How to Blow Up Your Email List with Nick Stephenson (Self Publishing Podcast #141)

Your list, your email list, where readers can stay connected with you and get notifications of your latest releases, is probably the single most important thing any indie author should have in order to be a self-publishing pro, except for maybe a well-written book, of course. We’ve heard the guys talk before about how important having an email list is, as well as them lamenting how they slacked off in that area for most of last year, but we haven’t yet really dug into how to build your list and keep your readers opening your emails, even months later.
Enter Nick Stephenson, email marketing extraordinaire and author of both fiction and nonfiction. He was a charming and knowledgable guest who definitely had a thing or two to say about how to build and sustain an email list, for either fiction of nonfiction authors.
Among the things Nick talked about were:

  • How he built his list to incredible number in a matter of months
  • How he handles both his fiction and nonfiction lists
  • How he keeps his open and click-through rates high for his different lists

There is so much great info here, you’ll probably want to listen more than once, and if you’re like me, you’ll want to keep a notebook handy so you can jot down some email list ideas for your business.
If you like the episode, you’ll definitely want to check out Your First 10,000 Readers, the site Nick mentioned in the show.
Here’s the video version:

Show Episode Transcript

Johnny: Self Publishing Podcast episode number 141.Dave: This episode of the Self Publishing Podcast is brought by 99Designs the online market place that helps you get outstanding book cover designs at an affordable price. Start your custom design today in, and enjoy your free power pack upgrade valued at $99.
Welcome to the Self Publishing Podcast where if you want something done right you’ve got to do it yourself. And now here are your hosts three guys who sometimes shower together not that there is anything wrong with it; Johnny, Sean and Dave.
Johnny: Hey everyone and welcome to the Self Publishing podcast, the podcast that follows three full time authors as we attempt to change the face of the Indie Publishing. Join us and our trailblazing guest as we shove aside boundaries, freely experiment, and occasionally screw up. I’m Johnny B. Truant and my co hosts are Sean Platt and David Wright. In case you just want to know who those guys are; Sean was the one who grunted during the intro, so that was Sean. No, no comment on that. I love that we are having connection issues again this is good.
Can anybody hear me? Holy shit! So I love the tech issues if you guys have just been entertaining your YouTube audience while I’ve been screwing around.
Sean: If you can call it entertaining…
Johnny: Oh man this is going to be somebody’s first episode– it’s probably a mix up, people are watching this now and thinking what has this guy got himself into. So…
Sean: I’m back for more; it’s professional.
Johnny: Come back from work, we are usually not that bad but Google has hated us recently and the last few episodes have had some sort of tech issues, so apologies. So the Nick that I mentioned is Nick Stephenson. Nick wrote a book called– Nick wrote many books. Nick wrote a non-fiction book called “How to Supercharge Your Kindle Sales,” which I would highly recommend, I read it, Sean read it, Dave I think you read it too, right? We all read it.
Dave: Yes I actually read it independent of you guys and was talking to you about it and you say, “Hey we read it too.” And I was like wow because usually I hate most of these sorts of books.
Sean: Yeah we all triangulate on this one. And it makes sense because this is our year of optimization. And that’s you know largely what the book is about. It’s tweaking this and tweaking that and it really good stuff. So even if you have one book out there it’s still worth reading because you understand kind of how to position that, how other people who are coming to your book for the first time and reading your product description and that kind of stuff is really important, and I think that we tend to under value it.
And also you know it’s funny because you can look at traditional publishers, like let’s say you are wanting to write a product description for your book, and you go to look at you know traditional publishers and think, they know how to write a product description clearly. I’m going to copy what they do. But that’s not necessarily a good idea because they are not necessarily thinking about it in the right way. They are not necessarily about it– traditional publishers despite moving to Amazon are still thinking about the customer who is in a book store and they are picking that book up and they are turning it over and reading the back copy. And that’s different kind of copy than what you have.
Dave: What is this book store thing you are talking about?
Sean: Right. So it’s like the world has moved on and I think that Nick’s book does a very good job kind of understanding how a modern book consumer is looking at that.
Johnny: So the way that I came to Nick’s attention because this is like this is your life of how did we all meet Nick Stephenson? He is– I had lunch with Jay Thorn who lives kind of near me. And he was like, “You got to talk to Nick Stephenson and he is been doing great things.” Jay said it was his email list like specifically it was like he added just tons of people to his email list? So I actually wanted to focus on that today, I asked Nick if we could talk on to blow up your email list, but he’s got a ton of other stuff to say. So I’m sure it will be a roll rocking good conversation. So anyway so what’s new with you guys?
Sean: Well I became the father of a teenager this week.
Johnny: He is literally going to say what’s going on not in publishing but just what’s going on in your life.
Dave: We don’t really care about that.
Sean: Well yeah.
Dave: Let’s do it after.
Sean: No my daughter Hailey turned 13 this week, and so that was my big news for this week.
Johnny: What’s going on in Indie publishing? What’s going on in our writing careers?
Sean: You know we can put it in– this is in a writing career thing we can put it in a link to the show notes because I have to find the link but you can Google it I guess. It’s Book Pub, if Book Pub had a thing…
Johnny: I have that it was like things you don’t know about Book Pub readers.
Sean: Discount books?
Johnny: Yeah.
Sean: And that was pretty interesting. So Book Pub readers there was just– I think it was something like 10 Things You Don’t Know About…
Johnny: It was “11 Things You Don’t Know About Bargain EBook Buyers.”
Sean: Yeah you want to run through that list really quick just boom-boom-boom because that was interesting stuff.
Johnny: Yeah so this is interesting hang on just a second, yeah so it was– hold on why this screw up. Okay so it’s on the Book Pub blog and number one is their power readers almost 60% of the book buyers consume a book a week and one intense that they read a book or more a day which is like as fast as we write.
Dave: I’m so jealous of those people have that kind of time. Good Lord!
Johnny: If you pre-prioritized you could find some of that time back Dave let’s be honest.
Dave: I know I only stop writing and like spending time with my family.
Sean: You know what I didn’t read for a really long time because I just didn’t have time, but I’m up to one or two books a week now. And I’ve just…
Johnny: But you are cheating a little bit because you are listening to audio.
Sean: Well yeah but it’s still consumption. It’s still– I mean the habit– and one feeds the other because I’m reading or because I’m listening to audio books, I’m just I’m more willing to read and I just I’m so…
Johnny: It says that number two is that they read everywhere. 45% say they read at work. Number three was they primarily read on tablets. So that’s interesting to know for like formatting concerns and stuff. 60% say they prefer tablets and that includes the Kindle Fire and Nook Angsty [ph] so the little tablets too. Number four they don’t just read EBooks it says 60% also read hard covers. And that’s hard core, they are not just reading paper they are reading hard cover. Three quarters said they still read paper backs.
Number five they are genre readers which makes sense for Book Pub because they divide by genre. So they primarily– I misinterpreted that. So they primarily consume genre fiction…
Sean: Which I think it’s good for a lot of our audience.
Johnny: Yeah I took that to mean that they were consuming by genre but it says they consume genre fiction. So apparently anything but literature and nonfiction is genre fiction. Apparently that’s what that means which I think it’s kind of crap. Why isn’t literature just a genre? But whatever, it says they prefer mystery, thrillers and romance was the majority which doesn’t surprise me either. Their median income is above average. They buy full priced eBooks it says while they are you know bargain readers and they are price sensitive it said over ¾ said they buy full length titles which is good.
