Updated 10/6/2021

Email marketing is still considered one of the best ways for businesses to stay in contact with their customers.  According to MailChimp email open rates average around 26% for artists while according to Hootsuite, you’re lucky to reach 5% of your social media followers.  Most successful authors use email marketing to stay in touch with their readers.  In fact, some authors like Austin Kleon, have grown their email lists to over 85,000 subscribers.  That’s more than some newspapers!  This is why email is considered important in the marketing world and I think it’s about time authors learned how grow their lists. 

Marketing Your Email Newsletter

You will have to market your newsletter as you do pretty much everything else. And if your goal is to build a massive email list, then you’re going to have to make readers want to sign up. There are several tried and true ways to go about that and below I list just a few:  

Free Ebooks (Loss Leader)

Hands down, many authors swear by this technique, after all, who doesn’t like a free book? Here’s how it works, an author offers a free book, readers opt-in, and boom—new subscriber. Don’t worry, if you have only one book out, you can always write a short prequel. This way you don’t feel like you’re sacrificing your work to freebie snatchers.

Email Swaps:    

Sometimes authors hit a plateau when it comes to expanding their email list and turn to things like an email swap with another author. Here’s how it works, an author will introduce your book to their email subscribers and in exchange, you introduce their book to yours. It’s free and simple, here are a few sites that can help arrange an author email swap:          

Don’t forget for a successful email swap you should have books in the same genre and an email list of comparable size. 

Social Media

It’s my opinion that you should use social media to promote your email list, not the other way around. If you have any social media accounts, then you must promote your email list to your readers there. Also, don’t’ forget your bio, you can add your signup link there as well. 

Blog or Podcast

The most obvious place to put your opt-in link is on your blog or website via a pop-up. This way when someone visits your site, they are immediately greeted with an offer to sign up for your email list.  

If you have a podcast, you might want to mention your list and where to sign up. Just like when you have advertisers on your shows, you need to advertise your products as well.  

Tip: It also wouldn’t hurt if you put a link to your opt-in form in any existing ebooks you’ve already published.


If you have a few bucks lying around then why not advertise? Just beware that there are people on the hunt for freebies who may just sign up, collect their freebie then, unsubscribe. So be careful where you advertise.

Blog Tours or Guest Posting

If you’re going to post on someone’s blog it would be wise to leave your form’s link in the bio. If they don’t allow it, create a sales/landing page on your blog with your opt-in form.

Wrapping It Up:

I’m sure you’ve gotten the point by now, that authors really have to promote their email lists and not so much their social media accounts these days. This way we can weather the storms of social media and advertising extinctions without breaking a sweat. There’s nothing worse than being dependent on something or someone that cares nothing for your success, that includes your publisher or whatever social media platform everyone is using this month.

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