“I wish I started building my email list from day one.”
We’ve all heard someone in the online marketing world say this as “advice for beginners” on a YouTube or podcast interview before.
Does it apply to the Kindle publishing world?
You bet it does.
You don’t have a real self-publishing business unless you have a list of readers for your author's name. If you don't have an author email list for your self-publishing business, you're not building a business; you're building a house of cards.
Be sure to read every word, every step, and watch the videos on this page because the blueprint for self-published authors who want to build a readership and write more books in the process is in this article.
In this article, you’re going to learn:
- why you should start building your email list from your Kindle books (even if you don’t have a blog),
- a step-by-step tutorial guide on how to start collecting e-mail addresses from your readers so you can start building your readership,
- And overall, how to sharpen your online marketing skills as a self-published author.
Why Building An Author List Is Vital For ALL Self Published Authors
You might be under the impression that you’re just a writer and can put this “email marketing” thing to the side.
But, today, I’m going to make the case for why building your email list as an author should be your #1 priority starting today.
As a self-publisher, you’re either following one of the two self-publishing business models:
1) Book Catalog Business Model
2) Brand Builder Business Model
These two business models are derived from Steve’s Authority Pub Academy course, and 100% of all Kindle publishers are following one of these two self-publishing models, whether they know it or not.
The key thing these two business models have in common is email marketing.
In this article, we’re solely going to focus on the Book Catalog business model.
The Book Catalog business involves self-publishing books frequently, but at the same time building your email list from your Kindle books.
We’ll get into specifics of how to do this in the next section.
You can see that the objective of a Book Catalog self-publisher is to establish a reader fan base (an author email list).
Yet, it's not just about the number of people on your list…
You must build a relationship with your readers over time via email marketing. In return, you, as the self-publisher, become an authority in your niche and get loyal fans that will help you keep launching new books that solve particular problems in the niche you’re in.
Alternatively, the Brand Builder business model doesn’t require publishing books frequently (like every 3-6 months). Each book is treated as entry points to email funnels that sell other products or services you have in your niche.
This usually involves having a WordPress blog and producing content that sells not only your books, but captures emails, and sells other products in your business.
If this self-publishing business model is more your style, then this is your guide for building your author email list from your Kindle books AND author blog.
How To Build Your Author Email List From Your Kindle Books
Now that we have those details out of the way, let’s start the guide on how to build your author email list as a Book Catalog self-publishing business.
Note: the following steps will involve setting up a domain name and hosting (you'll see why they're necessary), but you're not going to need (or create) a WordPress website to start building your author list.
We just need a working domain name so we can send emails to our readers/subscribers – otherwise, we can't utilize email marketing.
1) Get A Good Email Service Provider And A Domain
An email service provider (ESP) is your #1 tool as an authority self-published author.
I recommend ConvertKit if you want a super-user-friendly ESP.
Both are affordable and are used by thousands of online marketers, and yes, self-publishers!
There’s no way around getting an email service provider. You’ll see why as we progress through this guide.
Your ESP will be your medium of communication between you, the author, and your readers.
The ESP you choose will be your workhorse for:
- delivering your ethical bribe (we’ll cover in step 3)
- creating your email autoresponder if you choose to have one (usually recommended)
- and for sending one-off broadcast emails to your reader list.
However, before you send out a single email, you must have your own domain to send an email.
You need a “Reply-To” email address for email marketing.
You can’t send emails to contacts from your personal Gmail account.
For one, most ESP’s won’t allow you to do this. Secondly, even if ESPs did allow this, your email would land in your readers' spam inbox (or promotions tab if you're lucky). It’s just the way of the internet world ?.
ConvertKit has a great article on why you need a domain to send email (it’s short and to the point – good read). It has to do with the “sending” domain’s reputation. Unfortunately, there are marketers out there who are spammers and ruined it for everyone.
Getting an ESP like ConvertKit is easy; you just sign up for a free trial, and they give you tutorials every step of the way (seriously).