Sean: That doesn’t surprise me at all but I would like to ask Dave if that surprises him.
Dave: No not among people that read a lot, no not at all.
Sean: Okay.
Johnny: Number eight they try new authors, which is very important to all of us.
Sean: And I think that makes sense because if they are buying cheap books like its way-way harder to take a chance on you know a full priced book with an author you’ve never heard of and have no experience with. And you know years later I know John Locke’s book has been discredited in so many ways. But I think that is the best point that he made when he was talking about pricing and that well I can’t compete with them at this price but I can compete at this price. People are willing to give me a chance at this price. That is a good point.
Johnny: I don’t think John Locke’s book deserves to be discredited. I think that the thing with buying reviews sucked and he shouldn’t have done that and blah blah blah. But I don’t think it changes the fact that the rest of the book– a lot of the rest of the book still has real good value.
Sean: I agree with that.
Dave: It’s kind of lying by omission though. I mean he talked about how he got super popular but left out one little bit of fact. And that should have been in the books. So…
Sean: It should have been in the book but still a lot of those core principles [crosstalk] [00:09:06] to disagree with, right? But yes that was shitty and it…
Dave: Especially there is a big part of the equation.
Sean: Yeah and especially…
Johnny: And let’s not forget this is the guy who battled the smoke monster. So I mean come on like he deserves a little bit of credit John Locke.
Dave: No I like that John Locke.
Johnny: Do you like the philosopher too?
Dave: Big-big fan.
Johnny: It also makes sense that they would try new authors because there was something to go with that. I don’t remember what it was. You were saying because they were bargaining books and they were willing to try new authors. I guess it’s because you read so much. Like if you read that much you have to try new authors.
Sean: Yeah I just think they are hungry for consumption. Either way it’s like people who are really into music and they’ll try any new band because you never know when you are going to find your next favorite song, your next favorite band. And anybody is worth a try. And so people are you know who are avid readers like that are always looking for their next favorite author.
Johnny: Yeah.
Sean: And I think that people in the same way music– I think people are looking for books that other people don’t know about because it makes them feel special. You know they are looking for the gems.
Johnny: Well also when I was a kid I read the Hardy Boys books and you know they were like a hundred of them or something. They were a ton but when I got to the end I did the most unthinkable thing for a teen boy to do. And I started reading Nancy Drew because it was the same author…
Sean: I did the same thing.
Johnny: But it was like I used them a lot. Like I’ve gone through them all so I had to go with Nancy Drew. So that was number nine they read the books they download, so they aren’t just holding. They aren’t digitally holding which is important.
Sean: Yeah I admit that that’s surprises me because like I’m a buyer. Like I buy a lot of books…
Dave: I think they might be [inaudible] [00:10:48].
Johnny: It was said most of those surveyed, so it could be 51%.
Sean: Yeah I do like I buy way more than I read. And I would assume that a lot of bargain buyers are the same because it looks good. Oh I want that oh I want that but then tomorrow they want something else and you just can’t read everything that you download. So that one surprised me a little bit.
Dave: I know I check the Kindle Daily Deal like every single day. So I know I’m not alone there.
Johnny: Is that the only site you check every single day?
Dave: The only one and I don’t go to any other website every single day.
Sean: Dave how often do you buy a Daily Deal?
Dave: I assume maybe twice a week maybe, maybe more…
Johnny: If you buy it often enough they’ll feature you, that’s the way that works.
Sean: Wait Dave, Dave how often do you buy the non-fiction stuff or do you buy fiction stuff on daily deal too?
Dave: I buy both. And how often do I read fiction…
Sean: But you never read Fiction.
Dave: I want to though I have the best of intent like I know I want to get to the book, like there is that super hero book I got, I want to read them but…
Sean: But that’s exactly my point.
Johnny: If there was a neutral bullet on daily deal would you buy that or a treadmill?
Sean: That’s exactly my point, I think that there is got to be a lot of people who just buy it because it’s the daily– I mean I’m guilty of that. I do that.
Dave: Oh yeah?
Sean: So that number just– that most people that surprises me a little bit. That’s all.
Johnny: They become loyal fans and the statistics is it says over 60% of the readers– this is a massive survey they did. Over 60% of readers we surveyed so they purchased other books by an author they discovered through an EBook price promotion.
Sean: And every one of us should love that. That’s awesome! It can’t– that you have the possibility to not just be a one and done but to make an impact on a reader and have them go seek out more in your catalog. That’s great news for all of us.
Johnny: Especially if you are doing a promo with a book that maybe kind of hurts a little bit to discount it, because then you realize you’re getting more bang out of your back. It means that they’ll keep going.
Dave: Yeah you did networks Fat Vampire and you were like basically giving away the store and you were a bit nervous about that, but then it helped push the book for sales, right?
Johnny: Right. Well it also makes me wonder about something like when Ed Robertson did his complete Fantasy series. It makes me wonder if there is– I mean and we don’t know. We don’t know if these statistics– but if he’s giving away the whole series– like the Fat Vampire bundle I had books 5 and 6 they could continue in the same series. But maybe that means that you could you know like now you know Ed Robertson and maybe now you try Breakers instead of the Fantasy series, I don’t know.
Sean: And again I think that’s a really good like that’s the Write Publish Repeat model, right? You need that catalog. You need that inventory because then you don’t have to re-practice. I’m going to give this book away as a bargain because I want– you know even with only 5%. But that’s still 5% of that reader that you can you know move over to a wider catalog. And you know it doesn’t make sense to say you have a promo coming up, update your CTA. You know if you are going to get in front of a lot of extra eyes make sure that your updating your back matter to you know it’s the book that you are putting on sales, like you are less precious about putting that on sale because now its three years old say. And that means there is a good chance for most Indie authors you haven’t updated that back matter in three years.
So you really want to update it so that you can take advantage not just of sales but of hopefully conversions. You know put a new CTA that gets people either on to your list or pushes them to a book that the same reader of that book is likely to enjoy. And that’s how you are going to get the most out of those bargain books Ads.
Johnny: Last one is they recommend book’s they like. And it says almost ⅔ of those we surveyed said they’d recommend a bargain book to a friend. So that’s good too. It says they are influencers just the way they interpret that.
Sean: Yeah this was really good news I think in general. All 11 of these things are things that work for us if we understand them.
Johnny: What was that Dave?
Dave: I said other people have friends, I don’t believe this survey.
Johnny: That’s the f word people keep talking about.
Dave: That’s the– oh wow!
Johnny: I do have an update on the colonist session that they were going to be holding that’s our In-Person event just because people have asked. We had a few more registrations. I think we have a dozen spots left now something like that. So that’s great more people hop on onboard and they are going to join Sean and I in Austin in April 18th and 19th which is going to be great. The page for that if you are curious is and the Early Bird registration which is 25% off ends on the 28th of January 2015, I believe in case you are listening six years from now. I think that’s right and…
Sean: Sorry you missed it. It was awesome…
Johnny: But there was a discussion in slack right before hand that was distracting Sean and I from getting any work done. Well Dave was hopped in their too with one suggestion which I thought was great.
