5 Fiction-Book Reader Magnets to Increase Mailing List Subscribers
Build your author mailing list with these five marketing incentives, from shorts stories to character dossiers and more.

5 Fiction-Book Reader Magnets to Increase Mailing List Subscribers

Today’s guest post is by Dave Chesson, creator of the Kindlepreneur website.

Few people will argue with you that email is still one of the most effective, if not the most effective, forms of marketing for authors.

But how do you get people to sign up for your email list?

The best way to do this is with a quality reader magnet, which is some kind of reward that people get for signing up for your list. The exact nature of your reader magnet can vary, and so for this article I've assembled five ideas that you can use to attract people to your newsletter.

In this case, I'm focusing specifically on tactics that fiction authors can use. Nonfiction is a completely different story, though the same principle of offering something for free in exchange for their email address still applies.

Let's dive into the top reader magnets for fiction authors:

1. Tie-in short stories

Tie-in short stories are probably the most common form of reader magnet, and that's because they work and don't take too much effort to produce.

A short story can take place at any time in relation to your series. It's common to create a prequel, but it can also be a story that takes place simultaneously with your novel or specifically involves certain side characters.

What I don't recommend is that you have a short story that spoils the first book in your series in any way. You have to expect that some people will find your short story first, rather than read your book first. This isn't always the case, but it's important to be prepared.

2. A whole novel

If you want to go the extra mile, instead of writing a short story, consider an entire novel given away for free on your email list. While this certainly involves a lot more work, it also has an incredible conversion rate. People love value, and they are willing to get on an email list in exchange for an entire book.

Like the short story, this book can be a prequel or take place alongside your series, but it could also simply be the first book in your series.

Free first books in a series still work as a way to get people reading that series, and if you get an email address out of it, all the better.

The key takeaway here is that novels convert better than short stories because novels have more value and should therefore be considered as one possible reader magnet for your email list.

3. Character dossiers and other writing scraps

What do I mean by character dossiers and writing scraps? Well, very often when we write a novel, we end up with a lot of extra snippets of interesting content.

For example, when building your characters, you might create a character profile, or you might interview them to understand them better. While this has nothing to do with the canonical story, this pre-writing work can be very interesting to your readers.

It is not just characters. World-building information, outlines (particularly outlines that show your evolving process as you write), and deleted scenes are all good examples of other storytelling “scraps” that you can later give away for free.

And the best part is, you have the scraps anyway. You don't need to put any extra effort into producing them. You can simply give them away for free.

4. In-universe documents

This is one of my personal favorites, especially when writing fantasy and science fiction. I love the idea of being immersed in these worlds, and in-universe documents are one fantastic way of doing this.

You could write a journal written in the hand of one of your characters. You could write an in-universe study of the world building, such as a scientific journal. You could even come up with your own cookbook if you wanted.

The possibilities here are extensive, and they really increase the immersive factor, which readers absolutely love, me included. This is exactly the type of gold content that will bring readers flocking to your newsletter.

5. High-resolution artwork

When producing a book, you often accumulate a fair bit of artwork. This obviously includes your book cover, but it can also include other things such as character illustrations, maps, charts, or even infographics related to your story.

While a lot of this could be available as part of your book, it's a great idea to provide high resolution versions for your email list.

As a fantasy fan, I love it when authors give away high-res versions of their maps. This not only sucks me into the world building even more, but it adds a layer of interactivity.

Even if you don't have a lot of artwork, consider making some. I found that for a few dollars on Fiverr, you can get a basic character illustration to act as a kind of concept art. This is exactly the kind of content that would make a good reader magnet.

Final thoughts

I hope this has stimulated your mind a little about some great ideas to use as reader magnets. But I also want to hear from you. Have you tried any of these? Are there any reader magnets that you have used to great success that you don't see included on this list?

I would love to hear from you, and I would love to hear any success stories you have.


About Dave Chesson

Dave Chesson is the creator of Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to teaching advanced book marketing, which even Amazon KDP acknowledges as one of the best by telling users to “gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books.” Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Ted Dekker and more, his tactics help both fiction and nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers.

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