Do Authors Need An Email List?

A common question from authors is do they really need an email list? Here is my answer.

I recently asked my newsletter subscribers for any questions they had about an using an email list to help market their books. One question that came up was if authors really needed a list, especially if they were publishing a few books as a passion project.

That is a common question. And my answer is yes, you do.

Do authors need an email list? Image of at sign, globe and enveloope

I will begin by noting an exception. If you are writing one book project, if you aren’t going to continue writing in the genre, and if you aren’t concerned about making money from the book, then I wouldn’t worry about the list.

Other than that, I believe you need to have an email list. Here are reasons why:

  • A list makes sure your subscribers hear from you. Social media posts may or may not be shown to people who follow you but having their email address lets you get in touch with them. (This is another reason to respect the trust they put in you to not abuse having their address.)
  • A list keeps your audience engaged. You can develop and deepen your relationship with them and out of your list, find and create your true fans.
  • If you self-publish, a list lets you sell to them directly.
  • Notify your list when you put your book up for pre-order and when you need ARC readers who will leave a review after the book is launched. These things help with the algorithm in the online bookstores.

Even if you are only writing 2-3 books, you want to be able to get in touch with people who like your first book to let them know subsequent ones are available. Even if your books are a passion project where you aren’t worried about making money, you still want to let people who bought the first book to know about the others.

Many email service providers offer a free plan to start with, often with over 1000 subscribers. You can use premade templates or send a plain text newsletter. You don’t have to spend a lot of time or money to get your list set up.

The biggest challenge most people find is not knowing what to email to your list when you have one. Check out my post Email Ideas for Fiction Authors to get you started.

If you need help getting your list started, or want to brainstorm ideas on what to send, contact me about setting up a consultation.

Watch the Improve User Experience on Your Author Website workshop today. Available only to members of the newsletter list, you also gain access to the Resource Library for Authors containing checklists, spreadsheets, and other tools you can download. You email address will never be sold, and you can unsubscribe at any time.


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