Sean: He suggested we all eat at Johnny Carinos.
Dave: I was slack down…
Johnny: And where we were going to go.
Sean: I slacked seriously today, slack owned me. I got so little work done it was terrible.
Dave: Yeah bitch slacked.
Sean: I did get bitch slacked, it was terrible.
Johnny: So I don’t know if there is more to say on that but oh and we are going to be doing a Q&A. If you didn’t get the email I don’t know if I can just give it out because I don’t know if it’s readable link. But Amy sent out an email today we are going to be doing a Q&A for anybody who is thinking and just has questions about it. But it’s a– you have to look for the email I guess. Send Amy an email [email protected] if you didn’t get it.
Sean: Yeah that’s what I was going to say.
Dave: [inaudible] [00:16:50]
Johnny: What was that Dave?
Dave: We had some comments, I can wait.
Johnny: No go ahead that’s it.
Dave: Ryan Attard says, two minutes in Dave we’re all going to die. Yeah, I’m at the right show.
Johnny: Yeah I missed that.
Dave: James Thorn, blow it up. Jacob Tullos writes, I read at work, oh wait Sean don’t read this. Amy says, at my old job there would literally be entire days when no work came in and I can read a novel, not only read a novel but paste circles around the office while reading.
Sean: Men, that sounds awesome.
Dave: I used to have a job like that. Monica Leonelle says, why does Dave buy the daily deal? You never read books! This is a Nutra Bullet all over again.
Johnny: There you go.
Sean: It really is. It’s so spectacular he is like doing three times a week. Did you buy The Covenant Hobbes that went on sale a couple of weeks ago?
Dave: Yes I did actually. Even though I have it in– well I wanted to see how it looked in the eBook. Plus you know I want my son to read it and I don’t want to give him my books because…
Sean: How many of them did you get?
Dave: Just one just one. I was actually going to go back and get more but I just got the one.
Sean: I actually got all of them but I got them for Hailey as her early birthday present and just sent them Kindle but I thought that would be cool.
Dave: I’ll say that they are kind of– I was disappointed how they look on the Kindle fire I think they look better on a larger tablet. They don’t expand which really sucks. That is very disappointing to me.
Sean: Yeah I saw a lot of one star reviews mention about that.
Dave: Yeah.
Sean: It sounded like you mentioned about food in Ohio though.
Dave: Especially Covenant Hobbes because you want to see the art you know nice and up-close. It’s fucking Covenant Hobbes and what do they do? They shrink it down to a post; it’s a shame but whatever.
Sean: Bustards.
Johnny: Bustards, all right so I don’t have any real updates other than to say that we continue to optimize. That being the optimal the word of the year and Holy shit is optimizing a big task. I’m having to iteratively optimize so combining last two because it’s like…
Sean: You are giving Dave a headache.
Johnny: And it hurts too because I’ll be like I’m just realizing how poor conversion wise a lot of our product descriptions are. So if I can’t show you this because I don’t have the before, but the product description for Future of Sex Lexi title which is basically Sean and me with Lexi making it filthy is I rewrote that. And the original was just– it was a weird thing like I went to the side note– what was that Dave?
Dave: Fuck, fuck more fuck.
Johnny: I went and I originally said wow this so is not– it was like a light ball [inaudible] [00:19:38]. Like I knew it was there I knew how that description was and I read the description and I said, “Wow this is not compelling.” Like I know the story; I know it’s great but when I read that description I was like wow this does not make me want to read it. And Monica actually gave us a– gave me a great compliment via slack, she’s like, oh no it is a Hangout. She was like oh like I just happened to notice that, I kind of want to read that now.
I had decided I was not going to read it, and it’s like there you go. So I think you need to look at your stuff with new eyes. But when you have as much stuff as we do I keep thinking, okay well I got to do Axis and I got to do this and I got to do that. And that doesn’t include all this…
Sean: Yeah we’ve just scratched the surface on the stuff. But it really does make a difference. And when you are doing product descriptions it’s almost like you can’t think of it. If you are a fiction writer you are probably in love with your story. And you are probably going to make it about your story and it’s really not that. A product description really should be more like copyrighting than fiction writing.
You are not telling the story you are selling a product. And I know it hurts story tellers to think in that way because you want your story to be so magical that people will just buy it. But it’s not, there is so much wiz bang going around on Amazon page or any eBook page. You know there is a lot of images, there is a lot of copy and if you don’t grab that attention right away it’s very hard to capture the sales especially if somebody doesn’t even know you. So you got to think about your product description as copy.
Johnny: And another thing you’ll see on that Future of Sex page is a new cover. So we did– that was one of those covers that really stymied us. And so now the cover is I think a really magnetic cover, we are also going to be having Donovan, what’s his last name?
Sean: Shea.
Johnny: Shea on the show. He did the adult Video cover which was giving us so much trouble to. And that’s another title where I’m looking forward to putting some promo behind that because it’s like the cover now represents what it is, so just things to consider. I’d like to read an email I’ve got if that’s okay with you guys I printed it out. So it’s a fan mail to us. What?
Dave: Frozen.
Johnny: Oh frozen then okay so it’s some fan mail. It says, dear Johnny, Sean, and Dave, thank you for the self publishing podcast. I’m a poor child from a poor village where we can only get broadband on certain days of the week. My biggest problem here is clean water and in the inability to get good book covers. What would you recommend? Do you have any recommendations? So what do you think? I wrote back and I said there is nothing we can do.
Dave: What? You left that poor person stranded without any help whatsoever?
Johnny: Well I told him where he could find some clean water but I said that in book covers there is nothing you can do.
Dave: Who cares about water no-no…
Sean: You are terrible people.
Dave: The book cover is what is important.
Johnny: Do you know that a lot of the world lives each a day without quality book cover design?
Dave: Wow if you just start playing a ceramic Lockwood [ph] song I think I’m going to cry.
Johnny: So what would you do?
Dave: What would I do, I would tell them to go to that’s what the hell I would do.
Johnny: Well if I would have known that, if you’d had bothered to tell me before I could have given this advice.
Dave: Okay, if you happen to be tuning in poor person in the village with…
Johnny: He only gets broadband on certain days of the week.
Dave: You poor bustard you. Okay where you want to go is They have lots of designers competing to give you the best book cover possible. A book cover that is so damned awesome that you won’t even care that you are dying of thirst.
Sean: Wow.
Dave: Because you know that book cover is for. The book cover is better than sustaining.
Johnny: So how would you– how did the contest work Dave? How do they– because this is new news, how would you get that great cover?
Sean: I’m embarrassed to know you guys.
Dave: Well first of all you go to you get your power pack up grade. So you get the best contest going and then you write that– you enter and you tell the designers what your book is about. You might give them some other ideas maybe some pictures, maybe examples of other book covers that you want to look like because you want your book to look like it belongs in a book store not you know not in a hut or wherever you are.
So then you’ll have lots of designers competing to give you the best cover possible. And you just pick and choose among them. And I know money is a real concern if you are living in a hut and you don’t have water or anything. So here is the best part with 99Designs you have absolutely nothing to lose if you don’t like the cover…
Johnny: Nothing to lose.
Dave: [inaudible] [00:24:41] you don’t have pay for it.
