By BookBaby author Steven Spatz
As an author, you might wonder why you’d need to build an email list. Short answer: email lists make things happen. But you need to engineer that by engaging, creating a platform for interaction, and building your tribe.
An email list of interested readers is a database that can kick off book launches, tease new content, promote appearances, and keep your readers engaged. They’re an incredible asset — especially as you prepare to publish new works — but authors frequently get frustrated over trying to build the “perfect list.”
Maybe that’s because the command to “build your author platform” isn’t clear. Sure, you can create an author website and blog — and find an email management program — but that’s just the technology. Your platform needs to have more than just characters and bytes on a screen, it needs to reflect your personality. It needs to attract and keep followers.
That’s where Seth Godin’s tribal concept makes sense. Godin’s Tribes: We Need You to Lead Us talks about the different groups we all belong to and how you can tap into them in your work (author) life. For example, I like reading spy novels, so I’m a member of that tribe. I can connect to thousands of other people who enjoy spy novels through online forums and book groups.
And that’s just a start. Where you eat breakfast, the kind of coffee you prefer, the television shows you watch, all of this shapes and influences your connection — membership, if you will — to specific tribes.
Which leads me to my point: your best tactics and techniques for creating an email list are about attracting and gathering your own tribe by giving them information. And don’t fret, regular communication to a list of people who have told you they want to hear from you is not SPAM. These people have freely given you their email address — a very closely guarded destination point — and they expect to get something in return. Namely, your ideas, opinions, thoughts, impressions, and, most importantly, your writing.
This is part of what makes an email list an author’s greatest asset. You have a willing and engaged audience that wants to know what you think and wants to hear more about your writing, and that can easily be leveraged to sell books.
So, in an effort to best utilize this valuable asset, here are six things you can do to make the folks on your email list produce results that can make a difference in your career.