I thought I would do a piece today on book marketing on a shoestring. I know many of you that read my blog are authors on a budget. There’s a lot of information out there on Book Bub and Facebook and AMS ads. There isn’t a whole lot about email marketing and how to do it well. Or sorta well. lol.
Ok so to get an email marketing mailing list first you have to build it. This means you set up a funnel. You give something away in exchange for the person’s email address. I have one of these set up on my website. I give away a really good chapter when people sign up for my mailing list. It’s one I didn’t really want to cut, but did, at the very beginning of my book. Some people give away whole books or even bundles of books. I didn’t have a whole book. lol. But the point is you give the reader something of value.
When I started I didn’t have much of a mailing list. I joined a list builder with Silver Empire to build my list. Mine was a Princess Bride promo. The way it works is simple. A lot of authors band together to offer a prize package. We choose the prizes. Because mine was a Princess Bride promo, all of the items had that theme. Then Silver Empire runs ads to people who like Princess Bride (and all the authors share the contest out on their social accounts and email lists). To enter, people must sign up for the emails of various authors and follow them on social media. One person is drawn out of a hat and wins the prize.
If you like Princess Bride, you’ll like my book.
I personally received over 3500 email addresses from the list builder I participated in. I lost around 1000 from unsubscriptions after it was over, but the rest are still on my list. Silver Empire runs different types of themed promos. They’re doing one now based on True Blood that is themed for Paranormal Romance. Thats 2500 subscribers for about $120. That’s an INSANE DEAL. I try to email twice a month. I email usually info about my reviews or any news I have, and then I include fantasy books they might be interested in that I arrange through StoryOrigin.
StoryOrigin is an app made by Evan Gow that is in development. Right now it is free, but when it goes to paid, I’ll be paying for it. It’s fantastic. The first thing I did when I got on it was set up my reader magnet. Here’s what the dashboard looks like.
The number of subscribers I have, the number there at the top is about a month of this reader magnet being on my website. And that is a great number since I’m not pushing it really. I can send ads to it, and might. But right now, I’m really happy with it. You can see from this screenshot that there are a lot of features to the software. But what we are concerned with right now is the reader magnet.
Some of you know I run a web development company. We have our own email marketing software as a white label. So I use that and just download my list from StoryOrigin as a csv and import it before I send. However he has a lot of integrations, especially with MailChimp. If you use one of those services you wouldn’t have to do that. Emails would automatically be added.
Ok. So pressing the reader magnet button brings you to this screen.
If you hit the “Create Reader Magnet Landing Page” button then you’ll go to this page. I’ve zoomed out quite a bit on this screen so you can see more of the form.
Uploading the thing you want to give away in epub, mobi and pdf gives readers a choice on how they want to read your magnet. This is awesome. When I’m all done, my form looks like this.
and on the front end it looks like this.
I love the look of the landing page! It’s gorgeous!
My email marketing software does landing pages but it isn’t as easy to use. I wanted to try out these features and I’m really happy with it. So then I link my book’s home page to this page when people want to sign up and voila! When they sign up, they get to choose which version of the chapter to download. This is how I grow my email list. My email list is how I sell books.
The next feature I love is the ability to join newsletter swaps and group promotions.
Newsletter swaps are exactly what they sound like. You team up with another author to promote each others books. StoryOrigin has a UBL or universal book link that sends the reader right to the download page. Or you can ask them to send out your reader magnet. It’s fantastic.
Group Promos come in different flavors. If your book is in KU (Kindle Unlimited) then you can join a KU Promo and be sent out to readers looking for books to read who have subscribed to KU. Giveaway Promos send out your reader magnet. Sale promos send out your free or discounted book. I haven’t touched the review lists yet but I suppose they send out ARCS much like Bookfunnel in a way that people can easily download.
So the group promos create a landing page for people to peruse and choose a book. The next one I’m in is called “Clean Fantasy Reads.” In my dashboard it looks like this.
When I hit the preview button I can see the landing page that will be sent out by everyone who signed up. It looks like this.
Now say there are 50 people signed up to take part in the promotion and each has around 2k readers. That’s 100k potential people looking at your book. Even if you only have a 3% open rate, which is normal, then you still have 3k people looking. And that’s good for the price of a mailing! This is essentially a cheap way to push your book out to potential readers. It’s much more likely to sell to people who are interested in your genre.
So that’s what I’m doing for my email promotion. That’s what you’ll see in my newsletter along with news about the book, of course. I think it’s pretty sweet. If you aren’t doing this yet, you need to. And go buy my book while you’re at it. It’s a good book. You’ll like it.
UPDATE! There is a stats screen in StoryOrigin so you can track Universal link clicks and reader magnet clicks! USE IT!