How Fiction Authors Can Build Their Email List

One thing I hear a lot from fiction authors is skepticism.

Wait, what?

Yup, how dare they doubt what I say!

Kidding, well sort of.

The skepticism is about writing autoresponder series. Now, everyone can acknowledge that a non-fiction author is probably going to have a lot more options when it comes to writing autoresponders.

After all, usually they are using a book to prove their knowledge or expertise in a certain field. And generally, they will have all sorts of other products and services they offer. So, the book is only one part of their income stream.

Now, fiction authors, that’s an entirely different story.

They aren’t there to really “sell” anything besides the book or one of their book series.

And many just get confused, their book is to entertain people, why do they need to write an email series about that?

Or, even if they are behind the idea of writing autoresponders, many think “what the heck can I even write about for 4, 5, 6, or even 10 emails?”

I get it. Autoresponders seem really daunting for a lot of people, which is why they never really get done (even though they can be huge for the bottom line).

But I’ll counter by saying that anyone can and should have an autoresponder series on their website.

In fact, I’d argue that fiction authors are the perfect people to write autoresponders.

Why?

Because they are natural excellent storytellers.

And storytelling is a HUGE part of sales and marketing. Great storytellers usually sell a lot, the not so great storytellers, meh, not so much.

This ability to think out and tell a great story is the biggest advantage of a fiction author and one that they should 100% use to their advantage.

Here are a couple of ideas to get you started…

1. Release a Book over an Autoresponder

Whaaaaaat?

Yes, it sounds kinda crazy. And I have to give credit for the idea to top copywriter Roy Furr, who is writing a book over his daily email newsletter.

So, no, I can’t take all the credit myself. But I do think it’s an awesome idea.

What better way for a fiction author to grab new readers by the seat of their pants than delivering a new chapter every week?

It doesn’t have to be War and Peace, but writing a book over a series can be a fun play for readers. Plus, it only has to be done once, since any new subscribers after the book is done will be able to just follow along week by week.

And better yet?

Make sure readers can’t get access to this book unless they sign up to the email list.

2. Listen to What Your Readers Want

One of the biggest mistakes I see over and over again when it comes to email lists is not paying enough attention to what readers/subscribers want.

So, even if a fiction author might think their readers will go ga-ga over short stories or a sample chapter…

…chances are they won’t.

When it comes to fiction authors, hate to break to it to you but, readers want full books most of the time.

So, give the people what they want.

Not quite sure what they might want? Well, that’s simple, ask them!

Send out an email (it can even be multiple choice) asking what they’d like to get in their inboxes, you might be surprised at the answers.

And, to make their input a little more enticing, offer a prize like a free book series or an Amazon gift card to a winner.

3. Give a Behind the Scenes Peek

People love getting special behind the scenes info, I know I do. And, this is especially true when giving them information about stuff they don’t really know much about.

The romanticism and all that jazz.

So, fiction authors can really use this to their benefit by showcasing both the behind the scenes of their books and their lives.

Writing a book is cool, most people aspire to do it. So, it’s certainly possible to play that angle up in an autoresponder series.

Talk about the inspiration to write, the struggles, how characters are developed. The more insight fiction authors can give into their work, the better.

It’s stuff like this that really helps build a solid connection with readers. And once that connection is felt, they are far more likely to be buyers down the road.

4. Use the Story

Since most fiction writers have at least one (and probably a series of book) there is a TON of material right there for the taking.

So embrace it!

The reason why people signed up to the email list was because they loved those books. It’s natural to ask then why not give them more?

And no, this doesn’t mean regurgitating the books back to the readers, that’s not cool. Giving value is the name of the game when it comes to having a devoted readership, remember that.

Instead try writing the autoresponder series in the voice of the main characters. Use their life as the basis for the entire series and suck readers in that way.

Harnessing the dual super powers of creativity and storytelling can take an autoresponder series from zero to hero in one email flat!

Those are just a couple of ideas to help get fiction authors started.

So much of an autoresponder is just planning, storytelling and having fun.

Too many people (creative types especially) get stuck because they feel like they have to be marketing guru’s or sales experts when it comes to selling to a list.

Not true.

It’s all about targeting the right readers, treating them well, giving them a lot, and then when the time is right, making a small ask in return.

It doesn’t get much more simple than that!

So what do you think you’re going to write your autoresponder about? I’d love to hear what you’ve got percolating in the comments!