The #1 Thing Authors Must Do To Sell Books

Why authors need to be building an email list to sell books

The most important thing for authors – especially self-published authors – to do is grow an email list. OK… so how do you do that? How do you build an email list? Admittedly, setting up an email list can be a bit of a challenge. If you want one right away, I’d love to set one up for you and show you how to use it. This article is not about how to technically pull off an email opt-in form, but rather why you want to establish and grow your email list and how email compares to social media marketing.

Email Crushes Social Media

Social media is great and there’s a lot of talk about how wonderful Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are for reaching your readers and growing your audience. I’m not going to deny any of that. Social media is a great thing. It’s great to be part of Facebook groups and to share what you’re doing on Twitter. But, when it comes to actually selling books, email is vastly superior to all of the social media platforms combined. Here are some reasons why email wins.

People Will See Your Emails

It’s important to stay on the minds of your readers. Marketers often refer to this as staying “top of mind.” That’s just a fancy way of saying that you don’t want your audience to forget about you. When you send an email, you are pretty much guaranteed to reach everyone on your list. You can’t say that about Facebook or Twitter. For example, when you post something on your Facebook page it will only appear in about 5% of your followers’ news feeds.

In 2016 Facebook changed their algorithm which even further reduced the visibility of your posts – especially for business pages. Posts to your business page of Facebook might only land in 2% of your followers’ news feeds.

All of this is to say, that if you want to set up a way for people to follow you and actually see what you have to say. You need to be building your email list.

Customers Come From Email Lists

According to the McKinsey iConsumer survey, email is still a significantly more effective way to acquire customers than social media.

Customers buy from email more than Facebook and Twitter

As you can see, email wins more customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. When people look for deals and coupons they look to email. When people want to keep in touch with you, they want to do it through email. Email has always been and still is the #1 tool people use to communicate over the internet.

You Own Your Email List

The last and most import point about your email list is that YOU OWN your email list. On social media platforms, they own your list. If they want to hide your posts or change their algorithms that’s entirely up to them. With email, you own the list and you get to decide when to send your messages and what your readers will see.

You Get To Tell Stories

We’ll be talking more about what to say in your emails and how often to send them. But one last point to make about email vs social media is that you can tell stories in your emails. As an author, you – more than anybody – know that stories connect with people. Make someone laugh, feel encouraged, or learn how to do something great and they remember you. You can’t pull that off very easily over social media because they choose how you can write. You only get a couple of sentences to get your point across. With email, you can say as much or as little as you want. Don’t be boring and long-winded. Get to your point. But feel free to do it by telling a story. =)

OK, So What’s Next…

It’s obvious that building your email list is something you want to be doing if you want to sell your books. As an author, email is the best way to reach your audience. So stay tuned and we’ll be talking about:

  • What to use to manage your email lists
  • What to say (and what not to say) in your emails
  • How often to send emails
  • and more…

In the meantime, if you have any questions just let me know!

Thanks for reading!

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