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The Steward of Her Heart continues the story of Fergus; soldier and friend of Blaine McCaskill, and Margaret; the Chamberlain of Dun Lagaidh. Will they find love? Or maybe just find themselves heartily sick of one another?
For more details on this exclusive novella, please click here.
As I move further along my journey as a self-published author, it’s becoming painfully clear that two of the biggest things to worry about are discoverability and retention.
How do new readers discover your books, and then once they have, how do you convert them into loyal fans?
In my rather naive mind, I thought the answer was simple – just write good books. But the reality is much, much different. In an industry with thousands of books being released every day, how do you keep your books from sinking beneath the ocean of sheer volume? The correct answer is that there are many tools available to authors to build closer connections to readers, but the most effective is generally considered to be the Mailing List.
It’s simple – a list of people who have subscribed to your website, allowing you to email them about new releases and other news.
In an ideal world, most of these signups would be organic – that is, they read your book, and notice a message in the back asking people to sign up. These are people who like your work, and want to read more. The best kind of fan. But there are also other ways to entice people to sign up, whether they have read your book or not. After all, even if they haven’t read your work, they’ll now be notified of your next release, and just might choose to dip their toes in the water.
But how do you entice people who haven’t even read your books?
Easy – free stuff.
Everyone loves free stuff, so using it to draw people towards your mailing list means you can bring in new readers, who may just turn into your biggest fans. This is known as a reader magnet in the industry, because, well, it attracts people to your list.
My own mailing list is pathetically small, so I have a strategy to grow it over the next few months, and it all hinges on the release of free content:
- Novellas (short novels typically ranging from 10k – 40k words)
- Deleted Scenes
- Extended Epilogues
I have a rough plan to release a new Novella after every second book, Deleted Scenes a few weeks after each book release, and Extended Epilogues for those books where it would be appropriate.
This should give a fairly regular funnel of free content to my subscribers, so they feel like they are getting value from being part of my mailing list. And in turn, hopefully I’ll benefit through the building of closer reader relationships, which will support increased long-term sales.
As a side note, I actually had a blast on my first novella, The Steward of Her Heart. I wrote it alongside book 2 of my series, A Price to Be Paid, which is a rather more serious book in tone and content, so for the novella I let myself relax a little, injected some humorous scenarios, and had a bit of fun. It was a nice breather and made me realise that the novella can be a place for new ideas and things that might not necessarily work for a full length novel. I’m certainly looking forward to writing the next one.