Building a base of people to market to is a goldmine for selling your book once you get published or even to get noticed by a publisher. If you bring value from the start, a big advance should follow. The key question is, how do I do it?
1. You already know people – Start with them first
I’m sure you have some form of list, in your email address book or a holiday card list. Whether it’s small (10-39) or large (300-500), send out an initial message letting everyone know that you plan on sending them regular notes, newsletters or whatever you’re planning to send. You need to give them the chance to opt-out if they aren’t interested. I’m sure most will stick around as they’re friends and family and interested in hearing what you’re up to.
2. When you meet someone new, add them to your list
If you want to succeed as a writer, you need to be out there and meeting new people at least once a month. Useful venues include networking events, writing classes and speaking engagements. If you’re a non-fiction author, you need to do speaking gigs. This will establish yourself as an expert in the field and allow you to get the attendees’ contact details to add them to your list.
Signing people up is important – just ask any successful author. E. Lynn Harris had a trick at his book signing events: He would sign your book if you signed his. Since they didn’t feel they were being directly marketed to (although they were!) they were happy to be on the list.
Remember: Before adding someone to your list, get their permission and let them know how often you will be mailing them. If they want to opt-out, let them.
3. Use a list management service
Your email account may not allow you to send mass-messages – but this depends on your email provider and your Internet service provider.
There are a number of online list management services which not only maintain the list itself but help you send out beautiful HTML formatted messages.
Most services provide a link which you can add to your web site and it adds the person to your list and keeps track of how people have signed up.
4. Send to your list regularly
Have a regular schedule to send to your list, this means they won’t forget about you.
Options include notes, cards, daily inspirational quotes, whatever: It’s up to you.
E-mail newsletters let you share news about you and any recent activities plus useful content for your readers (and potential book buyers).
Giving free tips, for example real estate deals, marketing ideas or cooking recipes, you’re showing your list that you’re an expert in your field. It’s also a good reason for staying on your list – they’re getting a lot out of it!
Remember to include your book details and any reviews it has received.
5. Create buzz from your list
Send out an email blast when your book is nearing publication. Let your readers know it’s coming!
This will generate pre-sales and you can share reviews as they come out. Don’t forget to send date and times of when you’re at an event.
Often people list their book on Amazon.com months before its actual publication date. Pre-orders generated from your list will boost it up the ranking: Bookstores will know you have an audience in buy mode and it looks great to have statistics.
Have you completed your book and are ready to submit to literary agents? You need to get yourself the list of literary agents, a compiled list of every literary agent in the US.