Your author e-mailing list needs a good, solid carrot. That’s a freebie you give to those who sign up to be on your newsletter list.
So, what do you need to know about choosing a carrot?
- Make it something that your true fans would love to have. You may not even have one true fan yet, but we’re looking to the future where you have a hundred of them, or maybe even a thousand. So actually your carrot is going to define your true fans.
- Make it free for the newsletter signup, and free nowhere else. If it is for sale somewhere else, give it a relatively high price. You want the gift to have value.
- Promote it every time you approach someone who might become a fan. Put it on your business cards and on postcards you might hand out at book signings. Put the freebie part front and center on those. You can also run ads touting the freebie on Facebook and Goodreads that are targeted at people who “like” authors whose works are like yours.
- Don’t choose something that appeals to too broad an audience, like a Kindle giveaway. You’ll have signups for people who aren’t actually interested in what you write.
So, what is the ideal carrot for an author of fiction? I think it is a short story, or a short-short story, that showcases your strengths. Make sure it’s carefully edited by someone else, and get a professional cover made for it. Remember, it’s going to be your advertisement out there on the Web.
For more on author mailing lists, check out these posts: