How To Build Your Email List

Email is still one of the most popular marketing tools and it’s a great way to attract and entertain potential readers for your book. But you might be concerned that it’s a lot of work to send out a regular email newsletter to promote your book.
Email is still one of the most popular marketing tools and it’s a great way to attract and entertain potential readers for your book. But you might be concerned that it’s a lot of work to send out a regular email newsletter to promote your book. And it’s true, it does take time and commitment to write the content, set up the visual layout and market your email sign-up page to potential readers. So, let’s take a look at the benefits.

Why would you take the time to build an email subscriber list?

  • You own the data - once people subscribe, you can send messages straight to their inbox at any time, but be careful to entertain and inform them, rather than sending sales messages every time. You do also need to stick to GDPR rules and ensure there’s an unsubscribe link on each message. (In comparison, social media marketing offers no guarantee that your followers will see your posts, because the platforms’ algorithm determines what they’ll see on their feed.)
  • You can grow your email list over years - use a prominent 'Sign-up’ button or pop-up on your website homepage and share the link on social media regularly with an offer. Below we talk about what might work as a good offer.
  • You can practice your writing craft and use the emails to get to know your readers. To get more engagement, try using questions in your emails to elicit responses or feedback from your readers. Use a conversational tone in your blogs or news.

Ways to get readers to sign up to your emails

If you want to build the readership for your book before it’s even published, one way to do this is to offer a free chapter or something else of value (like a helpful PDF guide) in return for permission to add the person to your email list.

To grow your email subscriber list:

  • Add a prominent sign-up button to your website home page.
  • Share your sign-up link on all your social media profiles.
  • Put the link in your email signature.
  • Promote your email newsletter when you’re speaking to people or at events.
  • Ask your subscribers to forward the email to a friend.
You could create even greater demand by penning a short story, featuring one of the characters in your novel - or write about a business person who would experience some of the challenges described in your non-fiction book. This way, you can start to build a flow of content for your new readers.

What to put in your email newsletters

The aim of any good newsletter is to encourage people to read it and potentially reply or take action to buy your book or another product. Your initial emails might follow this pattern:

  1. Offer them a free guide, story or the first chapter of your book as a gift for signing up.
  2. Show them your cover design options on social media and invite their feedback via email.
  3. Share your writing experience as a blog, including the pre-order link for your book.
  4. Entertain them with an anecdote from your professional world, linking it to the book.
  5. Write a news article about your opinions on a topic related to your book.
  6. Invite them to your book launch event.
  7. Send them a review you’ve written about someone else’s book.
  8. Entertain them with a story you’ve enjoyed.
  9. Promote your book, giving more depth to one of the people featured in it.
  10. Share details of your next event that they can attend.
  11. Forward someone else’s event that they might find interesting.
  12. Design a free ebook or PDF download that answers one of their questions or needs.
Your goal is to keep going with a mix of entertaining, helpful and relevant content - with a clear call to action or next step for them to take if they are interested in your books or services.

How often should you email your list?

When people first sign up to your list, you could share a 'welcome’ series of emails, sending one every few days. Then you can drop them into your regular newsletter routine, of one email per week or per month. Hubspot data shows that you’re more likely to get results from your blogging and emails if you share articles more than four times per month.

How to set up your email signup page

To send your email news out, Mailchimp, Hubspot or Mailerlite offer free email tools which enable you to set up a simple sign-up page on your website. Your chosen email tool will have a step-by-step guide, or you can ask your web developer to help. There’s the example from Mailchimp here. You do need to comply with GDPR rules and always offer a link to 'unsubscribe’.

Need more information?

  • If you would like to know more about how to plan and write articles to promote your book, try our article on blogging here.
  • Would you like to talk about self-publishing your book with SilverWood support? Please drop a line to publishing director Helen Hart here.

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