Are you currently trying to grow your email list?
We all know email marketing has a lot of amazing benefits in comparison to social media, but getting people to actually join your list can be difficult if you don’t have a compelling reason for them to sign up.
That’s where a lead magnet comes in.
Lead magnets (also known as freebies) are something of value that you offer in exchange for people’s contact information. But, I know how difficult it can be to come up with lead magnet ideas as a fiction author.
Non-fiction authors have it easier because their books tend to solve problems. So all they have to do is solve a related problem to their book by offering a checklist, guide, mini course, or something along these lines.
But as you can imagine, how-to checklists and mini-courses are less applicable to fiction (unless you can come up with a *really* outside the box idea.)
Plus, your reader has to actually want the thing you’re offering, so if your idea is too wild, it could defeat the whole purpose of creating it.
So, to help you get this right, I’m going to lay out some ideas for you below. And remember: simple doesn’t mean it’s boring. If it’s desired and it’s working, there’s no reason not to offer it.
1) Free Chapter
This is the most typical offering authors put out there. You don’t want to make your whole book available for free (unless you’re working a very specific strategy, like I’m currently doing with Patreon and my fantasy series.)
But the other thing you need to consider here is that people can also go read a free sample on Amazon, so you might find it more compelling to offer more than one free chapter upfront. I would suggest no more than three, but three is definitely enough to hook someone into wanting to read more. Make sure you’ve tailored the file they receive these free chapters in so that you’re leading them to take the next step and purchase the full book.
2) Free Book / Novella
Like I said, you don’t want to offer a full book that you can be making money off of for free unless you have a very smart and specific strategy for it.
At the moment, I have the first three books in my fantasy series available on Wattpad, and the remaining books on my Patreon. This isn’t a permanent thing–it’s simply because I plan to republish the series at a later date, and until I’m ready to do that, I don’t want my books sitting around doing nothing. So I figured that if they can help me grow my Patreon in the meantime, that’ll be worthwhile.
You might adapt a similar approach for growing your email list if you have bigger plans for the future of your brand.
3) Bonus Content
There’s actually a lot of creative, juicy ideas out there for bonus content. However, the problem you run into with this is that most people will only be interested in bonus content relating to your book after they’ve read the book and are familiar with the world, characters and references.
That makes this a smarter lead magnet to offer if you’re launching a sequel or trying to re-engage existing readers off a social media platform.
Things you could offer include a pre-recorded (or live) “read-with-me” event (which would motivate people to re-read your books with you), reading guides, a masterlist of similar book recommendations, exclusive character content, fanart, bonuses or deleted chapters, and even maps and phone wallpapers.
4) Private Community
This one sounds simple, but if you have a large and dedicated fanbase of readers, a private community where they can hang out, discuss your books, and even have the opportunity to connect with you can be quite enticing for them.
They might be able to find their way to your community on their own, but that’s only if they already know it exists. If they don’t, then you offering to directly link them in return for their contact info is actually a fairly easy and valuable exchange.
5) Quiz Results
I’ve actually done this one before. Quizzes can be an awesome way to build your list!
Again, the key with this is to keep it simple and easy to participate in even if the reader hasn’t read your books before. When I did this to promote my contemporary romance novel, Stuck on Vacation with Ryan Rupert, I got them to build out their dream vacation on Nula Island (the setting of my book) in order to discover which of the unique hotel rooms they’d be best suited to.
This allowed them to explore some fun references to the novel, scenes and settings during the quiz, and when they got their results, they received a fun “welcome pack” that was themed to their hotel room and told them which characters from the novel they were sharing the room with! If this enticed them to want to learn more about the book, I had a direct link to where they could purchase their own copy as well.
So, if a creative idea comes to you, try creating a customised quiz that really engages them in your novel!
I hope you found this post helpful! If you did, you can find more valuable advice inside my Facebook Group for authors. It’s free to join and filled with podcast episodes, live trainings and more!
Written by Pagan Malcolm
Pagan is a copywriter and business coach helping writers understand the business side of publishing so that they can become serious authors.