Each month, the Nonfiction Authors Association asks a burning publishing question of the industry’s best, brightest, and most innovative experts. Here’s what they have to say!What strategies do you use to build your mailing list?

NFAA: What strategies do you use to build your mailing list?


There are three main elements that I suggest authors use to build their mailing list. The first element is Lead Card ads on Facebook; keep in mind the importance of targeting, image, copy, and color. These ads should be connected directly with your email service provider, such as MailChimp. The second element is to create a “freebie” or digital download that you can give to your subscribers in exchange for them giving you their email. The third is to create a 3-5 email automation; this is the campaign that sells for you over a period of time and brings someone into your world. When these three elements work together, you have created a sales funnel that will encourage people to stay on your list, buy your books, and look forward to receiving updates from you in the future.

Marquina helps authors feel empowered, not overwhelmed, by marketing.



I have added over 1,000 people by giving something great and getting my audience to text to join my list.

Speaker and author Toni Harris Taylor loves to help entrepreneurs to get out of their comfort zone to take drastic steps! www.ToniHarrisTaylor.com


There was a time when authors would give away a chapter of their book in exchange for the reader’s email address. This worked for awhile, but readers are becoming more and more sophisticated now, so it’s not the draw that it used to be. (One exception is celebrities, but if you’re not one—yet—then it’s a good idea to come up with something else.)

Create an irresistible opt-in offer:

What does your reader want? Then give it to them. Don’t worry that you’re giving away valuable material that takes away from your book. As counterintuitive as it may seem, giving fabulous material away creates MORE interest in you and your book; not less.

Then use your landing page everywhere. Put it in your bio, on articles you write, in guest blog posts and everywhere else you can think of.

If you have created some kind of assessment or quiz, keep it open and not behind a wall. In other words, rather than asking for their email address before they receive it, have them take the quiz first. Then, in order to get the results, they have to give you their email address.

Always put yourself in your reader’s shoes. What do they need? What do they want? Give them that and you will build a significant following.

Joanne McCall works with authors to help them become Media Darlings through her Media Strategy Sessions and one-on-one work. www.joannemccall.com


My #1 strategy for building my mail list is through LinkedIn connections. After connecting with a new person, I send them an invitation to join my mail list for industry articles, insights, and updates. I also present an opportunity to opt-in to my mail list on my website.

Managing Director and Founder of Marketing Mechanics, Ellen Grace has been working in high-tech business strategy and product management since the mid-’90s and consulting for 15 years. www.mktgmech.com


I offer a free webinar called “How to Use Email to Attract Fans, Create SuperFans & Sell More Books,” with an upsell at the end to my Author Email Boot Camp. I’ve bought Facebook ads to lead people to the webinar. Once they are on my email list, they get my twice-a-week free email tips.  

Publicity expert Joan Stewart works with authors who want creative ideas on how to market and sell more books. http://PublicityHound.com


Building your email list has been called “a license to print money,” but it’s also an author’s license to promote a book to people who have already expressed interest in it—and in his or her work. Those who join your list have given you permission to contact them about your work. That’s why I make sure each one of my websites has a “lead magnet” or free gift visitors receive after they give me their name and email address, which puts them on my email list. That is my #1 strategy for building my list: to include a quiz, assessment, free book, or some sort of downloadable gift visitors can opt into by filling out a form.

However, the best two ways I have found to build a list quickly are (1) by conducting webinars and teleseminars—all those who sign up for the event are placed on a list as soon as they share their name and email address and (2) participating in affiliate or partnership launches and events—I give away something valuable for free and those who opt in to the offer are automatically added to my email list. These two strategies have allowed me to grow my list(s) by 50 to 250 people at a time. However, you do need to promote such events with email, social media posts, and, possibly, ads.

Nina Amir, a 12-time-Amazon-bestselling hybrid author of such books as How to Blog a Book, The Author Training Manual, and Creative Visualization for Writers, is a Blog and Author Coach, one of 300 elite Certified High Performance Coaches world-wide—the only one working with writers—and founder of the Nonfiction Writers’ University and National Nonfiction Writing Month. www.ninaamir.com

If you like this blog post, you’ll love our Author Toolkit covering websites, blogging and social media for authors. Check it out!