How To Build A List Of Readers For Your Next Book Launch

So you’ve written a book and you’re about to publish it. Maybe you know you’re going to write another, maybe you have six more planned in the series, or maybe you have no idea what will come next, but you think perhaps you should know who your readers are. These days we all have to market ourselves and if you can market directly to people who love your work, it’s that much easier.

You are in the most powerful position right now to capture information about your market.

If you have no website, no twitter following, no social media presence at all, no speaking platform – nothing else at all – you can still start building a list of people who like your writing.If you have all these things, you can still capture a specific list who love your books.

Simply add to the end of the book a link to a website with a sign up list.

You can do this inside your print book or at the end of your Kindle book. Even if your book is out there, you can modify your files for print on demand or ebooks. So it’s not too late for anyone.

The example right is at the end of Pentecost and points to a signup page.

How do you actually set up list-building software?

Read about the basics of list-building here. I use Aweber (affiliate link) which is one of the best and most highly reputable services as well as being easy to use. You also need a site to put it on (you can use a wordpress.com free site) and a URL if you want an easy to remember one. This one just points back to a page on this blog so nothing too exciting there but I will point it to a special page once Prophecy gets going e.g. free chapters etc.

This has the obvious benefit of giving you a list of people who liked your book enough to sign up for the next one. You can email them directly when you have your next book out or send out information prior to get the launch started early.

It also has the added benefit of giving you a kick up the ass! I get emails daily showing that people are signing up for Prophecy and every day, I think I could have made another sale. There is great power in the backlist, and great earning potential and this is a daily reminder I need to get on with the series.

How are you building a list of readers for your next launch? Does this help?

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Comments

  1. says

    Good idea; I’ll employ this in my next book, “Lulu Love, Teenage Ghost” because it is the first in a series. Hopefully readers will like the first in the series.
    It seems that building lists is becoming popular. It’s a standard marketing technique that John Locke used to sell his million books and he describes it well in his “How to” guide.

    • says

      Yes, list building is definitely Marketing 101 but many authors miss these important steps! John Locke does indeed talk about building a list of guaranteed buyers, fans who will buy your book immediately – this is a start and works for a series at least.

  2. says

    This did help, Joanna, though my book isn’t ready yet. I used Aweber on an old site years ago, and I guess I need to get back for list building and any other service they offer now. Thanks! Looking forward to Prophecy! (Who says writers don’t buy other writers’ books?–been hearing that a lot lately.)

    • says

      Hi Marcia – I know that some writers buy each others books. I often buy other people in the niche we have here but also we have different tastes. I had some lovely people offer to read and review Pentecost who hated it and they were not my target audience for fiction – although they enjoy this site. That’s ok! We all like different things.
      I’m glad you enjoyed it though :)

  3. says

    You know if you want a free alternative to create a mailing list you can use Google Spreadsheets + Google forms:

    http://www.brighthub.com/internet/google/articles/14487.aspx

    What you will get out of it is purely a list of email addresses, but if you are working on a tight budget, this will work nicely.

    You can even embed your sign up form on your existing site with no problem http://googledocs.blogspot.com/2008/05/embed-your-forms.html

    • says

      Thanks Andrew – I guess my problem with Google docs is that
      a) people can’t unsubscribe so it is not compliant with the anti-spam laws (I think)
      b) you can’t set up auto-responders from it which is one of the reasons for using a list so you can give people more info
      c) you can’t auto-send emails to the people on the list in a safe and non-spammable way which protects them and others – unless you do it manually to each person.
      Yes, Aweber is a paid service but I am a true believer that authors must take being an entrepreneur seriously – so that involves some cost. Indie authors need a budget for sure :) but connection with fans is a must these days.
      Thanks though – this may be an option for some people.

  4. says

    This is a good advice. In fact, I missed to do it the first time around, and had to call my e-book out of distribution to add this (along with a couple of other changes).

    Now all’s well, and I know folks visit my site either during or after reading my book because they email me about it :)

    It’s a wonderful feeling.

    I’m not marketing my list at all – apart from having a free short story as a bonus – but my sign-up rate, although still dismal, is increasing.

    • says

      I love getting the emails as well Austin, it really helps to see there are people out there reading the book! Don’t worry about the sign up rate being slow. A trickle soon becomes a stream, and 100 fans who will buy the next book is better than none at all!

  5. says

    Fantastic advice, Joanna! Authors really do need to understand that they need to be marketers along with being a writer. These days you truly have to be both in order to succeed.

  6. Lovelyn says

    I’m working on editing my second novel now and I was just thinking that I really wished I had tried to build an email list with my first one. It’s never too late the start. I was thinking of using Mail Chimp, but I’ll look into Aweber too to see which one is the better deal.

  7. says

    Joanna, you mentioned that you did well with advertising on Kindle Nation Daily, but when I go to the link to that site there is nothing there about advertising with them. How does this work?

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