Johnny: Start your custom design today at and use that link to get the free power pack up grade which if you don’t use it really there is something wrong with you. So there you go…
Dave: You deserve to live in a hut.
Johnny: Dave taking it way too far I love it love it. All right so I would like to welcome our guest Nick Stephenson who has joined us during the terrible ad read. How are you Nick?
Nick: That was perfect timing I think I just jumped right in there [crosstalk] [00:25:15]. Your timing is amazing.
Sean: I think that’s for Dave, Dave? Will you be able to make this with the accent?
Dave: I don’t know, Nick has a dumb sexy accent.
Nick: Thank you. So do you.
Johnny: So this is kind of fun. I contacted Nick originally after talking to Jay but because Jay introduced us; Jay Thorne. And then I kind of– it was the holidays and like I kind of forgot about the email. And then I was searching around looking for books. And I read a bunch; I read Simon’s audio book for Indies, audio books for Indies. I read a few others and I read Nick’s, and it took me a while like I was halfway in the book before I said, “Oh wait a minute this name ringing a bell.” Like isn’t this the guy that I was already communicating with.
And I’ve since become a Nick Stephenson’s fan, like I listen to him on a Rocking Self Publishing. I subscribe to his email on autoresponder series for like Kindle tips and stuff and told Sean to do the same. And I haven’t gotten around to watching the videos yet. But you are a wealth of information Nick and I’m glad to have you on the show.
Nick: Thank you very much.
Johnny: So what is your– give everybody your fiction background. So I mean you are on here as a nonfiction author, but your primary business is fiction.
Nick: Yeah I’m all over the place really. So I started writing a couple of years ago. No not at all you strike me as extremely organized. I like it it’s the style I’m going for as well. Now I started writing a couple of years ago and I think I never really expected all that much to happen. And like with most authors I think just starting out then almost nothing happens for like a year. And then slowly over time you sort of figure out what works what doesn’t work. And then I really just focus on you know focusing on the stuff that actually does get results.
So as well as writing books and I think I put out something like eight books in the last couple of years which you know isn’t particularly impressive from a lot of self publishing standards. But you know I was working a full time job over the time, had a young kid, and really just focused on writing as much as I possibly could. So I write the Leopold Blake mystery thriller series. And if anyone is watching this live certainly go check it out on Amazon books. I’ve just had a book [inaudible] [00:27:30] so I want to look really impressive to everybody on the show. And yeah it all kicked off from there really.
So I got into the nonfiction side of stuff just by kind of figuring out what works with book marketing and then just sharing it with everyone else really. So I’m glad that you heard of me, it’s always good.
Johnny: Yeah I have and I feel like I could ask you a ton of questions but I’ll just say that this is part one of the larger body of Nick Stephenson related interview stuff and you should listen to the Rocking Self Publishing Podcast interview as well. Just a note of a rub it on I wanted to talk to you mainly today about email list growth because I think that’s the one thing that’s a consistent– that’s one thing that is consistent.
Like if you are using Kindle Unlimited and you are trying to get borrows and you are not everywhere then that mitigates the risk because you have an email list and you can tell people to go somewhere else. If you are everywhere and you are gathering people a few times you have an asset that’s your email list that you can take and it’s portable. And that was one of the things that Jay said right away is you got to talk to Nick because he was blowing up his email list. So is that a good place to go?
Nick: Yeah I mean I think that’s pretty much what I’ve been focusing on for the last year or so is just focusing on building email subscribers. And just like you said you can rely on you know it’s like Amazon and to illustrate then I think Apple Podcasts and Kobo and Nook as well. But if you really want to have a long term career you need that platform. And you know Facebook is great, Twitter is great but as we’ve seen I think in the last month or so you know these guys change the rules all the time.
So where once you might have got a good reach on Facebook maybe today it’s not so great. So if you have email that’s something that you can control it’s a line of communication that you own, and no one can take it away from you. So if you– you know worst case scenario if you want to change retailers you can do. Or if you just want to boost sales on Amazon or your favorite eBook retailer then you can do that as well.
You know it’s great for getting reviews and for building actual engagement with readers. Which I think is the main thing because I think a lot of authors’ kind of work in isolation. And they kind of they write the stories they published them, and you know don’t always get a chance to interact with their readers because you know Amazon is selling all the books for them. So they don’t really get that kind of interaction. So building an email list is a great way to hear from readers and find out what they really think and hopefully it’s good things. And it’s actually a fantastic way to build your audience, you can’t beat it.
Sean: What do you do to keep open rates open like I mean we could talk about ways to build the list because that’s really important.
Nick: Yeah.
Sean: But I think that getting people on the list is easy enough. It’s straightforward enough, but holding their attention I think it’s super-super hard. And making sure that they open your emails, they click on your links and they don’t you know toss your emails or report you a spam. That’s kind of the gozer.
Nick: Yeah it’s just I don’t sound spammy I guess is the best advice. I mean I subscribe to a lot of mailing lists sometimes on purpose. And you know you can tell when an email comes through you know you can tell, is this email trying to pitch me something or is this email trying to give me something. So I think I always try and phrase my emails in a way that makes it very clear what’s in it for my readers. So it doesn’t matter what’s in it for me because that’s not important as what is it in for the readers.
And you know hopefully most of the time what’s in it for the readers is also good for me as well. So we have this kind of common interest. So I think subject lines are important and that’s the first thing anyone is going to see. So if you are trying to phrase something in a way that’s emphasizing that you want something from someone chances are they are not going to open it. But if you are trying to be more genuine and you are trying to kind of entice people in with what’s in it for them that tends to be a lot more effective.
So I know simply examples like you know you could use open, you could use subject lines that have a question, you could you know phrase a problem. You could just really identify with maybe your audiences. And you know I could give you a dozen examples. But it all depends entirely on who your audiences as to what they are going to find interesting.
[Crosstalk] [00:32:02]
Dave: Please, please buy my book.
Nick: Yeah buy my book.
Sean: I’ve seen your nonfiction emails. I’m subscribed to that list and its great stuff. Good subject lines, good emails. But I’m curious I’m not subscribed to your fiction list which I should because I’d love to see that. But I think that that’s a harder nut to crack because nonfiction you know you are solving a problem. Like it’s just so much more straight forward, but I think with– and holding their attention too. I know you have a whole autoresponder sequence and you know you can kind of drip out solutions to the same problem that people aren’t going to maintain an interest because their problems are going away.
But with a fiction book even if you have characters that are recurring and people like that, how do you maintain interest between you know book 1 and that– like there is going to be months before you are releasing another book. So how do you kind of keep that fire warm in between that time for a fiction audience?
Nick: Yeah I try to email twice a month you know even if I’ve not got a launch or a promotion coming up. I try to email frequently so that people don’t forget who I am because I think if you get an email out of the blue from someone six months down the line you know there is a risk that they might forget who you are and just automatically send you to the spam bin. So what I do is I talk about other author’s work as well in the same genre. So I figure you know like you said with fiction it’s a very specific problem that you are trying to fix. So it’s quite easy to be tagged with your emails.
But if you take the same sort of thinking with fiction you know the common problem or the common issue with fiction readers is they want something good to read. So if I’m emailing out in a particular week and I don’t have anything of mine that I want to you know tell them about. I’ll talk about another author who writes in the same genre and I’ll say I like this author, I’ve read this guys books it’s quite similar to mine and it’s only 99 cents on Amazon or on Nook, so if you like my book you should probably like this guy as well go, check it out. And then more importantly I ask them to email me back and tell me what they thought of the book.
