Building Your Mailing List: 5 Concrete Steps that Work by Laurel Osterkamp

Building Your Mailing List: 5 Concrete Steps that Work by Laurel OsterkampLet’s welcome back Laurel Osterkamp as she shares with us “Building Your Mailing List: 5 Concrete Steps that Work.” Enjoy!


Selling books is HARD. 

Think about it: your title is literally competing with over two million other titles on Amazon.

How do you get readers to notice your book, and to want to buy it?

I’ve heard it over and over. The answer is to develop your reader base and build a mailing list.

Okay, cool. Sign me up. Except, “build your mailing list,” is never followed with instructions on just HOW to do that.

I’m figuring it out through trial and error. I’m not claiming to have all the answers, but I’ll share how I gained nearly 600 mailing list subscribers in the last nine months.

*Disclaimer: I receive no kickback from my recommendations. This is simply what has worked for me. I realize there are competing sites that may be equally as good, but I’m not familiar with them.

1. Have a website that people want to visit

If your website only promotes your books, then it will be difficult to attract readers.

When I developed my website,, I decided to offer free content that would hopefully engage people and promote my author brand.

I do literary lifestyle posts like book reviews, lesson plans, and writing advice.

Also, I try to make my website visually appealing. Two memberships I find invaluable are with Book Brush and Pic Monkey.

2. Set up an account through Mailchimp

They are easy to use and you can start with a free account. After you have over 500 contacts you’ll need to upgrade.

3. Create a Reader Magnet

Once you’ve got your Mailchimp account, you can put up a pop up form on your website, offering readers a freebie for signing up for your newsletter.

I found that the easiest way to offer the free download is through BookFunnel. I pay $5 a month, which is their cheapest subscription plan.

4. Use Social Media

Perhaps you already have a lot of social media followers on one or more platforms. If so, good for you!

That wasn’t the case for me. I decided to focus on one platform (Facebook) and post often, thinking of posts as mini-blog entries.

I like Facebook because you can boost posts, and unlike Instagram, you can link to your site in non-boosted posts.

Also, occasionally I run giveaways using the King Sumo app, where readers enter to win a book.

I pick bestsellers with readers who’d find my books appealing. Signing up for my mailing list is one way to enter.

5. Other Services

There are many websites that offer author services. I’ve used them with varying amounts of success, and I’m listing them in order of how highly I recommend them.

Book Cave will let you list your reader magnet for free, and you can also join reader magnet promotion groups for free. I’ve received over 100 new subscribers from Book Cave without having to pay anything.

I use their “Evergreen” program, where I offer a free copy of one of my novels– not my reader magnet, but one published on Amazon– in exchange for their email address.

I am charged every month based on how many readers request my book. It can get time consuming and expensive, but I have gotten a significant amount of subscribers this way.

They offer all sorts of services to help authors gain social media followers on platforms like Facebook, GoodReads, BookBub, etc., as well as building their mailing list.

Readers give their email address for a chance to win your book, as well as many other books and also a Kindle Fire or something similar.

I used them several months ago, just to get started, and they gave me a boost. However, I suspect these readers are more likely to unsubscribe or ignore my emails.

  • BookSweeps

They’re at the bottom because the jury is still out.

They run similar promotions as Authors XP, but only for BookBub and mailing list subscribers.

I am signed up for one of each; the mailing list promo is going on right now and the BookBub promo will happen later this month.

Their promos fill up fast and I’ve heard good things, so my expectations are high.

So, there you go

Like I said, I’m still learning through trial and error. If any of you know other good ways to build your mailing list, I’d love to hear about it in the comments.



About the Author 

Laurel Osterkamp
Laurel Osterkamp is from Minneapolis, where she teaches and writes like it’s going out of style. Her short fiction has been featured in Tangled Locks Literary Journal, Bright Flash Literary Journal, and Metawoker Lit, among other places. Her latest novel Favorite Daughters was recently released by Black Rose Writing. (Click here to see the novel on Amazon.)

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  • Beth Barany says:

    These are great tips, Laurel. Thanks! I’ve used AuthorsXp and Bookfunnel and recommend them both.

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