Getting a domain for the purposes of having a “Reply-To” email address is easy too, it just requires a few more steps.
Here’s How To Easily Set Up Your “Reply-To” Email Address For Email Marketing:
You can't have a sending domain for email marketing without hosting. Otherwise, your email marketing efforts won't work.
Getting web hosting with Bluehost for your domain will cost you a measly $2.95-5.95/month. Plus, you get a FREE domain, so it's a no-brainer.
I recommend getting their basic package. All you have to do is choose the name of your free domain name (see video below for demonstration).
Keep in mind that this domain name is what your readers will see in their inbox as the “Reply-To” email address.
For example, they’ll see that they got an email from:
I recommend keeping your domain name niche specific or think of a brand name your readers to know you by.
Here's a quick tutorial video on how to register with Bluehost:
Note: We'll add the “[email protected]” in the next step here:
2) Create An Email Account From Your Bluehost Email Manager
So far, you just have yourDomainName.com, but now we need to create a new email account based on this domain name, so it looks like this: [email protected]
To do this, we'll need to log in to your Bluehost control panel and change some settings in the “Email Manager.”
This quick video explains the exact steps to make this happen:
3) Add Your Newly Created “Reply-To” Email Address To Your ESP
Add your reply-to email address to your ESP account settings so you can start building your email list.
Here are the guides on how to do this for ConvertKit or GetResponse:
Once you’ve gotten this far, you’re set for email marketing with your ESP ?!
Don't sweat this!
Just a few more steps.
EVERY successful online marketer and self-publisher has had to go through this right-of-passage.
2) Create A Squeeze Page With A Landing Page Service That Will Host Your Page
We got one of the major tools (your ESP) out of the way in step 1.
As a Book Catalog self-publisher, you’re not as interested in building a blog—yet.
You rather focus on writing based on Amazon search traffic demand (a tool like KDP Rocket can help you gauge search demand) and building a reader fan base.
To do this, we need our second most important tool.
The second tool is a landing page builder. This will help us build a web page that collects email address from your readers 24/7.
We can present this page (a squeeze page) to our readers within our Kindle books by using the page's URL.
A squeeze page is just internet marketing jargon for a web page that solely collects email addresses by offering the visitor something in exchange (we’ll talk more about how to create your email freebie in the next step).
Since you’re not interested in creating a blog site at this time, we need a landing page tool that will host a squeeze page for us.
Either of these two will provide you a URL on the landing page builder’s subdomain.
Once you create your squeeze page on LeadPages, they'll give you your squeeze page URL (hosted on their servers).
Note: ConvertKit does have a landing-page-builder tool included with their email marketing service. It could be considered a 3rd landing page builder option. Their landing page builder is decent and can get the job done too.
My #1 pick for Book Catalog self-publishers is LeadPages as they have beautiful landing page templates and are more affordable than ClickFunnels.
Here’s a tutorial on how to connect LeadPages with ConvertKit:
Depending on the LeadPages template you use, you'll have different elements you can work with.
You can always add or subtract elements.
In the video above, you might've heard that you need a “form” on ConvertKit to connect it with LeadPages. This video shows you how to create a form on ConvertKit so you can connect it with LeadPages:
At the bare minimum, your squeeze page should have a headline and a button that brings up a pop-up box for your reader to subscribe to.
Here are two other examples of squeeze pages that LeadPages has to offer (you can start using these templates right away):
These are just two of the templates you can use.
Next up, giving away something of value to our readers so they're incentivized to get on our author list!
3) Offer A Freebie To Your Customer Avatar
As authority self-publisher in your niche, you might already have something in mind that you want to give away to your readers in exchange for their email contact info.
You should already know your customer/reader avatar.
If you don't, read this article by Digital Marketer on customer avatars.
Image Source: DigitalMarketer.com
(You can download the customer avatar worksheet on their avatar article).