Sean: That’s so smart.
Nick: And I ask my readers the first email I send out and this is an automatic one when they sign up is you know thank you for signing up yadi yadi yada his details. And then in bold at the bottom I say have you read anything good lately? Let me know and I’ll see if I can pick up the book and read it. And I get responses from people saying you know I loved your book Nick and I also love this author. In which case I go check out that author and you know maybe pick up one of their books and try and read it. And then we can have a discussion as a community. And I think that’s you know encouraging engagement and that makes a big difference.
Sean: I love that and we just unpack that a little bit. There is so much that is right about that because you’re showing them that you are a real person on the other side of the email which is really important. You are learning who they are which is really important. You are saying that you don’t just care about yourself, you care about their interest, and you are promoting other authors which is really important. And you are also training them to click links.
You know you are saying, hey there is this other book but it’s not mine, I’m not making any money on this and it’s 99 cents because it’s a good deal, but then when you are a good deal comes along too it’s a natural part of the flow, like every part of that works.
Nick: Exactly it’s not even– it sounds a bit machiavellian like you know I have this all planned out from the start, that I’m going to get people to trust me, but you know it’s a genuine thing. And I think people can really tell if you are being genuine. So you know I do care about what readers think and what they enjoy. Not just to help me as a business person but to you know actually get to know them as well. So that’s really important to come across as genuine and to find out more about your readers it can make a big difference definitely.
Johnny: Do you know what statistic Jay– or do you know what statistic Jay might have given me for list growth that you had in a period of time? I don’t remember it off the top of my head but he said, well Nick added these many people. He is adding these many people a month just to get people enrolled.
Nick: Yeah it was 15,000 in six months which was absolutely insane.
Sean: That’s fantastic.
Nick: And this was because all I was doing was focusing on building my email list and literally nothing else. Everything I did was– my aim is to get people onto my mailing list. Because at the time you know this was a fairly new thing for me. I wanted to make sure it was worth going with. And it started off pretty well and I thought focus on this and then I’ll have a platform. So that’s what I did. And six months later those 15000 people signed up and you know we were getting lots of engagement and lots of responses back in it.
You know it actually feels like now I’ve built this community up for fiction and nonfiction as well which is great. And hopefully there are some guys from non-fiction list watching the video as well. I did send out the right link.
Johnny: Yeah originally I sent…
Nick: Holding no uncertain terms not to send out the original link. So…
Johnny: Well I originally sent Nick one link and it just didn’t occur to me until Dave said something that he might invite his entire email list to join the podcast which would have been fun. So big picture question, how did you do it? So how would you break that down? And I’ll just preface this to by saying one of the things that I like about your approach is displayed in how to Supercharge Your Kindle Sales and everything else. It’s I can tell you are an optimizer and that’s like our buzz word right now. Like how can I make this a little bit better? So how did you do it?
Nick: Well you know you’ve got to throw the word iterative [inaudible] [00:37:42] at some point. But it was basically you know it was not doing anything particularly ground breaking. I mean this concept has been around for years in the general sort of internet marketing arena. And I think a lot of authors forget that we are selling eBooks online. We are internet marketers of sorts, it doesn’t mean we’re sending that much email.
Johnny: You hear that Dave?
Sean: Dave has got chills.
Nick: With all the internet marketers is a 30 word but we are…
Dave: Hold on I’m going to slit my wrist.
Nick: It’s like a– we can come with a new term it doesn’t matter. But the idea is that you know if you can get people onto your email list it’s a good thing, and I think everyone agrees with that. And one of the concepts that’s been going around for a long time is you will get more people signing up to your list if you offer them some kind of incentive. So I thought you know I’ll take this to the extreme and I’ll say you know I’ll give you an entire free book if you sign up to my email list. And I immediately saw a big increase in sign ups. And this was the year about when I was getting like three or four sign ups a month.
So it was a big increase but it wasn’t that great. And then I figured you know that the light ball clicks and then you realize what actually all you need now is more traffic because the process of them signing up is pretty good. You just need more people to see the page. So that brought me onto making the first book in the series, Pamafree [ph] which as you probably know doesn’t get you any money but it gets you a ton more downloads than you would do if it was a paid book.
So I was kind of sacrificing potential sales in return for email addresses because knew that later on down the line I would have the opportunity to sell to them in the future. And that was more important than today. So that’s all I did I made one book pamafree and I said if you sign up to my mailing list I’ll give you the second book for free as well or you can go buy it at full price is the links. And that got people signing up in droves. When you are kind of accompany that with Book Pub promotion or any other advertiser then you can really-really rump that up very quickly.
Johnny: What I like about this and first of all the idea of giving away a sign up incentive isn’t going to be new to listeners here, but the way that you are doing it is a little bit different. So your primary the first book in your series is Pamafree and then you are sending traffic through it through like Book Pub ads for a Pamafree one. And then it’s the second book in that series that you are receiving which for me sounds like more compelling than just any book free because they just got this book and ideally they finished it.
But then you also do a thing with your sign up list where I mean I don’t know if you are still doing this. You actually suggest putting it in the front as well as in the back. Do you still doing that?
Nick: Yeah I am still doing that because I think you know not everybody reads right to the end of the back matter. But most people will see the front matter at some point. So if you got them in the front and the back you’re kind of covering both bases. And I also mention in the product description as well. So I’m mentioning it a lot. So when people first get to the sales page they see a little headline that says, oh you can get the next book free when you sign up to my mailing list. Then they see an ad in front of the book says you can get the next book free when you sign up to my mailing list.
Then they read the book and then they see the advert again at the back. And by which point they are kind of convinced hopefully. That’s what the number shows anyway. So I found doing that really did increase sign ups considerably.
Johnny: So how did…
Dave: That’s…
Johnny: Go ahead.
Dave: That’s a good point. It’s a good point and it’s something I hadn’t really thought of before but I had noticed as a reader a lot of times when I’m reading a book, like the minute I get to the last page of the book’s content itself on Kindle Fire Amazon sends me right to the website and asks me to leave a review.
Nick: Yeah.
Dave: They don’t– I don’t get to that back matter. So unless I physically go and like think to look for that call to action whatever else is left and a lot of times I will because I want to see how other writers do it. But I think a lot of people probably don’t. They just go to that Amazon thing and either they leave a review or they leave and they go to the next book. So a lot of people might not even see or call action at the back of a book.
Johnny: Well I got a question about that Dave because I thought that the leave a review the before you go thing that you are talking about I thought that was– for me every book I’ve found that’s like literally you can’t go any further. There is nothing left in the book. You are saying you are seeing it the last pages of the menus, I’ve never seen that.
Sean: Yeah I’ve never seen that either. For me it triggers on the very-very last like when you are at 100% it triggers.
Dave: No it doesn’t some books I don’t know if…
Johnny: Have you checked ours?
Dave: Exactly what books I could check ours at some point?
