Indie author marketing tips–email harvesting and free book

This is part 1 of the indie author book marketing series I am doing.

For three years now –since I first published my book Keeper of Reign fantasy novel—I’d heard about the importance of having a mailing list. But for the life of me I couldn’t figure out how to get readers to sign up. Yes, I’ve read about giving away pdfs of this and that, subscriptions to newsletters—seriously, who has the time to read all these free write-ups and newsletters?

Worse, I’ve been giving away free books and even used paid advertising so readers will find out about my promotions and download.

All this was well and fine. Most of the time whenever I did a promotion my books zoom to the top of the list on Amazon but as soon as the books go back to having a price and whenever the promotion ends the rankings slide off the charts. The only people who’ve gained the most from my paid promotions, aside from readers who get the book for free, is probably BookBub!

So what to do?

Recently, I discovered a bestselling indie author who seemed to say things that made sense and suddenly the bulb at the end of the tunnel seemed to light up.

So far, this is what I’ve learned.

When doing a promotion to up your rankings on Amazon, don’t do it in a sudden burst. The Amazon algorithm would favor your book better if it saw slow but steady growth—sort of like the hare and the tortoise story.

So, instead of channeling all your promo efforts in one or two days spread your advertising and other marketing efforts over a week or longer. When Amazon starts to see that the growth in your sales/ download is more organic, than Amazon would start to recommend you book. And this is what we really want—to have Amazon helping us in the promotion. (Because truth be told, we can’t do it on our own.)

Another thing to remember is when you give away a free book, please don’t do it as I did the last three years. Make sure you get something back from giving away your book for free.

Harvest emails.

You need to sign up with an auto-responder—like Mailchimp which allows you to send up to 2000 emails for free. What do I mean by an auto responder.

Basically, somewhere in your site where you are encouraging others to download, make sure you ask them for their email address if they’d like this. When they give you their email address, then the mailing service (Mailchimp, in my case,) will auto deliver this free ebook to their inbox. You want to build trust so next time your subscriber gets an email from you they will feel…ah! Maybe another free book! Or some goody.

In fact, do just that. Next email you write, give another freebie away. After a couple of times of getting free books from you their hearts will melt and third times, a charm, as they say. So that the next time you tell them you are having a new book they are interested to know.

The best is to write in a series, and give away the first two books—using them as a funnel to get email addresses. So my advice is write shorter books. (Not like how I foolishly did—80,000 words for each novel which only took a few years to write! What was I thinking? )

Also, if you write shorter books and go on the Amazon platform exclusively,  when you join KDP Unlimited and readers download and read through the first 15% you get paid—and it’s easier for readers to go through 15% of a 100 page book, than a 260 page book. You get paid the same amount whether your book is 500 pages long, or 50 pages long.

Reading the right books is like eating the right food.

That’s it for today. These are the things I’d learned the last two months since I got back from Monaco. Also, I’m plodding on trying to use Scrivener, and I learned how to use Calibre and Sigil—which I highly recommend—especially for placing all your work in one library and using the programs for editing the mobi files which I’d uploaded on KDP. You can watch this Youtube if you want to know why and how I used Calibre and Sigill. It’s done by Amazon bestselling indie author Hugh Howie.

Till the next time—Emma Right, young adult and children’s book author and homeschool mom. PS: Below is moi when I had time to brush my hair. (Picture taken in my family room.)


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About The Author

emma right

Multiple award-winning author and copywriter. Children young adult fiction best sellers.

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