Marketing Through Book Formatting

I’ve received some really excited feedback from the recent events I shared, particularly on the topic of list building. My pre-publishing career was in sales and and marketing and it makes me so happy to hear authors getting excited about building up their email lists!

Not only is it one of the most effective ways you can generate sales for your future books, but it’s also a great way to connect with your readers and explore new creative outlets.

“Selling” as an Author

Many authors are scared of marketing. Or think “selling” is inherently something icky they don’t want to participate in.

But I want you to think of your favorite author. How excited do you get when you know they’ve got a new book for sale? I have a long list of authors who send me running to the bookstore as soon as their books release.

Do you know how I know when that happens?

I get an email.

Even if all they do is tell me their book has launched, which is the definition of salesy, I’m so happy to get that notification and I promise, I would sadly miss out on a lot of new releases if I wasn’t told about them!

So how many sales do you think you’re missing out on because you’re nervous about building up an email list you can share your news with?

Some of the links in this email are associated with an affiliate program, which means if you end up purchasing something, Atticus does get a small kickback, but as always, it costs you nothing extra, and it all goes to keeping our team in coffee!

I’ll admit, most of the authors who can get away with just sending out emails about new releases are pretty big names with giant established audiences already.

But I follow a lot of mid-list authors too. Some of them only have one book out so far, but I enjoyed it and wanted more from the author, so I joined their list.

Some authors I’ve never even read their books. Maybe because they’re still in pre-publish mode and maybe because I’m not yet convinced their books are a match for my reading tastes.

What do I get out of their emails then?

What to Write Emails About

Some get pretty creative! If they have a YouTube channel or Podcast, they’ll let me know when a new “episode” is released. Character art is popular. Worldbuliding insights or lore is always fun to read. Some authors will send out quizzes, or ‘did you know,’ type emails, snippets of their WIP, or a taste of the research they’re conducting.

As a reader, I love to read. As an author, hopefully you love to write, so that should be a happy match!

No matter how fantastic your emails are, you have to get people on your list so you have someone to send to.

Building Your Reader List

In my recent presentation for the List Building Summit 2024* I talked about using your book formatting to market your book. One topic we briefly touched on was using it as a literal selling tool if you have a backlist. You can use Booklinker to create universal book links that send readers from the book they just read to the book(s) you want them to read next.

You can learn how to do this with our tutorial on Hyperlinks, Social Media Profiles, and Universal Book Links. While you’re there, you can also set up your social profiles so you can get readers following you on all the socials you use!

But what about email lists – can you get readers to join your list from inside your book?

Yes, but you’ll want to be careful about doing this.

Create Enticing Web Pages

KDP specifically states in their guidelines that you cannot include “[l]inks to web forms that request customer information (e.g., email address, physical address or similar).”

But you can send people to websites for additional relevant information. So instead of sending readers directly to a web form, send them to a page on your website that has actual content.

This is better for your readers too, so it will be better for building your list in the long run.

Monique’s Hot Take:

This is an educated theory, not a guarantee – I always recommend you do your own research and go directly to the source for confirmation if your hesitant at all!

For good reason, Amazon doesn’t want you sending readers directly to a mailing list or opt in page because that could take future business away from them. Which makes sense.

However, nearly all webpages these days have a link to a newsletter optin somewhere on the page, so if it was against their guidelines to have an optin anywhere on the page, that would make it nearly impossible to link out at all.

What I believe is the key is that any page you link to should give value in it’s own right – not only after the reader signs up for the mailing list. Maybe they get more if they sign up, but there should be something of value that they receive simply for clicking the link, even if they don’t sign up. It should not just be of value, but also relevant to your book.

This is not just good practice to remain in Amazon’s good graces, but it really is best practices for developing a relationship with your reader where they trust you and want to keep coming back because they know you deliver good stuff!

If your reader magnet is a short story, fill the page with the first 500 words to entice them, and then ask for their email to send the rest of the book.

Maybe you have a collection of character art. Create a one page character profile with artwork and then add a opt-in to receive the rest of the character art/profiles via email.

Perhaps you’ve created a quiz that will tell readers what character they’re most like or…most likely to fall in love with! Provide the quiz on your website and send the results via email.

If you’ve written something non-fiction, maybe you write out the synopsis of a case study. Share the full report after collecting their email address.

Or maybe you have a work book or book club guide that pairs well with your book. Use the web page to give the highlights of the supplementary material and offer to send it via email.

The bottom lines is don’t just ask for an email address. Give readers something to want first, and then fulfil their wishes!

Collecting Reader Emails Addresses from Book Formatting

There are many ways you can use the formatting of your book as a marketing for authors tool.

Here are a few ideas you can accomplish easily using Atticus.

  • Create a captivating headline (chapter title) and include a image in the body content. Make sure to add a hyperlink to that image so eBook readers can tap to visit your page and a QR code or the direct URL so print readers know where to go.
  • Add a call out box on relevant pages sending your readers to collect more information. This works great for non-fiction books sharing case studys, workbooks, further reading articles, or other deeper dive content related to a specific chapter in your book.
    NOTE: Fiction authors want to be cautious about sending readers out of the story, but non-fiction authors can use this technique as often as it helps the reader better understand your content.
  • Include a note to readers in your front matter offering printable character art, available for download from your website. Make it extra enticing by giving them a sample using images throughout your book
  • In the back matter, invite readers to participate in the naming of your future characters, choosing of the follow up non-fiction advice topic, or join a hilarious community madlibs event by sending you an email with specific subject line. In that email you can ask them to sign up for your list to get udpates on whatever you were working on.
  • Got merch? Show it off after the story is finished and link your images back to your website.

You’re really only limited by your imagination and if there’s one thing we know about Atticus authors, it’s that you have an deep, deep well to draw from!