The key to truly bringing in the sales for your series of non-fiction books is to become the go-to expert in your field. If you're looking for advice on quilting, container gardening, or model train building, there are some common names everyone will offer you. Become one of those common names and your book sales will skyrocket. Writing a series of non-fiction books will go a long way toward establishing a name in your chosen niche, but you need something more for true name recognition. One of the best book marketing techniques to show your expertise is by writing an eZine, or email magazine, and giving it away or selling it to interested readers. Your eZine may well be a giveaway for the next year or two, but if your mailing list gets large enough you will get to the point where readers will be willing to pay for your monthly information.
The Nuts and Bolts
Unlike paper magazines, eZines are email newsletters containing one or two long articles, with perhaps a short mention about future books in between. They're basically long newsletters designed more for spreading information than for selling a product. You set up an eZine just like you do any other newsletter, using an email service such as the ones at MailChimp or Aweber. Create your visual header at the site, and every eZine your send out will have the same visual appeal, giving you name recognition.
What goes in your eZine? Topics your readers are already asking about. If you've got a series of books out you probably already have readers emailing you questions about your topic. If not, there are chat rooms and forums dedicated to every topic in the world. Join a few to see what fans are talking about. You can find dozens of sub-topics that are too small to use for a book subject, but would be perfect for a long article. Make a list of a dozen topics or so, and prewrite at least four of them before you launch your eZine. You always want to have at least one month's work done in advance in case of emergencies. Readers are fickle, and they learn to expect emails on a regular date. If you're late even one time, many of them will lose interest in your product.
Having a growing mailing list is the key to becoming well-knowing in your subject area. Put a link to your sign-up page in the back of every book you publish. Add a link to the bottom of your email signature, and include it in every forum post you make. Spread it around on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. The idea is to give readers every chance possible to sign up. The easier you make it, the more likely it is that they'll join.
Hints and Tips
- Publish your eZine monthly, on the same date each month.
- Add a response email at the bottom of each page, allowing readers to suggest topics or reply about the current one.
- If you have an author website, advertise it in every eZine.
- Include a picture of yourself and a mention of your books in every issue.
Keep the Faith and May the Force be with You!