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7 advanced email automation ideas for authors to sell books in their sleep

· 13 min read · Automation · Aug 9, 2022
Cody, Designer.

Playwright and dramatist, Eugène Ionesco, once said: “A writer never has a vacation. For a writer, life consists of either writing or thinking about writing”.

But Eugène Ionesco lived in a world without email automation! Today, authors can set up automated email campaigns that keep working, even when you decide it's time to sit poolside with a cocktail and let inspiration do its thing.

So whether you’re launching books now or thinking about writing the next great novel, you can use these 7 email automation templates to automate your email marketing so that you can sell more books even while you’re dreaming up that climactic soliloquy.

What you need to know… 💡

New to email automation? There are a few features we use in these examples that you might want to familiarize yourself with first. Take a look at these articles before you get started:

Lead magnets are freebies that you offer exclusively to get more email subscribers. They work by teasing the valuable content you offer to give people the nudge they need to sign up for your email list.

Lead magnets are the ultimate honeypot for authors. Since you already have content to sell, you can pick and choose excerpts to give away for free and attract new subscribers.

Lead magnet ideas for authors:

  • Free eBook

  • First chapter

  • Workbook

  • “Behind the scenes” insight about your writing process

Your freebie should match the theme of your main offer. For example, if you’re selling a book about productivity, you might offer a productivity calendar or digital diary as a freebie.

Then, you can follow up after delivering the freebie and find out if it was helpful for subscribers in order to segment them for further targeting opportunities.

In the automation example below, the follow-up email includes a survey block asking subscribers if they found they were more productive using the freebie calendar.

Subscribers that answer “yes” have a dedicated field updated with their answers. They’ll receive another email containing the main offer. Subscribers who answered “no” or didn’t engage at all require further nurturing. So you don’t want to hit them with a hard sell too. In this example, they’ll receive another email with alternate productivity tips instead.

Automation example in MailerLite

👉Tip: Not everyone will be empowered enough to make a purchase at the same time. Use condition steps to separate those who are more engaged in your offer from those who need more time to build trust.

A welcome series may not seem like a revolutionary idea—in fact, it’s pretty much email marketing 101. But there are many different approaches writers and authors can take to elevate their welcome sequences beyond one “thanks for subscribing!” email.

You can use your welcome series to introduce yourself, promote upcoming work, and tag subscribers for further targeting.

If you have multiple signup forms in different places, create individual welcome sequences for each lead magnet. You can then write a relevant welcome email based on the content that leads to them signing up.

For example, if they signed up on your author bio page, the welcome email can include more information about yourself with links to your previous work.

If they signed up on a landing page teasing an upcoming novel, you can focus your welcome email around that book and even follow up with a free chapter download or a sneak peek at a new character profile.

If subscribers click on the download link, you can use a condition step to move them to a dedicated subscriber list for engaged readers.

Author welcome series example in MailerLite

👉Tip: If you have more than one active form for each lead magnet, you can set up multiple triggers so that up to three forms trigger the same automation.

Looking for inspiration on what to include in your welcome email? The article below is stacked full of excellent examples.

You’ve created lead magnets, you’ve welcomed your subscribers, and you now have an engaged captive audience. It’s time to sell some books.

Automating your book launch emails is a great way to keep subscribers engaged and build anticipation before your book is released. While there are a bunch of formats you could use for a book launch automation, our favorite is the short, concentrated 6-day-book-launch.

Day 1:

Announce that something exciting is coming soon and tease subscribers with the cover and/or blurb of your new book.

Day 2:

Share some more in-depth information about the book. Fiction writers could include an extra synopsis while non-fiction writers can share a compelling excerpt.

Day 3 and 4:

Announce and promote a special bonus for readers who pre-order your book, like a discount coupon or bonus chapter (or both)!

Day 5:

Continue to build excitement and generate some FOMO by reminding subscribers that they only have one day left to snag the special bonus.

Day 6:

Announce the launch of your book and drive subscribers to the landing page they can buy it from.

Author book launch automation series in MailerLite

Use condition steps to separate subscribers who pre-order from receiving further promotional emails.

You can plan as many emails as you like before the official launch email, however, it’s important to keep in mind that subscribers who join the automation after the first delay date will fail to complete the workflow. So we recommend keeping it as close to the launch date as possible.

Selling digital content is the best way to earn a passive income online. Automating the content people are paying to sign up for means you can work on other things while also delivering valuable paid content to your subscribers.

When it comes to selling digital content, you have two options: One-time purchases or Paid subscriptions.

One-time purchase ideas for authors:
  • Ebook

  • Self-publishing guide

  • Alternate ending/deleted scenes

Paid subscription ideas for authors:
  • Ebook series with weekly chapter delivery

  • Short story series

  • Weekly writing tips

Let’s take the self-publishing guide for example. Similar to an online course, a self-publishing guide can be delivered all at once, or scattered across a series of weeks.

Self-publishing email automation for authors made in MailerLite

The best part? The entire purchasing process can be easily set up in MailerLite! Simply add a digital product block to a MailerLite landing page or website using our Stripe integration, then use the group subscribers are added to post-purchase as the trigger group for your automation.

When a subscriber buys your digital product, they’ll be added to the group, trigger the automation, and instantly receive their purchase.

Reviews act as a looking glass into how the community is receiving your work, and with nine out of ten consumers reading online reviews before purchasing, positive reviews can be the golden ticket to more sales.

With NPS surveys, you can find out exactly which subscribers a more likely to recommend your book and leave a positive review, then automatically send them a targeted review request email.

Once you’ve collected enough data, you can automatically send a follow-up email to subscribers who rated your book highly to invite them to leave a review.

Email automation for collecting reviews

Cross-selling is when you promote a new product to customers who have previously bought something similar. This could be something like:

  • An alternate ending

  • A sequel

  • Another book in the same genre

Cross-selling is an excellent way to follow up after making a sale or collecting positive feedback. For example, if a subscriber positively reviews one of your books, you can follow up by promoting its sequel.

Cross-sell email automation for authors example

Curious about upselling and cross-selling but don’t want to come off as pushy? We’ve got you covered in the article below.

An evergreen newsletter is an automated series of emails that remain relevant no matter when they’re sent. Rather than creating and sending a new stand-alone campaign every week, you can prepare content in advance and automatically deliver them one-by-one.

This doesn’t mean that you need to come up with ten new ideas this week instead of one, in fact, you can simply repurpose some of your previously sent campaigns to fit into your evergreen newsletter automation.

New subscribers who join your list will trigger the workflow and begin receiving newsletters without ever realizing they’ve been sent before. Just remember to top up your workflow with more content as subscribers begin to reach the end!

The beauty of an evergreen newsletter is that you can take your best ideas and make sure all your subscribers get to read them!

Plus you’ll have more battery in your idea machine to focus on other creative tasks.

The beauty of email automations is that, once set up, they work ‘round the clock building relationships and making sales for you. But in order to be truly effective, the content needs to be personalized for your audience.

So before you take these ideas and book that vacation, choose the workflows that are relevant to your audience and customize them to work for you.

Now, did somebody say cocktails? 🍹

Erin Ford
Erin Ford
I’m Erin, I write content here at MailerLite. When I’m not typing away at my laptop, geeking out over email automation and targeting, you can find me at the nearest beach with my furry little rescue pooch, Alfie.