Knowing your customer avatar will help create a better, what Seth Godin likes to call, ethical bribe.
Others call it “bait.”
Whatever you decide to call it, make sure it's related to your niche, and that it rewards your reader for opting into your email list.
Your ethical bribe can come in the form of a:
- e-book PDF they can download,
- a free email course,
- a cheat sheet,
- or even a free video course (all at once or “dripped” over a period of days).
When your reader opts-in to your list, they should immediately be able to download your freebie on the Thank You Page (the page they see after they submit their email).
Or they should receive an email within minutes, that tells your reader how to download your free bonus.
It'll be up to you to decide on how to do this with you ESP and landing page tool.
The other possibilities of how you can craft your ethical bribe are endless (audio books, templates in your niche, list of resources), but it all comes down to testing your offer with a squeeze page template and checking which squeeze page is bringing you in more email subscribers.
Pro tip: usually, online, simple converts best.
Once you've crafted your ideal ethical bribe, incorporate it to your squeeze page. Additionally, write a killer headline, some body copy, and integrate your LeadPages squeeze page to your email service provider.
Once that's taken care of, you'll have a URL for your squeeze page.
4) Place Your Squeeze Page URL In Your Kindle Books
Inside your Kindle book, usually, after the table of contents area (and towards the end of the book), is where you'll insert a page that prompts your reader to subscribe to your email list.
Think of this page as a hook to get your reader to check out your squeeze page URL you worked so hard to create.
Here's an example of how it would look like.
This is from Barrie's book Finely Tuned book:
(Click to zoom in)
If you click on the hyperlink on this page, you're taken to a squeeze page which looks like this:
Simple does it…I'm telling you!
You don't have to get too fancy with your squeeze pages!
So here's what you do.
Create a standalone page in your Kindle book manuscript towards the front of your book (usually before or after the table of contents) and give the page a bold title called “Your Free Bonus” or “Your Free Gift.”
The main purpose of this page is to have your readers take action and visit your squeeze page.
Give a brief description of what they're getting and hyperlink your squeeze page to a sentence like “Download this free report by clicking here.” as Barrie did.
Easy enough, right?
Additionally, do consider duplicating this page towards the end of your book.
Also, it doesn't hurt to hyperlink your free ethical bribe once or twice throughout your book. Just don't do it too much or you'll wear out your welcome.
Once you've added your squeeze page links to your Kindle book(s), save the manuscript and upload it to your KDP account.
Pro tip: You can add a similar page to your Createspace (paperback) manuscript too. Except, instead of hyperlinking, you're actually going to type out the squeeze page URL. If it makes it easier, use a URL shortener like Bitly or Google URL Shortener.
Getting Started: Your Next Steps
That was a lot!
Hopefully, you're still with me here and fear not. Because once you've set this up once or twice, things get a lot easier.
…and I mean no one was born knowing how to put these pieces of the puzzle together.
And no one got started building their author email list by just staring at articles all day either…
So, here's what you need to do to get started (learn by doing):
1. Sign up for ConvertKit. This is one of the most beginner-friendly email service providers for authors, bloggers, and online marketers. You can't go wrong with GetResponse, but it'll take a little more time to figure out. Yet, they both have a great support staff and can handle your questions via live support chat even if you're having trouble integrating LeadPages.
2. Get LeadPages. You can't go wrong with LeadPages. It's the most user-friendly option to build squeeze pages without using a WordPress website.
3. Follow the guide in this article. This article was an in-depth guide on how to start building your loyal army of readers from your Kindle books. Once you have your two core tools, start taking action on the guide I created above.
On a final note, I recommend nurturing your email list frequently. It doesn't have to be every day or even every week. But, just enough so that they get used to your emailing schedule. For instance, if you email once a month, do once a month. If you email twice a month, email twice a month.
Just don't abuse your list and only email them when you have a new book coming out, and you'll be fine.
If you're still confused and don't know what hit you, please leave a question in the comment section below. This will help me add to and improve this article.