Friday, February 26, 2016

Grow Your E-mail List by Jim Hart

One of the best things you can do to grow your author platform is to grow an audience of subscribers to your blog. A healthy e-mail list is attractive to potential publishers.

Lack of author platform continues to become one of the top reasons we see proposals declined from a publisher.

According to a recent blog from Rob Eager e-mail is forty times more effective at “acquiring customers than all social media combined.”  That’s a bold statement. But consider that your e-mail list allows you to communicate directly to your readers. It’s more targeted than Twitter or Facebook. (BTW- I just noticed the Pope has 8.75 million Twitter followers, he should have no problem getting a book contract.)

A very effective way to grow your e-mail subscription list is to offer some free content as an enticement for a reader to subscribe to your blog. In the same blog Rob Eager addresses the myth that giving away free content could have a negative effect on current and future sales. He counters this by explaining “free content is a low-cost effective way to gain new customers.”

So what content do you have that you could format into a short, downloadable PDF?

·         An unpublished short story
·         A five-day devotion series
·         A short collection of your poetry
·         A handful of your favorite recipes that tie in with your current book or work-in-progress
·         A how-to manual for one of your hobbies

But whatever content you offer, it needs to have value to the reader. It should be something that they feel they may not be able to find elsewhere. Think about content that is unique to you as a writer.

In addition to using your blog to collect e-mail subscribers, using a site like Noisetrade is a great way to offer content to potential readers. Noisetrade originally started as a ‘pay what you want’ site for musicians to release content. They are also now allowing authors to offer content – everything from a complete book, to a short story. With Noisetrade the consumer can pay you a small ‘tip’ or download for free if they so choose. But either way they have to supply you with their e-mail address.

Remember the larger your e-mail list is, the stronger your online marketing asset becomes. And that could get you a J from a publisher.


Anonymous said...

Very good article. Thank you! You mention that lack of platform is one of the top reassons publishers decline proposals. Authors hear about this all the time, but the bull's eye is nebulous. Instead of hearing that their platform lacks, they want to know what exactly the bull's eye is that they need to attain. So what does a successful platform look like? How many Facebook followers? How many subscribers to the e-mail subscription? This information will let authors know what they need to accomplish and help them know when they reached their goal. Thanks.

Jim Hart said...

The numbers that publishers look for in a successful platform can be daunting. Some larger publishers will want to see a MINIMUM of 10,000 e-mail subscribers. I've had a proposal rejected due to lack of platform and the writer had nearly 300,000 Twitter followers. So it can seem like a moving goal post. But remember that platform consists of more than just social media numbers. And it's a marathon, not a sprint (I borrowed that from someone). Platform is also personal appearances and previous publishing. I have signed authors who did not yet have a book publishes, but they had written hundreds of magazine and newspaper articles. Lately I'm of the opinion that to grow your author platform you have to find ways to ACTIVELY engage with potential readers. Look for ways to start a conversation, and that can look like a number of things. Blogging is certainly one of them, but so are podcasts, youtube videos and a talk at a library or church. In regards to social media specifically, I advise to start by concentrating on just one or two - such as your blog and then pick another social media platform that will attract the type of reader that you want to buy your next book. That may look different from writer to writer.

Diana Flegal said...

Thanks Jim. Great info :-)

Joyce Hart said...

Excellent post, Jim. Really good advise and information.