community.

8. Optimize Sign-up Forms:

Place sign-up forms strategically on your website and blog. Keep them simple, asking for minimal information such as name and email address. Consider using pop-ups, slide-ins, or embedded forms to maximize visibility.

Tips for Effective Email Marketing

1. Personalization:

Address subscribers by their first name in emails and segment your list to send targeted content based on their interests or purchase history. Personalization enhances engagement and makes readers feel valued.

2. Consistency:

Maintain a consistent schedule for sending emails. Whether it's a monthly newsletter or weekly updates, consistency helps build anticipation and keeps subscribers engaged.

3. Valuable Content:

Provide valuable and relevant content in your emails. Share updates about your writing journey, exclusive sneak peeks, book recommendations, or writing tips. Make sure your emails offer something of substance to your readers.

4. Engaging Subject Lines:

Craft attention-grabbing subject lines that encourage recipients to open your emails. Avoid clickbait tactics and instead focus on conveying the value they'll get from reading the email.

5. Mobile-Friendly Design:

Ensure your emails are optimized for mobile devices. Many people check their emails on smartphones, so your emails should be easy to read and navigate on smaller screens.

6. Clear Call-to-Action:

Every email should have a clear call-to-action (CTA). Whether it's directing readers to your latest blog post, encouraging them to purchase your book, or inviting them to engage on social media, a well-placed CTA can drive reader engagement.

7. Monitor and Analyze:

Regularly monitor the performance of your email campaigns. Look at metrics like open rates, click-through rates, and conversion rates. Analyze what works and what doesn't, and use this data to refine your email marketing strategy.

Building Long-lasting Relationships

Building an email contact list isn't just about accumulating email addresses. It's about fostering meaningful relationships with your readers. By consistently delivering value, engaging content, and maintaining open lines of communication, you can build a loyal reader community that not only supports your work but also becomes advocates for your writing.

Think of it this way: building a strong email contact list means you OWN that list of customers. No matter what, you will always have a way of getting a message to them about your work. You can’t say the same about other platforms. If you are heavily dependent on social media, or online advertising to promote your book, you are at the mercy of someone else’s platform. What if they change their algorithms and nobody can see your content anymore? What if a social media platform decides to give you the boot for some reason? You would lose access to all of those readers…YOUR readers.

Remember, you have to give something to get something, and that is especially true in marketing a book. Email marketing is a powerful tool, when used the right way. Don’t just use it to spam people about your book. Give them something of value over and over again, as suggested above, and then when you do have an offer for them (such as a new book, workbook, course, etc.) you have already proven you provide value, which builds trust and makes it even more likely your audience will be ready to spend money on what you have to offer: your book!

Did you get any value from this newsletter? If you haven’t already, please consider subscribing to receive even more book marketing tips, and share this link with your fellow authors!