As a writer, you need to spend most of your time writing. Marketing daily can get in the way of your writing routine. Here is a way you can buy yourself more writing time while selling your book(s).

It is for both one time author and the author who is eager to churn out books. First, we will look at the author with one book, who has no intention to write more. These authors are usually non-fiction authors who write about How to or share how they have overcome something. The fiction authors, I am yet to meet one who stops at just one book.

Okay, let’s get started…

Image is taken from Social Media Impact

Why you don’t have a website?

There are many reasons why some South African authors don’t have an author’s platform in the form of a website. But here are a few and if you fall in any of these options, then this post will help bypass the website and still have a platform where you engage with your readers away from social media.

  • Websites are expensive
  • Websites need to be kept up to date (when do you find time to write?)
  • What will you blog about?
  • You have no idea how to create one yourself
  • Most people hang out on social media anyway and you prefer being on social media too.

The good news for authors who don’t want a website or can’t afford one is that they can bypass the website. Hangout on social media and STILL create a mailing list (contact details.) I talk about the importance of a mailing list here.

What do you need to automate selling your books?

  • A marketing funnel (software)
  • An email address
  • Social media account
  • Know your ideal reader

That’s it, that is all you need!

What is a marketing funnel?

A marketing funnel is a pathway you create for your potential readers to follow as you nurture them until they become advocates for your book(s).

Before you create the pathway, it helps to know your ideal reader. For example, I know that my ideal reader is a black woman in her later early ’30s to late ’30s. She is a mother who either struggled to have a child or is still trying. This woman also knows the value of telling her story and is focused on breaking generational traumas. She is always looking for ways to heal. She has a small but loyal group of friends who form part of her family. She loves Facebook and is occasionally on Instagram. She is searching for more than surface interactions, and on and on, you get the point.

What this information helps me with is knowing who to market to and how to tailor my offering. Okay, now you have your ideal reader, it is now time to tailor the offering, which is at the top of your funnel where you create awareness, the lead generation. It may help to think of this entire process as a courtship. The first part is finding the people/market that resonates with you, like looking for a bae!

Lead generation/magnet (Making your Bae aware you’re searching for him/her)

The lead magnet must be strong enough to draw attention and create awareness to your ideal reader that your book should be on their shelf. My lead generation is a free copy of Anathi: A Lifeless Womb, this is book one of a three-part series. (Will talk below about how fiction authors need more than one book for the funnel to work seamlessly.) 

Now, people love free things so, if you don’t tailor your offering with your ideal reader. You will have a lot of readers who will give you their email address in exchange for a book they won’t read! This is the part where a person gives you their number and has no intention of ever answering when you call.

Segment your funnel

Now, not everyone who opts in will download the book. The first thing you do is segment those people from those who downloaded. You send an automated reminder about the file they haven’t downloaded yet, and you can decide how often you send that message but, I have found twice is enough. At this point, this person falls out of your funnel. There is no pressing reason to nurture this lead as the person didn’t follow your very first CTA (Call to action,) downloading the freebie.

It is time to nurture the leads who downloaded the freebie. Note that you aren’t selling anything yet. You are sending content via email that helps your potential reader get to know you. In courtship, this is the part where you are getting to know one another, via texts and you put your best foot forward so, potential bae looks nowhere else. It is vital, to be interested and observant of what your leads respond to, don’t be shy to ask questions.

Then it is time to offer smaller ticket items to the leads who keep following the pathway you have laid out for them. In my example, the people who have downloaded the book (first CTA), downloaded the deleted scenes from the book (2nd CTA in follow up email) then get the discounted pre-order price of the next book. The people who follow the funnel until the end, then receive the first chapter of the new book.

Nurturing leads for a non-fiction author

If you are a non-fiction author and you don’t think you will write another book because maybe the book, you have written is about the work that you do then your nurture emails must focus on helping your leads.

For example if you have written a book about how to get out of debt, you can offer a budget template as a freebie (your 1st CTA) and your follow up email to those who downloaded the free template could be a challenge on how to stick to their budgets and maybe offer a prize for the best story etc, you can then send short emails that add value and help people get their money game right.

Maybe even offer a free virtual workshop that is 45 minutes long, packed with value. All this communication and adding value to your potential customer makes it easier for a said potential customer to convert into a customer at the end of your funnel when you finally ask them to buy the book or offer a promo code for the book. People want to know that you care about them and not just your bottom line.

Emails to send if you are a non-fiction author round up

  • Budget template with your USP twist as first download freebie
  • Follow up email challenge to budget maybe throw in a prize
  • Offer free workshop based on some of the lessons in your book
  • Ask questions (what would your leads like to learn then offer that
  • A promo code for a discount on the book
  • Or offer more value products with a book purchase

Nurturing leads for the fiction author

As a fiction author, it can be hard to figure out what to send to your leads, but if the freebie (free book) is great people will want to stay with the story. People want to know what happens next or what didn’t make it into the book, etc. These are the emails you can send

Emails to send if you are a fiction author round up

  • Free download of your first book (make sure it is good! and leaves reader on a cliffhanger)
  • Deleted scenes from the book the lead downloaded
  • Character folder of your protagonist and the antagonist
  • Offer a book club discussion via Zoom or Google Meets or have a small book club event and meet your potential readers
  • Promo discount code for the next book
  • Offer the first chapter of the new book
  • Ask questions (where they think the story is going etc

And remember because you don’t have a website you must redirect all your leads to your social media, personal or business page(s). Please make sure you have something worth their viewing LOL…

How do you do all of this?

There are countless marketing and sales funnel, but the ones I have worked with are Mailchimp and GetResponse. Many people rave about Mailchimp, mostly because it is free to use for up to 2000 subscribers but, it doesn’t have segmentation options on the free plan and, I honestly find Mailchimp hard to use. 

GetResponse, on the other hand, walks you through the entire funnel and suggests what to after you have built your funnel. GetResponse is a simple plug and play funnel and delivers subscriber sign up news straight into your email inbox.

GetResponse will show you who signed up for what and how many people downloaded your file. It will section create different lists which will make it easy for you to send emails that convert. If you want to see this in action for your book, GetResponse offers you a free 30-day trial. You don’t need card details to sign up. During the free trial, you get all the contacts who sign up and get to keep those contacts even if you don’t continue to the paid plan.

Get started on your free plan here.

Did you find this post helpful?

If you need clarity on any of the above mentioned, please don’t hesitate to mail me your questions and I will address them in a follow-up post ( Make sure to follow the blog so, you don’t miss the post.) This post is turning out to be longer than I anticipated so, I will post the second part soon, dealing with how to automate the book distribution process.

Until next time,

Happy Writing

Black woman with afro smiling at the camera

Mandisa is a self- published author based in Johannesburg. She is a mom to two energetic boys and married to a pretty cool guy. Apart from reading ad writing her other favourite thing to do is help authors who are starting on this sometimes lonely journey. Connect with her on Facebook & Instagram. She’s still building up the confidence to take on Twitter.

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