Why Authors Should Use Email to Reach Readers Book PR experts emphasize the importance of social media for promoting your book and connecting with your readers. But there’s another mode of digital marketing that experts claim could be even more important: email. Kristen Oliphant, author of Email Lists Made Easy for Writers and Bloggers, wrote a fantastic series of guest posts on JaneFriedman.com about emails and newsletters. In the first, “Starting an Email Newsletter: Why to Do It and Which Service to Use,” she writes, “Email can be your most powerful asset as an author.” She’s not the only one to recognize email’s power. Author and marketing expert Tim Grahl wrote in “Five Myths About Email Marketing for Authors” that “the first thing every author should do is build an email list.” Author Emily Wenstrom chimes in, saying, “Your email list is your lifeline to long-term success. Why? Because your email subscribers are your peeps. They are the readers who love you so much they want to connect beyond the books themselves, and are the most likely to buy release after release as your body of works expands.” She writes more about why email lists are important and how she’s grown hers in an article on The Write Life. “But hold up,” you might be saying. “Why do you, my PR coach, and other people keep nagging me about creating and maintaining a website and social media accounts if email is really where it’s at?” Don’t worry, you haven’t been wasting your time on those. Each platform—be it a newsletter, blog, Facebook, or Twitter—reaches people in a different way. And each platform can be used to support the others. For example, a website is often used as a home base for email lists and newsletters. That’s where people can sign up to receive updates from you. If you have a website—and preferably a blog as well—readers can glean a better idea of who you are and what they would receive if they joined your email list. So, what advantages does email have over social media or blogging? Kristen Oliphant outlines a few key advantages in her article: “email is permanent,” “email is personal,” and “email is effective.” When Oliphant says “permanent,” she means in part that, unlike with social media, you don’t have to worry about the changing policies and algorithms. Email has remained pretty much the same throughout the years: one person sends an email, and the recipient sees it in their inbox, unless the spam filters catch it. No need to spend extra money “boosting” posts to make sure your words are actually seen. That also makes it more “effective” than social medial. The “personal” element is important, too. People are less likely to sign up for emails than to follow someone on social media. Because of that, Oliphant writes, “When someone signs up for your list, they are taking one more step to connect, which means they are likely a more engaged fan.” They’re inviting you into their inbox because they really care about what you have to say. So, that’s the why. What about the how? Below, we’ve listed several helpful articles that tell how you can use email to reach your readers in an effective way. There’s certainly a learning curve, but with some guidance from these experts, cultivating an email list and sending quality content to your readers via email is completely possible—and quite likely beneficial for you and your audience alike. Resources Read the rest of Kristen Oliphant’s series here: “Starting an Email Newsletter: Why to Do It and Which Service to Use” “How to Customize Your Email Newsletter Sign-Up Forms to Increase Reader Engagement” “How to Grow Your Email List” “What Should You Put in Your Email Newsletter?” Another great article to check out is Tim Grahl’s “5 Myths About Email Marketing for Authors.” He outlines five myths that can keep authors from using email to reach their audiences, and he gives some great tips along the way. He makes the whole process sound doable. One disclaimer: he does appear to have a paid bias toward a certain email service provider, ConvertKit, so when it comes time to choose your own provider, you may want to return to Oliphant’s first article above.