I’ve got to give credit to Jane Friedman’s blog for this
great idea. Dave Chesson wrote a guest post on October 3, 2019 that I’ve
grabbed onto and run with in my recently released series, the empires of armageddon. It’s not
easy. It takes effort. But I’ve never had as much encouraging feedback from any
marketing attempt over the last fifteen years.
Chesson writes about what he calls Reader Magnets: “Reader magnets are free resources you create to incentivize book readers to join your email list.” Sounds simple. And it is. You offer something of value to your readers. Put that offer in your book. All the reader needs to do is send you an email and you will send them the free offer.
It works. I’ve gotten over 100 new email contacts for my newsletter from reader responses and website subscribers. Not a huge number. But it all counts.
I started using Reader Magnets (I call it Reader Retention) for the first time in the empires of armageddon series, three books that all launched in 2020. At the end of all of the novels I’ve written over the last fifteen years (including my first series, the jerusalem prophecies) I’ve included Author’s Notes, a little more detail on some of the real people, real organizations, real geo-political situations, that I’ve written into each of my novels.
But, for empires of armageddon, in the introduction to the Author’s Notes, I included two free offers for readers. The first offer was something specifically related to that book.
In the first book, Ishmael Covenant, I offered more info and photos of a unique scene location, the Gramafon Café in Ankara, Turkey. It’s a really funky little restaurant dedicated to classic rock. The menus are glued to vinyl records. And (figuring most readers are women) I offered recipes for two of the signature dishes at the café.
In the second book, Persian Betrayal, I offered a free short story, The Gaon’s Revenge, an off-shoot story of one of the main characters. And in the third book, Ottoman Dominion, I offered another short story, Under the Radar, the backstory of a character who is only identified in the series as “the man in the Panama hat.”
The second offer in each book was subscription to my newsletter which takes a deeper dive into one of the items listed in the Author’s Notes. For instance, there is a military organization, the Joint Special Operations Command (JSOC), which plays prominently in the series. JSOC is a real military outfit, America’s most effective and clandestine rapid strike force. In the Author’s Notes, there is a paragraph or two about JSOC. The newsletter about JSOC is three or four pages of information, along with supporting photos.
The recipes? That didn’t work. The short stories? The requests keep coming in. Not huge numbers. But steady. From all around the world. I have responders from Netherlands, New Zealand, several from Canada and two from Australia. And we correspond – some regularly. Which is great to get that immediate, person-to-person feedback and encouragement writers so seldom encounter.
If you’re interested in learning more about reader retention … or, if you’re interested in getting any of the free offers, or my monthly newsletter, just send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. (See, it works.)
Or you can check out this link to the blog about Reader Magnets on Jane Friedman’s blog: https://www.janefriedman.com/convert-readers-to-email-subscribers/
You can check out my books on Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/s?k=terry+Brennan%27s+books&ref=nb_sb_noss_2
You can follow me on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/terry.brennan.5201/
Or find me, and my blog, on my website: https://www.terrybrennanauthor.com/