Reader Magnets explained – plus – a NEW RELEASE: Twisted Vendetta (a Foxy Mystery, Book 4), by Fiona Tarr…

I was chatting with Chris about my latest release—book 4 in the Foxy Mysteries series, Twisted Vendetta and the topic of Reader Magnets popped up. Since I added this series to Kindle Unlimited, I’ve not been able to give book 1 away as my Reader Magnet anymore, so I’ve started writing a new one—potentially a new series starter (watch this space).

If you are new to writing, you’re probably scratching your head right now wondering why I want to give a book away? Isn’t it about selling books? Am I crazy?

Sure, we write books to sell them, but finding new readers can be challenging. There are literally millions of books on Amazon and only a handful of authors currently get nearly all the sales. Why? Because those authors are well known and highly sought after.

If you are signed with one of the top 5 publishing houses, well they do all that marketing (sometimes) and get your name out there, but if you are an Indie author, you’re going to have to do that yourself and a free book is a fantastic way of showing readers just how fabulous you are. But the double whammy is that a Reader Magnet is a great way of collecting reader’s email addresses which is an extremely effective marketing tool that most successful Indie authors know how to utilise.

Why collect emails? Because letting Amazon or other e-book retailers take total control of your readers and marketing isn’t optimum. Being able to email your readers and tell them about your next book is extremely important in building up your own business so that you aren’t relying on Amazon alone to tell your readers you’ve released a new book (because they often don’t until you are a big name in the game).

Your email list also offers you an opportunity to find Beta readers, (proof and story continuity readers), ARC readers (advanced copy readers who read and review your books ready for release) and super fans (those who just buy absolutely everything and anything you publish at full price and don’t even bat an eye.)

What is a reader Magnet?

A Reader Magnet is one of the most common options out there to encourage readers to share their email address or follow you on social media. If you are a new writer frantically googling what a Reader Magnet actually is, stop! I’m just about to explain, so read on.

A Reader Magnet can be a short story, character interview or something quirky or imaginative, but by far the most effective option is a complete story, novella size or larger. Apart from offering it to readers as an incentive to join your mailing list, a Reader Magnet is an author’s chance to engage new readers and bring them to their entire catalogue of works, so it needs to be well written, edited, presented with a good cover and basically ready for retailing on any e-book store.

With that in mind, my Reader Magnets (I used to write fantasy, now I write crime fiction/romantic suspense) have always been a complete story. I always use the series starter and these books are also for sale on all e-book retailers. Why? Because readers don’t just want something for free, they want something of value and if you usually charge for your book, new readers will feel they really are getting a gift when you give them a free copy.

I’m a developing Indie author just like thousands of others and I’m still discovering so much about the industry, but even successful six figure authors like Mark Dawson still offer free books to entice readers to discover their work. If it’s good for them, it must be a great option for the rest of us; right?

Yes and no. The Reader Magnet needs to be done well or it could actually be detrimental to your career so don’t just throw something together slap dash, make sure you put as much effort into your Reader Magnet as you do with every new book you write.

How to create a Reader Magnet

A quick guide to the steps you should consider when creating a Reader Magnet—I hope I don’t miss any, if I do, feel free to comment below.…

Create a good quality, compelling story and get it edited and beta read just as you would any book you plan on releasing. Make sure it’s not just a filler story. It needs to have the same vibe as all your major works. I once considered a prequel for my Foxy Mystery series, but quickly discovered it would just be a back story with no murder or intrigue and definitely no climax to keep the reader wanting more. Keep this in mind when plotting out your Reader Magnet.

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Invest in a decent cover. There are lots of good, well priced pre-made options out there in every genre. Or, maybe you are good at making covers yourself, great. Go ahead and design away, but be sure to research the top 50 in your genre or sub-genre to see you are on trend.
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Spend some time on the blurb – read books on this subject from authors like Robert Ryan and Adam Croft. Both of these authors are very generous with their time and have Facebook groups that are excellent places to get feedback on your blurb, so utilise them (and contribute too, be part of the solution for other authors).
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Create a digital version in Mobi, E-pub and if you like PDF (although I don’t use this file format because it is easily distributed or pirated). I use Draft2digital for this process,also for distributing to all e-book retailers other than Amazon, but distribution isn’t required to use the service. Some authors I know use all sorts of fancy software to create these files and they swear by it, but I find D2D do an awesome job without any special technical knowledge required.

Distributing your Reader Magnet

With your digital file done, you are now ready to distribute your Reader Magnet and there are a few ways you can do this relatively cost effectively, if not free.

I find the best starting point is using a service like Bookfunnel (BF) to act as a download intermediary service. They offer my readers complete support if they have any issues getting their file onto their reading device and I’ve never had a complaint. There is an annual fee, but it’s affordable and you get so much more than a download service for that fee—I’ll cover that next.
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Once you have your Mobi and Epub file uploaded to Bookfunnel, you can create a book page and join Bookfunnel promotions to give away your book to thousands of new readers in your genre in exchange for their email address. I’ve gained hundreds, even thousands of new readers this way. Some have even become super fans which is awesome. Some are freebie hunters but there are ways to weed them out early if you want to (using an on-boarding funnel with your email service is one way but I won’t elaborate on that in this article, it’s a subject all on its own and can be searched on the internet).
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Another highly recommended way to distribute your free Reader Magnet is on your own website or social media. Other than a bit of set up, it is totally free so it’s a no brainer to do it. Currently, because I’m working on a new Reader Magnet, I’m using an Aussie slang dictionary as my free download and only promoting on my website and Social Media banners, but once my new Reader Magnet is ready, I’ll be using Facebook ads and Bookfunnel again and giving all my current newsletter subscribers a free copy as a thank you for sticking with me.
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Finally, and probably the easiest free option available to all writers is to add your Reader Magnet download link to the back-matter in your current novels. This way, when readers finish your book, they are encouraged to share their email address with you in order to grab another book from you, totally free. They usually only do this because they liked what they read, so these readers are already fans and far more likely to buy future books and engage with you.
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One thing to consider as you set this all up is to make sure your email service is ready to receive these new readers with a welcome sequence of emails. I use mine to offer a second free book (a series starter for my fantasy books in case readers are interested). I also use it to weed out the freebie hunters I spoke about earlier.

Hopefully this quick guide has been helpful in explaining how and why you might want to write a Reader Magnet to grow your readers. Any questions, just drop them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer them, or contact me on my website HERE or Facebook page HERE

The NEW RELEASE

Since trading in her high heels for a PI badge, Liz has developed an insatiable appetite for justice—one that nearly always ends up getting her in trouble.

When Liz pulled back from the escort business, she never managed to quit the game entirely. Holding on to the past meant seeing Ted Lincoln, a long-term client, one more time. Now he’s been found dead with a bullet in his brain and Liz is the prime suspect.

All Liz wants to do is hunt down Ted’s killer, but as the trail leads down the rabbit hole of her sordid past, she worries that her budding relationship with local detective Jack Cunningham might not survive the ride.

Liz sinks her teeth into the investigation, and discovers a deadly game with more lives at risk. She becomes bait in a trap, but it might just as easily snap shut on her. Permanently…

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