Fiction Writers: A Simple Approach to Build a Better Email List

POSTED ON Jul 1, 2016

Jason Kong

Written by Jason Kong

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You likely know that getting more people to subscribe to your mailing list should be one of your top priorities.

Failing to do so would be a huge business mistake. Besides, as a fiction author, email marketing is one of the best ways to cultivate a readership.

The problem? It’s easier said than done.

  • You have to get people to subscribe.
  • You have to send out engaging emails.
  • You have to compel your audience to support you.

These are huge marketing challenges. And while improving your persuasion skills is a good idea, there’s another adjustment you can make that’s also effective.

Best of all, it’s simple to do.

The surprising benefits of choosing a smaller target audience

Let’s start with a brutal truth: People don’t like giving out their email addresses.

That means it’s hard to get a signup from someone who isn’t already enthusiastic about your work. And even if you do, it’s challenging to hold their attention with the emails you send.

So what if you focused your email marketing on people who have enjoyed at least one of your stories?

This is a different mindset than trying to get anyone with some interest onto your mailing list. Targeting readers who have experienced and liked your fiction writing makes your email marketing choices clearer. By tailoring your actions to a very specific group of people, you’ll increase the chances they’ll positively respond.

The areas of your email marketing that will benefit include:

  1. Attracting subscribers

    • The magnet for fans is your storytelling. Offering free eBooks is great as a lead generation tactic as well as an incentive for email list signups.
    • It’s clear that asking for a subscription to your mailing list at the end of each of your fiction pieces is one of the best places to do it.
    • You know if you’re not getting more subscribers, it almost always comes down to one of two reasons:
      • your fiction is not yet seen by the right people,
      • or, your writing needs additional refinement
  2. Sharing content that engages

    • Once you know you’re emailing fans, then coming up with ideas for your emails should be a lot easier. If you understand why they like your storytelling, then you can figure out ways to elevate their enthusiasm.
    • Remember that existing readers have a certain level of interest and familiarity with your work. You can make references from your world that outsiders wouldn’t get. The engagement level is high.
    • You can show your appreciation by giving stuff that you know will be valuable to your fans. Maybe that’s your time by responding with a personalized email, or your writing by sharing some flash fiction.
  3. Presenting desirable offers

    • If you’ve done the hard work of finding and engaging people who like your fiction, then you shouldn’t have to make any hard sells. Your offers are geared for an audience who want them.
    • You’re also in a position to ask for non-monetary support such as book reviews and spreading the word on social media.
    • If you track your analytics, you’ll see open and conversion rates that are reflective of a true readership that you’re connected with online.

Over to you

Do you have specific criteria on who you want on your email list? Please share your experience in the comments below.

profile-of-Jason-Kong-e1351222381642Jason Kong is the founder of Storyrally, a free email-based subscription that helps fiction writers with their online marketing. Sign up now and receive the guide “How to Use Testimonials to Hook New Readers.’

You can find more articles written by Jason here.


Jason Kong

Written by
Jason Kong

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