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Answering your questions about writing, publishing, and marketing books

By Sarka-Jonae Miller

October 26, 2015 (San Diego’s East County) - A scientist, a novelist, and now a guest columnist... Ask An Author is happy to welcome multiple award-winning author and physicist Massimo Marino, whose science fiction trilogy sold more than 10,000 copies in the US and abroad before being picked up by a publisher. Also, get one of his novels free Nov 9-14, as well as 200 more!

It's not every day you get to read science fiction by an actual scientist. Perhaps that's why Marino's recently re-released debut novel, Daimones, just hit #1 in two categories on Amazon UK and in three categories on Amazon Canada, as well as snagging a top 10 best seller spot on Amazon India. The new version of the sequel, Once Humans, is already out and the final novel, Rise of the Phoenix, is soon to follow.


“Can you offer a few concrete tips to build an email list for marketing purposes?” - Ekta Garg


Massimo: Building a mailing list is one of the best marketing tools for an author. Imagine having a list of 10,000 people who would receive the news about your incoming new novel and they can pre-order it.

People will not just subscribe, not even if they’ve liked your book. You need to offer something of value for free in exchange for an email address. Your list will grow over time in exchange for something of value.

I do offer a free short story collections to subscribers, and when I’m working on a new novel, I message my subscribers to offer them becoming part of my beta readers. The link to my mailing list appears on my home page, and I mention it on Twitter and Facebook roughly once a month.

As an author, you might offer for free your first 3 chapters of your new book, or a short story (but that might be too little to offer), or the first novella in a series of 3. Then, it is a matter of not being a nuisance so that subscribers will not leave. You do not want to be seen as a spammer. Don’t abuse the list or they will unsubscribe. It’s all about respect.

Other things that can be done are:

·         Add a list signup in the front of the books, as well as the back,

·         Mention your list in all online places where your books are, for example, your Amazon Author’s page, or your Facebook page.

·         In the messages you send your mailing list, remember to add the social share buttons, as well as one that points to signing up to your mailing list as well.

Last comment, it’s a long haul, and it’s a catch-22 situation like every other marketing initiative a Fiction author enterprises.

Sarka-Jonae: Using a service like Mail Chimp to help build and organize an email list can be very helpful, but what I've found to be the most effective way to build a list is using Rafflecopter giveaways and Net Galley. If you pay a small amount for a monthly subscription, Rafflecopter allows you to add the option of joining a mailing list to earn entries for a giveaway.

Technically, when people enter any Rafflecopter giveaway they often give an email address for notification purposes if they win. However, I don't recommend contacting those people just to plug your new book since they didn't ask to be put on a mailing list. I've found that when I contacted everyone to announce a giveaway winner and offered the option to remain on the list, assuring people I'd only contact about future giveaways or free review copies, many opted to stay.

Net Galley is widely popular book review service where for a fee authors can have the site send free review copies to any member who requests it. The company also provides you with the contact information of everyone who requests your book. The service isn't cheap, but many authors are splitting the costs of an annual subscription into six or even 12 shares.

I'm a big advocate of having a Facebook group just for fans where they can ask you questions and get information first, such as exclusive excerpts of works in progress and notification of giveaways. It's easy to meet people on Facebook and encourage them to join your closed group. Simply asking these fans if they want to be added to your mailing list often gets good results.

But whatever you do, be sure to include an easy-to-use unsubscribe list.


Free Books: Don't wait until Black Friday. Get more than 200 great freebies for kindle November 9-14, including my award-winning chick-lit novel Between Boyfriends, the new adult thriller Trigger, Nancy Pearl Award finalist Seducer Fey, the contemporary romances Another Tomorrow (free Nov 10-14)and Rydin' the Storm Out, plus the award-winning science fiction novel Once Humans by Massimo Marino.


Got Questions?

Send them to Sarka-Jonae Miller through Twitter @sarkajonae, Facebook, or via her author website. Additionally, live events can be found on SJ's events page.

About Sarka-Jonae Miller

SJ is a local author, book marketing manager, publicist, and columnist who writes chick lit and steamy romance based in San Diego and Los Angeles. Her novels include the Between Boyfriends series and the All for You series. SJ also writes health and fitness articles for The Best Years in Life and Natural News.


Check out her Between Boyfriends blog for book reviews, author interviews, TV episode synopses, and giveaways. Follow @sarkajonae and @sjpublicity9 on Twitter for more writing tips, book recommen

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