3 Highly Effective Ways to Grow Your Email List as a Self-Published Author

According to the Direct Marketing Association, email marketing on average sees a 4300% return on investment for businesses in the United States.  As a self-published author, you are running your own publishing business, so email marketing is a skill that you should definitely have in your book marketing toolkit. And with online book shopping up about 15% in 2020, there’s no better time to get started. Here are 3 simple, highly effective ways to grow your email list:

1. Reader Magnets (aka “opt ins”)

This is a piece of writing or a resource that you give away for free in exchange for a reader’s first name and email. Short stories, book excerpts, first-in-series books, and novellas all make great reader magnets for fiction and nonfiction authors. Topic experts and business authors can also use case studies, infographics, video trainings and other resources as their reader magnets. Here are some top locations to place your reader magnets:

  • on your website (your homepage or blog are great locations)
  • through an invite you put in the back of your book that takes a reader to a landing page
  • on landing pages hosted by platforms like BookFunnel or NetGalley (these platforms are great if you don’t have a website)
  • through links in your social profiles (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.)


If you have your own website built on WordPress, there’s a MailChimp plugin to automate the delivery of your reader magnet and the capture of the reader’s name and email when they request your reader magnet. The compatibility and affordability of these two platforms is one reason Bublish builds author websites exclusively on WordPress.

2. Virtual Events and Trainings

If you’re an expert or business author, virtual trainings are a great way to capture emails, connect with your readers (and potential clients), and build trust. Due to COVID-19 restrictions for real-world events, virtual events, trainings and courses have skyrocketed. A virtual event can be anything from a one-to-one consultation to a full-blown webinar with hundreds of attendees. Popular platforms allow authors to capture names and emails during the registration process. There are dozens of platforms to host your virtual event. Some of the top platforms are Zoom, GoToMeeting and GoToWebinar, Webinar Jam, and AnyMeeting.

For fiction authors, the same thing can be achieved with a different kind of virtual event where the focus is on entertainment, rather than training. Thousands of children’s authors have hosted online story hours this year. Adult fiction authors have shifted their signing events onto platforms like Facebook Live, YouTube Live, and Instagram Live, just to name a few. Another idea is to host an unboxing events on these platforms, allowing readers to share that special moment when you see your book for the first time. Capturing names and emails is straightforward on some live event platforms and trickier on others. One way to ensure that you capture emails in conjunction with your live event is to combine it with a giveaway or contest that requires attendees to share their name and email to participate.

3. Exclusive Groups

Mastermind groups, private Facebook groups, and private LinkedIn groups are a few popular ways to engage with readers, build rapport, share knowledge, have fun, and capture reader names and emails.

A mastermind group offers a combination of brainstorming, education, peer accountability and support in a group setting to sharpen  business and/or personal skills. Masterminds are a perfect marketing and brand-building tool for nonfiction topic experts and business authors. Sometimes virtual trainings accompany the mastermind group invite, but this is not a requirement. Typically, a mastermind group meets weekly, monthly or quarterly. The key is that the mastermind is a regularly scheduled live event where attendees can ask questions and engage around a specific topic. You can host a mastermind group on many of the platforms that have already been mentioned in this post. Some authors keep their masterminds simple and host them on their phone rather than a live video platform. Choose the media format that makes you feel most comfortable.

Exclusive invites to Facebook and LinkedIn groups are also a great way to build your email list and get to know your readers. They are  different from masterminds in that there offer ongoing chats on a wide variety of topics. There may be live events that are exclusive to the group, but they are not necessarily scheduled on an ongoing basis. The key to a successful group is that you engage with the group members regularly, so you’ll need to monitor activity daily or at a minimum weekly. In addition to name and email capture, these platforms offer the added benefit of direct messaging tools, where you can place reader magnets or opt-ins.

We hope you have found these tips helpful. If you want to learn more about how to grow your email list, click the orange button and sign up for the replay of our free virtual training, “Email Marketing for Authors,” part of our #PublishFromHome Training Series.

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