Online marketing - what works for writers might surprise you

Why email is more effective than social media

If you write a book and don't post about it online, does your book even exist?

In this era of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and who knows what's next, the answer is "No." Or it might as well be. Not even the bestselling authors ignore social media (and, even if they wanted to, their publishers would be aghast). 

Email is the most effective marketing 

Surprisingly, however, the most effective social media for authors remains the granddaddy of online communication: email.


Email is more popular than social media for marketing books, because it's always available and has a much higher open rate.. Why do you think social media marketing is so much better than email marketing?

Email outperforms social media 

Several studies show that email outperforms social media when it comes to getting people to actually buy your books. There are some basic reasons why email is more effective for book marketing than social media.

First of all, most people still check their emails. Apart from the fact that emails remain in people's inboxes unless deliberately sent to trash (and how often do you bother?) between 15% to 35% of people open their emails. 

That might not seem to be an impressive percentage, but compare it to social media behemoth Facebook. 

Facebook limits your list

Facebook only lets15% to 35% of your followers see a particular post. This is a calculated business strategy. 

If you want to have 100% reach for a specific Facebook post, you have to pay for it through boosting or sponsoring. 

Secondly, mail is also more efficient for separating fake email addresses or spam. That means better reach for you and a better likelihood of people reading your email. But Facebook lists have a lot of defunct pages and fake profiles. Facebook isn't as efficient at weeding these out as email providers. 

Email marketing is more reliable 

But the third and perhaps greatest advantage of email is its reliability as a communications channel. Facebook and Twitter are now notorious for banning pages or suspending users for not-always-clear infractions.  

Social media cancels you

These social media platforms can change their guidelines and algorithms in ways that might reduce your outreach. In fact, you might not even realize this has happened, since social media companies often make these changes without any warning.

By contrast, your email list is your email list. Even if some of the addresses don't work anymore, nearly everyone has two or three addresses, so you can be pretty sure that you're reaching every real person on your mailing list.


In marketing books, the author's tribe of readers is better than the social media. According to the study, the best way to attract new customers is to send an email marketing campaign at 40 times better than all social media.

Book buyers aren't on social media 

Furthermore, your email list is far more likely to have people who will buy your book than your social media following. This is counter-intuitive. 

After all, social media is so much vaster than email that you would think, just as a matter of percentages, a social media book marketing campaign would have a better return. 

Not so.

The explanation lies in the very title: social media. As far as marketing goes, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram etc are designed for recommenders, not buyers. That means that social media platforms work for indirect marketing. 

Why you won't get recommendations

Books are not a good product fit for this kind of marketing, however. After all, why would people recommend your book? Even if they like it, they're not necessarily going to make a set of posts about how good your book is over any length of time.

For consistent marketing to likely buyers, email is vastly superior. And we do mean vastly. A 2014 McKinsey study found that email was 40 times better at acquiring new customers than Facebook and Twitter combined. Yes, you read that right - combined!

"91 percent of all US consumers still use e-mail daily," the McKinsey report notes, "and the rate at which e-mails prompt purchases is not only estimated to be at least three times that of social media, but the average order value is also 17 percent higher."

Send a one-time email to your closest friends and family to let them know about your book after you've released it on the major retailers.

Manners maketh the email

That said, you should still make sure to follow email protocols. When you've published your book start your email campaign by sending a one-time email to share the news with close friends and family. Use Bcc so email addresses aren't shared. This avoids everyone on the list being spammed when somebody clicks "Reply All."


Use social media to sell more books. If you want to grow a list of users, use email. The difference between email and social media is huge. You can grow your list of email using email.

Presumably, your relatives and friends will spread the good news. But, even as you want to grow your email list, you want to avoid becoming a spammer at all costs. 

Email marketing is less work, less stress

This is where email against has an advantage over social media. To establish a presence on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok etc, you basically have to post every day.

Email, by contrast, requires only a few messages a month to be effective. However, make sure that those few emails are relevant, useful, and interesting.



Always think about building a long-term relationship with your fans and followers. To build a strong, long-term relationship, always send useful, interesting and / or relevant content to your list or on social media.


Work on your relationship 

In this way, you create a relationship based on reciprocity. Which is to say, when you send out an announcement about your book, those persons on your mailing list who have been enjoying your emails are very likely to buy your book. 

Building your email marketing list

Your target should be about 10,000 persons. 

That sounds like a lot but, with time and the right kind of content, it's more than doable. You will be helped by the fact that, once you set up a strong core listing, these people will bring in other people by forwarding your emails.



Book marketing is a relationship-based activity. The author's platform is a blog, which is a platform for the fan who lives in the us or australia.

The core fact about book marketing is that it's a relationship-based activity. 

Social media isn't primarily about relationships, it's about broadcasting one's identity (what used to be called "boasting").

Emails allow discussions in a way social media doesn't or even discourages. And email takes up less time than social media to have those discussions.

To ensure that your posts are seen by fans and will continue to be seen in the future, they will regularly post high-quality content on social media.

The basic principle is that consistent engagement consistent creates sales. Organic reach on Facebook, Twitter, and other social media is now at an all-time low. That's partly because so many marketers are using them and partly because these platforms are coming controversial in themselves.

Do you love your grandpa?

But the online grandfather, email, still has all the best attributes of grandpa: reliability, security, and a warm circle of acquaintances.


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