It’s never too early to start collecting email addresses of readers who are interested in hearing more from you on a regular basis. Email subscribers are the holy grail for extending your marketing efforts, as regular updates will ensure that you keep the interest and attention of your fans. Here are five essential things you need to know in order to start and sustain a successful email newsletter.

1. It is NEVER too early to start collecting email addresses

Register for a free Mailchimp account and add sign-up boxes to the relevant pages of your author site to start collecting email addresses immediately. You don’t have to have content ready to send out – you just need to start building a list for now.

2. Incentivize sign-ups

Start thinking about why visitors should sign up for your email list. Creating what is known as a “lead magnet” is the best way to entice readers (and potential readers) to sign up. A lead magnet is something that your audience will find valuable, interesting or desirable, that you give away exclusively to your email subscribers.

Great lead magnets include:

  • Prequel or teaser chapters of your upcoming book.
  • Exclusive character bios.
  • A stand-alone novella set in your book’s universe.

It’s all about creating content and value for your audienceTwitter , and giving them something in return for their permission to keep in touch.

3. Ask for email addresses EVERYWHERE

Put an email address sign-up box in the footer of your author site, and in your blog’s sidebar. You should also link to it in the front and back of your books. Make it easy for potential readers to sign up to your list!

4. Don’t be afraid to make it a bit personal

Share a bit about yourself and your writing journey, its challenges and triumphs. This allows you to make a personal connection with each subscriber, making them more willing to read what you send them.

5. Thou shalt not spam

Remember, an email list is less about direct selling and more about marketing and connecting with your readers. Do this in the right way, and you can be assured that a sizable number of them will buy your next book. By giving you their email addresses, your subscribers have given you permission to access their email inboxes and potentially their attention. This is a privilege. Don’t abuse it! Keep your emails fresh, interesting and regular, and you will be on your way to turning readers into fans.

Do you have an email newsletter? We’d love to hear about it!