Email Marketing for Authors: Six Messages to Send Your Readers, by Lauren Ranalli

Did you happen to read some emails today? 🙂 If so, then you are in good company. Reading email is a daily occurrence for many of us.

As an author and marketing professional, I’m often asked about social media. I think social media is great. Want to know why? Because it can help you get people onto your email list. And if I had to choose between a huge social media following and a huge email list, I would choose email every time.

Here’s why: The social media algorithm is always changing, and you and I have very little control over who sees our content and when. But with email, we can control when content is distributed, who receives it, and we can track our open rates, engagement rates, and clicks to our website or sales platforms. I encourage all of the authors I work with to have an email sign-up on their website, but you can start off with just using your own email account before investing in a platform like Flodesk, ConvertKit, Mailchimp, or others. Don’t yet have an email list? You can also start by sending messages to your friends, family, and other contacts. It doesn’t have to be fancy; it just needs to happen.

Of course, the next natural question is, “Well, what should I say in these emails?” Let’s get really concrete and start off with six messages to send your readers. If you plan out these six messages over the course of six months, or even a year, you’ll have a great foundation for connecting with people through email communications.

Get Ready to Hit “Send”!

Email #1 – The “Behind the Scenes” Email: Sharing behind-the-scenes content is a great way to connect with readers. It gives them insight into your process, who you are as an author, and even teases some upcoming news without screaming, “Buy my book!” I’ve sent behind-the-scenes emails about why I love to sign each copy of my book, sharing news of getting a local bookstore contract, and other small glimpses into my life as an author and marketing coach. 

Email #2 – “The Reveal” Email: When you’ve hit an exciting milestone with your book, like starting draft illustrations or finalizing the cover, let people know! Again, you’re not focused on saying “Buy my book,” because if you only have draft illustrations, your book isn’t even ready for purchase yet. But you’re taking people along on your journey and getting them excited for the launch.

Email #3 – The “Special Bonus” Email: At least once a year you should plan on having a special bonus. Typically, this may be tied to a book launch or announcing pre-orders, but it doesn’t have to be. The special bonus is all about something extra people can get when they buy your book.

Email #4 – The “Reviews Are In” Email: I’m a big proponent of getting and SHARING your reviews. Reviews that just sit on Amazon have some value, but you have the ability to really maximize their impact when you share them on social media and through email.

Email #5 – The “Holiday Special” Email: This one is pretty standard as many of us already think about Black Friday, Small Business Saturday (my personal favorite), or Cyber Monday. But there are lots of holidays throughout the year that may tie into your book theme, so don’t feel like you can only send this email in December. But for better or worse, I think people have come to expect a deal around the winter holidays, so you might as well put together a discount or free shipping offer and email it out to everyone you know!

Email #6 – The “Thank You” Email: It’s really important to take a moment to say thank you to everyone who has supported you during your author journey. This isn’t a direct pitch for a sale, it’s a moment of gratitude and reflection. Send your readers, friends, and followers a quick message to let them know how much you appreciate them. This act of gratitude goes a long way!

Ready to get started? I encourage you to set a goal of sending out an email in the next 48 hours. Don’t overthink it—just see what happens!

Continuing to Build Your Email List

You’ll want to continue to grow your email list over time. The best thing you can do is to make it easy for people to sign up! Here are areas to focus on:

Your Website: Ideally, your website would promote your email/newsletter sign-up in three places. 1) As a tab in your header banner, 2) in the footer on each page, and 3) and as a display ad that pops up after someone has been on your site for at least 20 seconds. Check out my website to see these three examples in action!

Social Media: Be sure to put a link to your newsletter sign-up in your social media profiles. You can also then direct people to your profile link in your posts. For example, “Want to get updates on my latest book release? Sign up for my email list! Link in bio.” Visit my Instagram page to see how I’ve set this up.

Author Events: Anytime you’re at an event you should have a sign-up sheet available! Better yet, have a giveaway available for anyone who signs up for your email list.

How many people do you currently have on your list? 100? 250? 0? Whatever it is, set a realistic goal for trying to increase it over the next six months.

Remember, none of this has to be perfect, so just get started and see how it goes!


Lauren Ranalli is an award-winning self-published children’s book author, the Director of Marketing and Communications for an international nonprofit, and the mom of two high-spirited children. Visit her on Instagram at @lauren.ranalli_author or at www.laurenranalli.com to receive two FREE resources, Finding Social Media Success, and Daily Marketing Strategies for Authors

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