Everything You Need to Know About Reader Magnets
Before you embark on the crazy journey of using BookFunnel and StoryOriginApp (specifically, though there are other similar platforms that function the same way) I want to make sure you are equipped with all that you need to get started.
Note: This reader magnet is for the sole purpose of growing your email list. A reader magnet should not (and cannot) be used for sale purposes. That is for another lesson at another time. If you are looking to sell your book, the first thing you’ll want to do is make sure it’s on Amazon and look into services like B2D (book 2 digital) for further assistance.
The first thing you’ll need is what’s called a reader magnet. And you’ll use that reader magnet to attract prospective readers to your email list. But there is so much more to it than that. You’ll want that reader to stay on your list, receiving your emails, as well. How to do that as well as all you need to know about reader magnets specifically is what you’ll learn today:
What is a reader magnet?
A reader magnet is an epub file containing samples of your work. It can be a full on collection of short stories or a full on novel. Keeping in mind that it must be your own work and you must have the right to use it in this way (ie giving it away). If your book is under KindleUnlimited, for example, then you cannot use it as a reader magnet as KU has exclusive rights. But not to worry, those rights are only exclusive for a period of 90 days and you can opt out once those days have expired.
What if I don’t have anything to put into an epub file? Fiction vs Nonfiction
I have heard a lot of people worry that because they are not fiction writers they couldn’t possibly have anything to put into an epub file to use as a reader magnet. Now, full disclosure, I have not dabbled in the nonfiction group promos or author swaps, but I know they do exist.
I would suggest not actually entering any of the group promos that are listed there, but clicking into them for the purpose of downloading certain ones. You can easily unsubscribe after you’ve done so if you’re not interested in joining their list. The exercise is to just see what kinds of things they are offering as reader magnets? The art of stealing is learning how to take inspiration from others and applying your own unique style into it. You’re sure to find dozens of examples to choose from.
As for fiction writers, I’ve heard it said that if you don’t have a novel then you don’t have anything to share as a reader magnet. Not true. A reader magnet is simply meant to be a representation of your work that you use to get a reader interested in what you have to offer moving forward. And I believe any writer who has been writing for a long period has something they can share. It doesn’t have to be the most perfect thing you’ve written. The best or your favorite will suffice.
How long should my epub file be?
My rule of thumb is that you don’t want a reader to feel jilted by giving them a 1k word short story as your reader magnet. That’s just not enough. You’ll want to give them at least 3 - 5 chapters (if you’ve got a full novel you can use) or a collection of short stories (if each of them is a couple thousand words long). Or maybe you have a prequel novella or novelette for a series of novels you have out already or plan on writing in the future that you can share and it’s 7k - 10k words long? That would be cool because it can be something that can’t be found or read anywhere else.
When should I create my reader magnet?
You should have this reader magnet ready before you start looking into using services like BookFunnel or StoryOriginApp. This way you aren’t wasting too much time creating it before you get started.
What about the cover?
Covers can be tricky. If you can afford to use a service like Fiverr or 99designs to help in creating a book cover for you, by all means, go for it. But some of us just don’t have the cash on hand to spend on a cover design or we want to use that money towards paying for the monthly fee on BF or SO. In this case I recommend using a free service like Canva to create your book cover. Granted, it may not be the most professionally made cover ever, but you can easily get away with just putting the title of your work and your name in a fancy font with a one tone (or gradient) color background. Again, not the best, but it will be clear and concise what you are looking to giveaway.
If you’re looking for ideas on what your cover should look like so it doesn’t stand out like a sore thumb among the other books (sometimes standing out isn’t a good thing) then you can take a look at the other books within a group promo to get an idea. You want to make sure that if you don’t have an image on your cover, but your work in fantasy, that you at least use a particular kind of serif font that will lend itself to that genre, for example.
Suggestions for Front and Back matter of my reader magnet?
In the front matter, aside from the usual Title Page, Copyright page, and Table of Contents, I included an Introduction page. This page simply gives the reader information on what they are about to read and I also provide a link to my newsletter. Now, the reason I do this is just in case I use the link of my reader magnet outside of a group promo or swap within BF or SO.
As for the back matter, I just have another CTA (Call to Action) reminding readers about my newsletter as well as the usual About the Author page.
For those who may not be aware of the lingo:
Front Matter are the pages you’ll find in any book you pick up off the shelf or have on your ereader that comes before the actual story begins.
Back Matter are the pages that you’ll find after the story has ended.
I don’t know how to create an epub file! Help!
There are many free open source programs you can use to create an epub or mobi file. The most popular among them is Calibre. Amazon has their own program that will help you in creating a file specifically for their platform. But if you have some extra cash and you use a Mac, then I suggest Vellum. That is the program I use and it has served me well in creating the files I need. I am able to do the entire process in under 10 minutes. But Vellum is pricey at $199 for just the ebook version and if you want the ability to also create print book files, then that costs $249.
Lastly, another route you can take is to hire someone from a site like Fiverr to create the ebook for you. Or you can hire me! That’s right! It’s a service I’ve had going for a long time now. If you are an indie author/writer I will put together an ebook file for you for the low price of $0! More info on that can be found HERE.
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