Written by A Guest Author

3 Absolute Musts for Every Self-Published Author

By TC Marti

Self-published authors often struggle to find a readership. And it’s not uncommon to see them drop out of the industry after they find few readers willing to take a chance on their work. Therefore, they must use strategies to build their audience months, if not a year, before they publish their first book.

There are many must-haves for self-published authors that their traditionally published counterparts have access to, such as professional editors, book cover designers, and formatters. But it doesn’t matter how professional-looking a book is or how much it stands out on online retailers if these authors lack strong readerships. The sooner self-published authors build their audience, the greater their chances are of succeeding in their endeavors. Below are three must-haves for every self-published author.  Even if you don’t plan on self-publishing, all of these can greatly enhance the chances of your books reaching a wide audience.

1) Self-Published Authors Must Write the Reader Magnet

Reader magnets are items meant to draw readers toward an author’s brand. The author writes a novel, novella, short story, or even a behind-the-scenes look of their book or book series, and sets the item for free that readers can download in exchange for an email address.

When readers wish to gain access to a reader magnet, they subscribe to the author’s mailing list. This must-have gives self-published authors a chance to familiarize readers with their work, genre, and themes.

Reader magnets gain even more importance when an author has a small selection of books for sale. And while it’s always fun to see sales dashboards light up, what will happen next after readers finish the author’s minute number of titles if there is no way for them to remain in contact with their readers?

If the author self-publishes one or two titles per year, odds grow that readers will forget about their work and follow other authors utilizing the reader magnet concept.

2) Regular Email Marketing

With reader magnets, the author captures readers’ mailing addresses, and it allows them to sell not just a new title with each launch or even a backlist full of books; they can correspond regularly with their readers.

But, just because a self-published author captured a reader’s email address with the magnet; they must also concentrate on retaining their growing list of subscribers. Therefore, it’s wise to engage in regular email marketing at least twice a month, if not more frequently.

Self-published authors can hold their new subscribers’ attention with an automated welcome sequence. The sequence can further introduce a new subscriber into the author’s brand, upsell the reader to a paid novel in the same series as the reader magnet, or even offer a second magnet as a thank you.

Regular email marketing, however, doesn’t always mean self-published authors need to say, “here’s my latest book, go buy it,” to their readers. Instead, they can tell stories about why they write in a specific genre, why they insert specific themes, or even what inspired them to write their latest title.

eMailing campaigns should entertain readers; not bore them with sales pitches for a previously released or an upcoming title. They need to let readers in on the book’s background. What inspired the main character, the setting, and the plot? What are popular comp titles to their books?

Imagine if an author emailed their subscribers in January informing them about a new title and those subscribers didn’t hear from them again until April with another new release. It’s hard to get readers to buy when they haven’t heard from an author in months.

3) Author Networking

Self-published authors need to know how to grow their audience, and it’s easier to grow a fan base when they network with other authors. And since most authors are readers who read books similar to theirs, odds are they already have a few names they can reach out to.

Even if they read books from well-established authors, they can always scour related products displayed at or around their favorite author’s online sales pages and find books by others whose readership is similar in size to theirs (the number of reviews often helps determine an author’s overall readership).

It’s often intimidating to reach out to other self-published authors for networking; but those who agree to join forces may see outstanding results. If seven authors get together for a joint reader magnet promotion and they each have a modest 1,500 readers on their mailing list, they’re extending their reach to roughly another 9,000 readers.

What if those same seven self-published authors took part in joint promotions over the course of 12 months, but with other authors with an identical mailing list? No guarantees, but that’s a lot of potential subscribers for each month’s worth of joint promotions.

These authors can even team up for joint giveaways, cross-promotions, and even newsletter features to further increase their exposure. The result? Larger audiences.


Bio: TC Marti is an author, book reviewer, and freelance writer. When not writing, you can find him in a gym lifting weights, or running miles on a trail. He is a huge fan of Arizona sports and the K-pop band Blackpink. You can visit his website here.

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