Johnny: That’s interesting because I know that front matter is handled differently. So on most devices if not all devices the book will start at the first page of the actual manuscript when a person opens it up. And if you wanted to go back and see the table of contents or whatever you actually flip back in the book it doesn’t start there. And so if we have something we really want people to see I always say put it at the beginning of the actual manuscript. This is script no talk by the way, the first– because otherwise they won’t see it.
Now I’m wondering how to square your advice with something else I’ve read and just what kind of makes sense to me. I tend to come in more on your side which is the advice to not put too much front matter in because you want people to get through the sample without extra stuff or every click before they get to reading is a click where you potentially might lose the sale. Have you tested any of that?
Nick: Well all I know is that when I put the advert in the front of the book my sign ups increased. I think it’s a good point about having too much front matter. Definitely you know I don’t want to be scrolling through fifty pages of stuff. But literally what I’ve got is the cover, the contents, the book description. I always put the book description incase people forget what the book is all about and come back to it later. And then it’s the advert and then the book starts. So it was like four pages. So if you are on the look inside on Amazon it’s like half a scroll is like nothing. I mean you still got a good chunk of preview to read if you want.
But You know I do see some books and I think that traditional publishing guys are a lot more guilty of this than the Indies is like listing all of the accolades and all of the editorial reviews and just every possible thing you can think of before you actually get to chapter one. And that annoys me. But they do it in the product description as well. You know you have to click read more to find what the actual book is about and you are scrolling all the way down and everything is quadruple spaced and I kind of digressed. Yeah I haven’t seen any negative impact for putting in the front. You know I’ve only seen good things.
Dave: Yeah as Johnny asked the question I just looked at one of our books. I have the Kindle Paper white with me right now, and that handles– it seems to handle a little bit differently where that is the last thing I see before you go. Kindle Fire however it does what I– I don’t know if it does it for all books and I’ll go back and check. I’m charging the Kindle Fire right now so I’ll need to check.
Johnny: Okay well that’s good to know. That’s the sort of thing I wouldn’t necessarily know. Something else I wanted to ask you Nick is, I forget I don’t remember the details here so you can feel in this in for me. But you tested different landing pages I believe for your email sign up and…
Nick: Yeah.
Johnny: To the point where I don’t know if you are still using the plugin where you have to click before you actually see the sign up form and that increased conversions. Can you talk about that?
Nick: Yeah and if you are watching this, it might turn a little bit dry but the outcome is you get more subscribers. So it’s a small tweak that you can make. And when you’re dealing with Pamafree and you are looking at potentially thousands of downloads a small tweak can make a really big difference. And what Johnny is talking about is the landing page. So the first page that readers see when they click my sign up link has to be as focused as possible. So it’s a completely blank page and all it’s got on there is an image of the book. A short blub and then at the bottom that says give me my free book.
And I’ve been testing out a couple of different pages. The first page I tested out was instead of a button there was a email box that people could just type their email address and then they get their free book. And the second test was instead of just entering the email address they had to click a button first. And I found that by clicking the button first sign ups increase by about 50%.
Sean: Wow.
Nick: And it was so crazy because you having an extra step. So you’d think it would make it worse but looking into it deeper and the psychology behind it is essentially when you land on a web page. And the first thing you see is somebody asking for your email address you go on the defensive is seen as people are asking you to give them something.
But if you see a button that ask you to click it if you want something and then you do click it you are asking them you are asking that page to let you give them the email address. And it’s a weird thing but it works really well. So I’ve been testing out a couple of different varieties of that and found the best combination is having the button where people click it then they enter their email address. And yeah you can use a pop up life box if you want or you can just link it straight to MailChimp or Aweber or whatever you use. It tends to work pretty well either way.
Johnny: Was there a– there was a specific plugin I think you mentioned on RSP is that still what you’d suggest?
Nick: Yeah I mean I was using it’s a plugin called opt-in links which was basically like a $25 plugin for word press, and it was very focused. It just installed a little orange button. And when you click the button this light box came up and integrated with your mailing list provider and it would put people into your mailing list and it was great. And then I changed my website theme, added some new plugins and everything became incompatible.
So I’ve moved on a bit since then, so I’m using something called Optimizepress at the moment which is sort of like lead pages except it installs into your word press so you kind of you host the page. So you get a bit more control over it. And that’s working just as well. So there is a few options and you know the DIY method is just put an image of the button and then link that image to your MailChimp or your Aweber sign up form on a separate page. And that could work just as well.
Johnny: I feel like our sign up pages are maybe not optimized like that. I think it might be a little too cluttered. I think we need more landing page format.
Sean: Yeah totally.
Johnny: And I remember shooting this to Sean so I think it was from your book or something. We can’t use word press plugins for us personally because we are on The Rainmaker platform. But if it– we’ll use a JavaScript; it will accept JavaScript. And so that I believe would still work but for anyone else you can just use the plugin if you wanted.
Nick: Yeah or lead pages is pretty good as well. I mean I haven’t signed up with those guys but they host it for you. So if you have any website…
Sean: Lead Pages is fantastic. I can’t recommend them enough except the price. I know a lot of [crosstalk] [00:49:01] yeah. A lot of authors are back at the price. But if it’s doing its job then you are talking about that you know many names on the list. They can really help you move books. So I think it’s worth it if you actually have you know business and you have a catalog. If you only have one book you know the lead pages per month probably not.
But you know I mean it itches out, it is good because you could do a lot of the stuff that Nick’s talking about split testing and landing pages and they’ve pages got templates and it’s very easy to use and it integrates with all the email software programs. So it’s worth looking into but it is expensive.
Johnny: I’m concerned because this is one more thing I feel I need to optimize. It’s like we need more emails. Everybody needs more emails and that’s just one more thing to optimize.
Sean: Yeah we need to get our sequence done and then optimize.
Nick: Wait Sean, how big is your autoresponder that you are doing right now?
Sean: Its 60 parts.
Nick: Nice.
Sean: And I can’t wait till it’s done just because it’s so the monkey on my back right now. And once that one is done we could do other ones. Like one specifically for Smart Artist and Realm & Sands and Collective Inkwell, but right now we have the big master one that needs to be done and yeah it’s 60 parts. And it’s a bit unwieldy and yeah 60 parts.
Johnny: Nick I don’t know if you’d be willing to share this but if you added 15– I’m curious if you’d give your email like how many people are on it and what kind of conversions you are seeing if you launch a new book and you send out because the power of a list is huge if you have a good click through rate. But I don’t know if you want to share that.
Nick: Yeah absolutely. I mean I’ve got something I’ve got like close to a dozen different lists at the moment. And the key is keeping the open rates and click rates high like you said. And I have found for fiction it’s a bit lower because you know as we said earlier with nonfiction you are solving a very particular problem. And people I think when they read your email they know instinctively yes this is for me I’m going to go check it out. With fiction it’s a bit more difficult but you know I tend to aim for you know around 45, 50% open rate. And then 15%ish click rate is pretty standard on my fiction list.
And for nonfiction, for one of my lists actually it’s about 70% open rate, 40% click rate in some cases. This is fantastic. So you can be a lot more effective with nonfiction because you are really narrowing down what people are looking for. But then you don’t have the volume. So my non-fiction lists are a lot smaller than my fiction list. So it can balance out a little bit. Certainly I mean a lot of the internet marketers are looking at sort of 2% click rates which is just rubbish. So you know anything above 10% is fantastic if you can get to that point.
