This question gave me pause. I realise how much there is to learn and how much I have indeed learnt over the past 5 years since I released my first book. Damn, I also realised how much I wished I’d had someone to guide me at the time, too. I have made so many mistakes that I am sure have slowed down my self-imposed journey to what I perceive to be success.
I am still making mistakes and still learning from them. Eek!
So what was my advice? First things first: get a mailing list started. The best thing to do is to have a freebie of some kind to give people a reason to sign up. A free book is obviously the thing that will entice most readers to your list. They are, after all, book fanatics, and it gives them a chance to sample your writing style at no cost to them. I have found some of my favourite, one click, authors this way. That said I know how hard it is to give away your hard work for nothing, but a loss leader is something you will definitely need to think about producing for the future. Perhaps when you are more established? It took me two years to get mine written and available, but it’s a good book that I’m proud to give away. (lol! Even if the cover really isn’t my favourite!) Other than that, I gave away a PDF downloadable map of the Eight Kingdoms. You could do anything really, a sample (be careful its <10% of your book if you are in Kindle Unlimited) a character profile, art work, etc.
There are various platforms where you can set up a free mailing list to start with for up to about 1000 subscribers. After that, you will need to pay. I have used Mailchimp and Mailerlite and was happy with both of them. Thanks to Nick at BespokeWP.pro I now run my mailing list through my own website and Amazon hosting services.
Once you are set up there are various ways to grow your list.
- Ensure you have up to date sign up links in your book’s metadata
- Join regular mailing lists builders. (There are some great groups on Facebook to find them)
- You can advertise your sign up link with your free book via Facebook.
- Ensure your sign up links are available on your social media sites.
There are so many things to think about when just starting out but I really wish I had started building my list earlier, it might have helped me get traction better when I first started out.
Hope that helps. Let me know in the comments or via email if you have any questions or would like me to cover any more self-publishing topics.