4 Ways To Build Your Email List

Watching the local news today I found out that a shopping chain in or area is closing. Frankly, I’m not surprised. You probably have the same in your area too. And there’s one major reason for their failure. They’re so busy looking for their next customer than paying attention to the one walking out the door. Authors are just as bad.

They’re so busy looking for their next reader, when they should be keeping and following up with their last ones. Let’s look at it for a moment.

A simple email to a reader could…

  • Get you a review for your book
  • An idea for your next book (using www.SurveyMonkey.com to take a poll for book ideas)
  • Direct them to an audio version of your book
  • Show them your latest podcast episode
  • Send them to your social media accounts where they can interact with you

And whatever else you can think of.

If you’re not building a list, you can’t do any of those.

Now you’re probably saying to yourself, alright smarty pants how do I build that list?

1 – Give Something Away – Yeah, you’ve heard it before, but make it something that they can’t get unless they join your list. A short story featuring your lead character, even write a prequel and lock it away.  Make it as exclusive as possible because people like to get their hands-on things that no one else can get.

2 – Lock Up Some Content On Your Site/Blog – Fiction, nonfiction, it doesn’t matter, but lock it away in exchange for an email address. It could be something that wasn’t covered in the book. A short story that cuts off midway through and leaves the reader on a cliff-hanger. Or your version of DVD extras for the book they just bought. You could give away free colouring book images that feature characters from your kids’ book. The ideas are endless.

3 – Competition Time –  Who doesn’t love to win something? And all for the price of an email address. All winners are notified only by email, (so if you don’t give a real email address you don’t get anything) and everyone is guaranteed a prize. You could offer the very first copy of your book a week before it hits the stores. A kids’ book where the main character is named after the winner. A book dedicated to a winner. Again, make it exclusive and something that can give the winner great bragging rights.

4 – Discount Page – Like locking away content on your site, why not lock away a discount page? Offer shopping cart codes giving 10-15-20% off their next purchase but you can only get these codes by visiting your discount page. (Of course, it’s locked behind an opt in form.)

Nothing too difficult and something anyone could do. Will you do it, probably not? (I’m using reverse psychology here:) But like those retails stores pulling down their shutter for the last time, you too could be looking at lean times up ahead. Follow the tips above and you’ll keep the wolf far from your door.

Could You Write An Email About A Can Of Coke Or A Pencil?

…today’s email is a bit off the top of my head.

You’re probably saying that they’re always like that…but honestly, as I’m sitting here…I’m struggling to come up with a topic to write about.

So what do you do when you can’t think of anything to write about? You look around you and start writing about the first thing that you see.

Me…I’m looking at a can of coke and a pencil right now…left behind after Finn (my youngest, who doesn’t believe – like his Mum – that anything has a place.)

Call me a little OCD, but if I see stuff that’s not back in it’s proper place it’ll get to me until I take it back.

Honestly if came home without knowing what my wife was up to, I’d just follow the trail of things left out after her.

And don’t get me started on open bottle tops, or half opened jars.

Seems I’m the only one in the house that can screw them back on.
In this email idea, I could go on and on giving you a glimpse of what  I’m like as a person and a little about my family life in my email.


I could write about…that even though we’ve come a long way with technology, that you don’t need anything more than a simple pencil and piece of paper to be able to write.

No fancy apps, no worrying about battery life, and no chance of it all being deleted.

I could also write about the fact that just using a simple pencil and writing text out by hand every day could make you a better writer.


I could go back to the moments that a simple Coke made a difference in my life. That first date where I took my wife out, but was afraid to drink if case I made a fool of myself.

The glass of Coke that was spilled over my prom date, meaning she spent the rest of the night washing it out and I was left twiddling my thumbs while everyone else was having a great night.

I could go on, but you get the idea.

By the way, everything you read above is totally true. And it all came from a Coke and pencil.

How many ideas have you locked away in your head right now?

Let’s find out.