Johnny: But bottom line if you were to launch a new book tomorrow what kind of buys do you think you would get. Like how many copies do you think you would move with your email list?
Nick: It’s hard to tell. I haven’t launched a book since August because I’ve been really lazy. But I did run a promotion on an existing book which is actually the first book in my series. I did that back in November. And I emailed my list and I said you know can you help me out and grab a copy because I’m trying you know to get as many copies as possible. And I think I sold something like 700 books in just about 24 hours.
And that was a book everyone had read [inaudible] [00:52:39] as well. And a lot of people were emailing me back saying, you know I picked up a second copy at Nook or I picked up a second copy Amazon because I really love your books. And that’s what blew me away. But you know I think the last book I launched it launched it was something like number 800…
Johnny: Is that an active price at 99 cents when you launched or do you do a full price?
Nick: No that was 3.99, so that was full price.
Johnny: Yeah because the thing that you are talking about you just need more traffic is the same way I feel about email list every time I think about it. It is like because you are above us in email list territory. Like we can sell a few hundred copies of a new fiction book with the email list not generally a problem depending on the book. But like you just more people on email list more initial push like you don’t need a Book Pub. You are your own Book Pub. And you don’t have to discount.
Nick: Essentially yeah and it’s having that sort of back up because I think if you are relying on a lot of authors I think they rely on Amazon for most of their sales. They rely on Book Pub for most of their advertizing. And if you take those two things away you know [inaudible] [00:53:50] and if you are building that email list up as much as you possibly can then you know you only have to rely on yourself and it just makes life a lot easier I think in the long run.
But yeah you know the more people you’ve got the more likely you are to sell a ton of copies on launch day, get a ton of reviews on launch day. And you can get into you know the top rated categories, the hot new releases and then Amazon and the other stores are going to take you from there. So yeah it’s extremely effective.
Dave: So the book that you just said in August the one that you just did you said you moved 800 or so? Was that a free book or was that a book that was the one that was 3.99?
Nick: So that was a book called Panic, and that was the first book I ever wrote. And you know I think the majority of my email list had read it already. But I was running a promotion. I wanted to just see how many downloads we could get and you know this was at 99cents. So it was never going to be a big money made, but it was an experiment. And I said to people you know I’m running this experiment I’d love to see how many you know how high we could get in the rankings as a community.
You know let the readers choose the next best seller. Let’s get all on the same teams and see how high we could push this book. So I said you know buy Panic for 99cents at Amazon or Nook so I focused on those two sites. And if you’ve already bought a copy please consider picking up a second copy from a different site. And then you know 7 or 800 copies were sold over that 24 hour period. And this was from most different people who already owned a copy. And that was just absolutely fantastic. So…
Dave: What was your subject line for that email because before you said you know on your subject line you want to be offering something not asking for something. But this sounds like an asking though. So how did you get people to open that and go along with it?
Nick: Occasionally I will ask I think you know I try the majority of my emails are what I can give you. And every now and again I will ask them to do something for me as well. I think the key is to phrase it in a way that makes it about them. So yes I’d like them to buy the book obviously and I think that’s clear. I think anyone you know getting my emails knows that I would love it if you bought my books. So the way we talk about it is you know it is us as a community, as readers; should readers be the ones who decide who the best sellers are. You know readers should be able to vote with their wallets. And let’s work together as a team and see how far we could go. And you know…
Sean: I think there’s, I’m sorry I’m sorry go ahead.
Nick: No I was just going to say I you know that I made the commitment to email back each and every person who bought a copy as well as a personal thank you.
Sean: I bet that was fun.
Nick: It was a good 12 hours of emailing everybody individually back in there but it was great. It was a really nice feeling, so yeah fantastic.
Sean: I think there [inaudible] [00:56:42] there Dave.
Nick: Yeah.
Sean: I think you can get away with an ask if you are giving, giving, giving, giving, and then you ask like that’s natural. That’s fine it’s the people who churn through their list, it’s churn and burn. You know they just hammer buy, buy, buy, buy, buy, you get spam you know unsubscribe and those people deserve for their list to whether or nothing. But I think if you are giving and you are giving and then you ask it’s surprising how willing people are to step up.
Nick: Absolutely.
Johnny: One of the things I was remembering I wanted to ask you about is exclusivity. So one of the things I haven’t gotten to yet was the idea of how much better you did non-exclusive than exclusive? And we hear a mix and we experiment with the mix personally of people who are doing great because their eggs are all in one basket and they are doing they’re milking select and whatever else. And then there are people who are like us in general we want to be everywhere. And so I was curious to read that piece can you summarize what you learnt about going off exclusivity?
Nick: Yeah I think that the headline is exclusivity is fine if you are getting something in return for it. And this is a blog post I think you are referring to. And in the blog post I was sort of referencing a hypothetical conversation between a serial manufacturer and Wal-Mart. Where Wal-Mart says, “Hey, can you be exclusive and we’ll pay you less?” It just doesn’t just make any sense, but if you are getting some intangible benefits out of it then it makes total sense. And for some authors you know being in KDP Select is an absolute gold mine. But for the– I think the vast majority of authors it’s not necessarily the best way to go.
And you know I’ve spoken to some authors who are KDP Select all the way. And there you know top 100 authors they get the KDP all stars bonus. You know they are getting publishing deals and all kinds of stuff. And that’s fantastic. But most people won’t get that. And I think we only look at the outliers and the people who do amazingly well we hear about them. But for 99% of people my gut tells me that exclusivity makes no sense.
To me I was you know I was doing well with books sales but my income was 90% Amazon. And this kind of worried me. Not immediate kind of ‘oh my God the world is going to end tomorrow’ kind of thing. But you know in five years time what’s this going to do to me.
Sean: We call that Dave style.
Nick: Dave style? So I thought you know let’s reduce that reliance on Amazon because Amazon could change algorithms. They could introduce some kind of crazy subscription systems that might you know cause all kinds of problems who knows.
Dave: They would never do that.
Nick: They would never do that but I just wanted to kind of hitch my bets. So I took titles out of KDP Select kind of month by month just to make sure that nothing crushed through the floor. And then six months later you know sales are up overall by about 10, 15% and now Amazon is only about 55% of my income and for books sales. So I’ve lessened that reliance and actually made slightly more money but not enough money to get really excited about though. The stuff to get excited about is [crosstalk] [00:59:57]
Sean: To me that’s a true success story.
Johnny: That’s a real win. I would say neutral as a success story. But if you are making more then it’s a definite win.
Sean: Yeah that’s really-really great. And I love how you know percentages on everything. You are really tracking this stuff…
Nick: Because I post everything on my blog. Because I like to face, it’s kind of like accountability in a way. And if I do something wrong I get to admit it. And if I do something right everyone could learn from it. So I put all the graphs and charts up there. So I think I’m remembering right. It’s all on the site somewhere.
Johnny: And the site is?
Nick: It’s which is my blog. I have another site as well which is more dedicated to sort of author training, which we can talk about if you like but…
Johnny: I love how modest you are. You need to tell where the site is though like how do you spell Noorosha, or what is the author training site?
Nick: I’ll use this fancy graphic I’ve got set up.
Johnny: All right, hold on I got to click out there. There you go. it’s an infographic which is [inaudible] [01:01:08].
