Book Marketing with Newsletter Swaps by Ezra Barany

A lot of authors think that they need to spend time alone marketing their books to make more sales.

The reality is, if they just have other people with many followers market their books, it’s often easier to make those sales.

The approach in this article is often called OPL.

OPL stands for Other People’s Lists and it’s a way to spread the word about your book to readers who would love to read it. Lots of authors calls this activity “newsletter swaps.”

For example, Lee Child writes thrillers that a lot of readers—myself included—love. If he sent out a newsletter to his followers that included a link to get one of my free thrillers, I would likely get a ton of new readers! By doing this, I would have used another person’s list to increase my newsletter subscribers and potential new fans.

I’m going to show you how you can do your own newsletter swaps and take advantage of OPL. And at the end of this article, if you write thrillers or suspense and want to try it out, we can work together at marketing each other’s books.

Here we go!

1. Prepare a freebie.

It’s often best if your freebie is unpublished. It can be a short prequel to one of your published books to help readers fall in love with your characters and is a way to show off your storytelling and can have links to your other books on sale. This freebie is what you’ll offer readers who sign up for your newsletter.

For example, my freebie is a short sequel to my bestselling thriller The Torah Codes.

If you want to see an example of what a short prequel can look like, you can see it here without signing up for my newsletter:

2. Find other authors in your genre.

Go to various social media sites and search for groups of authors in your genre, like Facebook groups and Goodreads groups. In my case, I joined several thriller and mystery author groups on Facebook. You can also search Twitter to find authors in your genre.

3. Reach out to those other authors.

Search for the term “newsletter swap” to see if authors in your genre are already looking for what you want. If you find a post by an author in your genre seeking out a newsletter swap, respond stating your interest and follow whatever directions they have on how to complete the swap.

If you don’t see any postings, make one of your own. I posted this request recently:

Hello, fellow authors! I’m hoping we can work together to grow our newsletter lists, so if you’re a thriller writer, please read on!

Calling all Thriller authors! Do you write irreverent thrillers (think the irreverence of Lee Child’s character Jack Reacher)? If so, I’d love to promote your freebie or giveaway on my newsletter! What’s the catch? Promote my freebie on your newsletter.

Let’s grow our newsletter subscriber lists together! I’m scheduling two authors a month. Sign up here:

An alternative is to seek out your favorite authors who write in your genre and contact them. To do that, go to their websites, find their contact info, and ask for a newsletter swap in a personal email.

4. Swap information.

Get the author’s name, pen name if applicable, email, number of newsletter subscribers (optional), the month they want to promote their book, clarity on whether their book is a freebie or a giveaway, and if there’s a time limit (will the book be free only for certain days?), URL of the freebie, book description, author bio, book cover image and profile pic.

I’ve set up a web page for the author to fill out all this information herself.

I’ve also set up a place for the author to retrieve all of my information easily.

5. Send out your newsletter as promised.

On the day/week they requested, send out your newsletter promoting their freebie with the understanding that they have or will offer your freebie to their community of readers in their newsletter.

I usually start my newsletter with a personal note telling my readers what I’m up to. Since my readers are thriller readers, I imagine they’re pretty impatient, so I keep it short. If I don’t have anyone scheduled for the month, I either skip the newsletter for that month, or I put out a newsletter with a link to another freebie of mine.


If you write thrillers and have a freebie you think my readers would love, and if you’re interested in offering my free prequel to your readers on your newsletter, click here to sign up for a newsletter swap with me!



Ezra Barany loves riveting readers with thrillers, but by order of the DMV must place a warning on every book cover, “Do not read while driving.” His first two books in The Torah Codes series were award-winning international bestsellers, and the next two books in the series—Deborah’s Number and Bullets Aren’t Kosher—are in their final edits for 2018. His books are regularly prescribed to narcoleptics to prevent them from falling asleep. More at

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