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Email Marketing for Authors - 6 Steps to Build an Email List

Updated: Jun 10

Writing a book is a huge accomplishment, but making sure it reaches the right audience can be a challenge. Email marketing is a powerful tool that can help authors reach their target audience and build relationships with readers.

In this blog post, we'll be sharing our top tips to increase exposure for your book! From crafting effective subject lines to segmenting your lists, we'll cover all the basics you need to know to get the most out of your email marketing efforts. So let's get started!

Email Marketing for Authors in 6 Easy Steps | At Home Author

Why Build an Email List?

Email marketing is an excellent tool at any stage of your author career. It’s one of the best ways to keep in contact with your audience and let them know about upcoming releases.

If you are looking to gain a loyal following that will purchase every book you publish, you’ll find building an email list to be much more powerful than just using social media marketing.

With email marketing, you can craft highly personalized messages to your readers and increase the likelihood of engagement and sales. Plus, email marketing is cost-effective and relatively easy to set up and maintain. But how does it all work?

To help you build an email list, we’ve put together a few of the key steps you need to follow to start building a lifelong relationship with your readers.

1. Choose Your Email Provider

Before you can even think about attracting readers to build an email list, you need to select a service provider. And before you ask, no you can't just send emails the way you would contact friends are family. Those are personal and don't include an unsubscribe button, which is required per CAN-SPAM business laws.

Email Marketing for Authors - An Example

So what you need is an actual business email provider. These act as a database to store your contacts and send out mass marketing emails all at once.

Not only will they include an unsubscribe option for your email list, they'll also provide you with metrics about your open rates, click rates, and site sessions resulting from each email campaign. You'll be able to schedule email campaigns in advance and add other interactive elements that a personal email can't provide.

Some of our favorite email providers include MailerLite, Wix Ascend, ConvertKit, MailChimp, and Flodesk. If cost is a concern, consider starting with MailerLite. It's free for up to 1,000 email subscribers before you need a paid version. MailChimp also has a free tier but we've found MailerLite to be a much more user-friendly platform by comparison.

As for paid platforms, Wix Ascend is our favorite by far but it does require that you have a Wix website. Make sure you research the pros and cons of each option first to ensure you find a solution that’s right for your needs.


2. Get Your Email Address

Once you have your email provider secured, you'll need to hook it up to your business email address. While you can use "" there are lots of reasons why a custom email address ( instead:

  • Professionalism – Having a custom business email address, like, adds a level of professionalism to your communications that you can’t get from a generic address.

  • Brand Recognition – A custom business email address helps to build brand recognition and create a more memorable impression with your customers.

  • Security – By having a custom business email address, you can set up additional layers of security and data privacy that are not available with a generic address.

  • Organization – Having a custom business email address helps to keep your business and personal emails better organized.

  • Reliability – A custom business email address is more reliable and less prone to spam and phishing attacks than a generic address.

  • Scalability – As your business grows, your custom business email address can grow with it. You can add additional users, departments, and roles without having to change email addresses.

Also, emails are more likely to be sent to your customer's spam folder than a custom business address. There are lots of ways to get a custom business email address but the two easiest ways are to check with your website host or to use Google Workspace.

3. Create a Lead Magnet

A lead magnet (also called an opt-in) is a digital offer designed to attract potential customers and generate sign-ups to your email list. It could be a worksheet, activity, coloring page, or other parent or teacher resource.

The idea is that the offer is something of value that potential customers are willing to exchange their contact information for. You want to create something that your target audience will be interested in! Then, you will start sharing and promoting your free resource.

⭐️ Get consent

On the actual subscriber form, make sure your audience knows that they are agreeing to join your email list. Nobody wants spam and honesty is the best policy. Here is an example of a subscriber opt-in form on the At Home Author website:

Example of a an opt-in form | At Home Author

⭐️ Automate the Process

Set it up so that once they follow out the form, they'll receive an automatic email containing the lead magnet for them to download. This takes the pressure off of you (imagine needing to send all those manually! #exhausting 😳) For more insights, check out this video:

4. Promote Your Lead Magnet

Next, you need to drive traffic to your lead magnet. Without traffic, no one will be aware of your offer and won’t be able to take advantage of it. Here are some great ways to let people know about your freebie:

  • Add your freebie link to your social media platforms, preferably in your bio link.

  • Post about it on your social media platforms (Static posts, Reels, Stories, etc)

  • Share your freebie in Facebook groups (posts + comments)

  • Run social media ads to your freebie

  • Create a Pin on Pinterest

5. Think About The Emails You Are Sending

As people sign up for your email list, you’ll want to ensure you keep them engaged with your content. While you may be tempted to bombard them with exciting information, less is more when it comes to email marketing - you don't want to overwhelm or annoy your subscriber list.

Every single email you send should have value for your audience. It's not enough to send "please buy my book" emails all the time. Instead, share news, additional freebies, or other content that's related to your niche.

For example, if your children's book is about encouraging kindness, you could send emails containing tips to teach kindness to children, kindness crafts, giveaways, etc. You have to keep their interests in mind over your own.

What do they care about? What do they want to see more of? Focus on that.

6. Optimize Your Process

After you've been emailing for a while, you'll start to get a better sense of the day of the week and the time of day that your audience tends to open emails. Start taking note of what types of emails get more reads, what subject lines have the highest open rates, and which emails get the most link clicks. Find the parts of your strategy that are already working and polish the parts that aren't.


And that's all there is to it! By following these tips, you won't just be collecting a list of customers, you'll be creating a community. When you send them regular email updates and valuable content, you’ll find they continue to support you throughout your career for many years to come.

Disclaimer: This blog post may contain affiliate links to products we enjoy using ourselves. Should you choose to use these links, At Home Author may earn affiliate commissions at no additional cost to you.

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