Nick: It’s amazing. This is how we roll in the UK like that. But this was based on the stuff I write for Supercharge Your Kindle Sales and Reader Magnets was I think you know books are great, but I don’t think people always take action after reading a book. Sometimes not everything makes sense. Sometimes there is a bit of procrastination and I still I get a lot of emails asking to clarify points in the book. So I thought you know I’m going to record a video series. That’s going to talk people through exactly what they need to do.
And this video series talks specifically about How To Maximize Your Visibility on Amazon with key words which I know you guys have talked about at [inaudible] [01:01:52] before. And what we have talked about today you know building a mailing list which for me is the most important part. So there is three videos it’s about an hour and a half worth of training. And it’s all completely free at plug.
Johnny: And Noorosha is N-O-O how do you spell that?
Nick: I should have picture for that did I. It’s an And it’s completely a made up word.
Johnny: I think I’m subscribed to where did you get the SEO on that one Nick? I think I’m subscribed to both the email autoresponders and they are great.
Nick: Thank you very much yeah so I appreciate the plug. I hope 99Designs don’t mind too much?
Johnny: No.
Dave: And the fiction mark and the fiction marks?
Nick: And the fiction books are at as well. And as I said earlier if you want to go stalk me on Amazon do it now because I’ve just had a Book Pub Ad and I look super impressive.
Johnny: All right and turn the way back machine a few days if you are listening on the feed. What Sean?
Sean: I was going to say I haven’t seen the fiction emails but the nonfiction emails are fantastic. And if you do write nonfiction books it’s really worth subscribing because see how it’s done. Like it’s done very well. It’s done in they are not salesy. They are helpful. And they are the kind of emails that encourage you…
Johnny: I asked Nick if he had done autoresponder madness that’s how much I recognize a lot of…
Nick: After you emailed back I went and signed up for it and I thought it was great.
Sean: It’s fantastic stuff. It’s my favorite info product I’ve ever bought online by far I love it. So…
Nick: I haven’t bought it yet. I signed up for the autoresponder and I think six emails later they just stopped.
Sean: You know why? Because one of the things I love about Andre, that guy is that he seriously doesn’t care. Like when he says there are 200 spots or whatever; there are 200 spots and there is not 201. He will– you will have to wait six months until he opens it again. It’s awesome; it’s good-good stuff.
Johnny: What was that Dave a little comment there?
Dave: He is a [inaudible] [01:04:06] he don’t give a fuck.
Sean: He doesn’t. He does not give a shit. He is awesome. So yeah but it’s the best. What I like about it is that it’s very story based. You know you keep readers engaged by telling them stories and leaving open loops and make sure there is tons of value. And that’s just what I firmly believe that’s what we are all talking about here. Your emails need to have a lot of value and they need to be interesting. And they need to be reader centric, boom there you go.
Dave: Now I have a question for Nick; a compliment and a question. Your Leopold Blake books, the covers they are all awesome. They have a very you know similar look to them very good branding there. Did you start off that way with such great cover or do you have like crappy cover first and you like realized oh I had to brand this to make them all look you know similar. How did that go about and also how much cross over is there between your fiction and nonfiction?
Nick: With the covers the number one first thing I did before publishing was get a decent cover because I knew that you know just… have to try to do it yourself and paint and the outcome…
Sean: No.
Nick: You know even to the person who made it and should be proud of it; it was horrible. So I took a recommendation from another author and found a cover designer who put that together for me. And then few back and forth soon we settled on a good design. And then literary I just started for every subsequent book it was like just do it exactly the same. And just change the title and the pictures out, but keep it identical so that if you are you know in the dark squinting drunk you can still tell that it’s my book. And that was the plan.
Dave: Love you, that’s an easy test to do.
Nick: Absolutely yeah I think so. I’m with the Non-Fiction books. There is not really any cross over. I mention The Leopold Blake Series if you go check it out. But they don’t really crossover that much.
Johnny: All right, so probably a good time to end because we have had you on for later than we expected because of our difficulties. So Nick thanks so much for being on best place…
Nick: That’s the one here is the graphic again.
Johnny: Here is the graphic Yourfirst10kreaders, here you go.
Nick: Click it.
Dave: We do have a quick comment, Joe Barlow says, “This is one of the greatest episodes of SPP ever. I’m learning so much from Nick and I just bought Supercharge Your Kindle Sales and two of Nick’s other books.” And a whole bunch of people who just came in and said hi what’s happening.
Nick: Thank you.
Dave: You know they were watching. They got your email I guess.
Nick: They did good, they didn’t go into the spam folder. My teachings work.
Johnny: Hey Nick Stephenson fans, all right…
Dave: And Robert Scott Norton says, hey first time listening live and I’ve missed most of it. Also on Nick’s email list, I’m ironically trying to set up my email list mechanics.
Nick: Oh the irony the irony. I love it.
Dave: You can rewind this video. A few people asked you know they caught it late. So they asked if it will be available. Yeah if you are watching now this video will be here; it’s forever as long as YouTube is around.
Johnny: Until the overloads take over.
Sean: I love that even with that Dave has got a put a– but the worst could happen.
Dave: Well it’s only a matter of time before the robots coming round us up like [inaudible] [01:07:32]. That was based on reality, you are aware of that, right?
Sean: Yeah.
Johnny: Well you know they said all of this has happened before and it will happen again.
Dave: So islands are coming.
Sean: It’s just ancient-ancient history. We all know that.
Johnny: Right. So…
Dave: [inaudible] [01:07:45] by the way.
Johnny: He might not have but now with your comment together we now have the Supercharge try for us, spoiler.
Sean: We just put the puzzle together.
Johnny: Yeah we just put that together, all right everybody so thanks for joining us for the Self Publishing Podcast. And if you would like to get our best advice check out Write Publish Repeat at If you would like to get Nick’s advice you can go to, click in the infographic right there or Supercharge Your Kindle Sales which I highly recommend, and thanks everybody and we’ll see you next week.

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One Reply to “How to Blow Up Your Email List with Nick Stephenson (Self Publishing Podcast #141)”

  1. Timothy C. Ward

    Hey guys,
    Preemptive comment before listening. Thanks so much for all your podcasting work. It was truly inspiring last year, the first year I made a good mark on my dream to write full time. Thanks for your advice. I took to heart the repeated advice about building an email list and spent hours last Saturday messaging friends who had liked my Facebook page, all personal intros, but then a relaxed “pitch” to check out my newsletter for details on my upcoming novel being published. I went from 10 to 50 in less than a week. 10 was an awful number, and while 50 isn’t going to get me out of my day job, it is much better. The next step will be seeing how to format a newsletter to the list I built as a podcast host inviting them to join my author newsletter, especially when I no longer run that show. (I’d need permission of course… long story).
    I also wanted to say I just posted a review to Yesterday’s Gone Season One. Incredible story. I’m bummed the whole series is not yet in audiobook, but while I’m waiting I’ve moved to Breakers, which is also superb. You mentioned about how the podcast doesn’t explicitly promote your fiction. I read YG because I was so thankful for your work in podcasting, and now I’m fighting each time I get in the car if I’m going to listen to your podcast or your audiobook. A good problem, but I thought you’d enjoy. Keep it up! I will love to see how the new year brings about more podcasts and audiobooks.

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