Email book marketing is a great way to get out the word about your brand, your books, your events, and the other unique things happening in your life that are critical to helping indie authors make personal connections with fans and potential readers.
But most of us can’t open our inbox without seeing dozens of emails for products, services, or promotions. How do you break through the noise?
Below are my tips for ensuring your emails and emailed newsletters get opened.
Think about the last few promotional emails you opened. What made them stand out? Was it simply brand loyalty? A limited time discount? A new product announcement?
If you find yourself just throwing random ideas together because you have a book marketing email to get out, you’re not doing it right, and to be candid, you’re being lazy and wasting a good opportunity to grow your audience and sell more books.
Have a goal.
Know Your Audience
Always keep in mind who your readers are and who your potential buyers are. Yes, they like books like yours, but they’re not one-dimensional. Readers of particular genres and topics tend to have other similar interests, follow similar trends, etc. They even respond positively to certain color combinations and font styles. All of these things strengthen your connection with them and make you stand out.
Use your knowledge of your audience as you craft your emails and/or newsletters. Find a few cool images on Canva. Adjust the font selection or the size. No one has to read your emails — so do what you can to make them want to do so!
Be Savvy with Promotion
You want to sell books, but don’t make that the only goal of your email unless you’re offering them a screaming deal. If you’re focusing on brand awareness stick to the 95/5 rule: 95% of your email should be useful, engaging, entertaining content; the other 5% can be sales oriented.
Quality is Key
This goes back to understanding your audience. What do they find interesting, helpful, or entertaining? Don’t just fill space to hit a word count. If it’s stronger and more meaningful because it’s punchy — that’s totally fine.
Sometimes indie authors just need to remind our readers to post reviews; this message should be short, inviting, and direct and should include a link to your book page on Amazon. I’d also suggest sweetening the deal by entering them into a drawing for a gift card if they send you a screenshot of the review!
Mix it Up with Collaboration
Reach out to fellow indie authors and ask if they’d like to swap promotions in your respective book marketing emails or newsletters. The worst you could hear is ‘no,’ so what have you got to lose? The benefit here is two-fold. You get more content for your emails and your readers see you as a resource for great book recommendations
Get the Frequency Right
Watch this one very closely. The general rule of thumb is that the more often you send out your newsletter, the shorter it should be.
If you’re going to do something weekly, keep it short and try to offer more discounts, special announcements, giveaways, etc. so that you really make it worth your audience’s time. If you’re aiming for monthly, you can make your email/newsletter longer.
Email marketing services like MailChimp can give you stats on how many people open your emails, how many links are clicked, and even the time of day that seems to be most popular with your recipients. Take advantage of these bells and whistles – they can help you market smarter.
Let Your Personality Shine
Your emails should be written in your voice. Are you known for a certain catchphrase? Do you have a motto? Can you make a sailor blush? If it fits your genre and target reader — it makes you relatable. Use your assets!
Respect Reader Time
If you have multiple things to discuss, use clear headings and after each heading include a concise, single sentence summary of what you’re going to address. This gives readers the option to skim and get what’s most important to them right away, and hopefully come back for the rest when they have more time.
Get it Edited
This is a big one. Ask a friend, your spouse or partner, a fellow author, and/or someone who is good with words (or at least good with details) to read through your email and look for glaring errors so that you can fix them before sending the information out.
Respect People’s Privacy
If you’re going to send the emails from your private email, then use the bcc option. Don’t make everyone else’s email address public. And keep in mind that some private email servers don’t like it when a single email is sent to too many recipients – this is when services like MailChimp also come in handy.
When done right, email book marketing can be a critical and effective piece of your overall marketing strategy. Keep these tips in mind and remind yourself that creativity must be part of your email product. When you assess what kind of value you’re really providing your recipient, be hard on yourself.
In book marketing, as in life, people appreciate it when you make something worth their time and energy. Follow that motto and you can’t go wrong.
Penny C. Sansevieri, Founder and CEO of Author Marketing Experts, Inc., is a bestselling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. She is an Adjunct Professor teaching Self-Publishing for NYU. She was named one of the top influencers of 2019 by New York Metropolitan Magazine.
Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most innovative Amazon Optimization programs as well as Social Media/Internet book marketing campaigns. She is the author of 18 books, including How to Sell Books by the Truckload on Amazon: 2021 Amazon Ads Powerhouse Edition, Revise and Re-Release Your Book, 5-Minute Book Marketing, and Red Hot Internet Publicity, which has been called the "leading guide to everything Internet." Her next book From Book to Bestseller is due out this fall.
AME has had dozens of books on top bestseller lists, including those of The New York Times, USA Today, and The Wall Street Journal.
To learn more about Penny’s books or her promotional services, visit www.amarketingexpert.com.