The Author’s Mindset: Successful Ads for a Winning Email List

success build email list

Successful Ads for Email Lists

How Successful Authors Build Email Lists with Facebook Ads


Welcome to the Authors Mindset Podcast. I’m Dan Padavona, your partner on this amazing journey to becoming a successful author. If you haven’t already, please click the subscribe button so you can receive all my tips and motivation. And while you’re at it, head over to my website at That’s

You may wonder why you should listen to me. I’ve generated half a million dollars in Kindle sales and Kindle Unlimited page reads over the last 12 months and kept over $360,000 in profit. That’s after advertising, book cover designs, editing and new equipment. And I did it all as a self published thriller and mystery writer.

In our first two episodes, we discussed mindset and how you can use psychology and your mind to become a more disciplined, passionate, and creative writer. Throughout this entire podcast, we are going to be discussing mindset in some episodes, writing in others, and marketing in still others. There’s only so much I can do to teach you how to be creative. And that aspect of being a writer, well, that’s kind of up to you. So we’ll focus on the marketing techniques, the mindset techniques, and how to become a disciplined writer who writes every day. And by doing so you’ll develop skills on your own.

I don’t know where you are in your career. You might just be starting out with no books, no followers, no readers. Or maybe you’ve been at it for several years, and you’ve started to build a readership, but it isn’t at the point that you want it to be.

Today, we’re going to talk about a marketing technique, which is, I think, is at the forefront of any author’s career, and that is building a loyal following. You must check your ego at the door. You are not James Patterson, you are not JK Rowling, or Stephen King. People will not find you simply because your books are fantastic. You need to go out and find your readers and give them something of value. And this is what we’re going to talk about today, building an email list.

Once you have an email list, you can directly communicate with all your prospective readers. Have a new launch; have a new series? Let your readers know about it. Now, there is a myth in the industry. And believe me, it exists across all marketing channels and all SEO channels as well. And that is that email is dead. Well, there can be nothing further from the truth. I can tell you that my best days outside of BookBub Featured Deals have been the result of hitting an email list with a new book or a special offer.

When a reader or a prospective reader discovers your name, they don’t have any incentive to check out your books or figure out who you are, unless you give them something. Some people give away artwork for their books. Others give away background information on the story that you wrote. And still others give away free books. I like to give away a novella. The reason is, I don’t believe that a short story hits with an hard enough punch that a prospective reader will say, “yeah, I have to take this opportunity.”

There are a lot of different ways to build this email list. First and foremost, if you have a book published, or you’re just getting your book ready, please ensure that you have a link in the front and back matter of every book, which gives this free artwork, background, or novella to your readers. So how do you do this? Start at the very beginning. You need a website. And on that website, you need a landing page which gives away your free book and signs people up to your email list. That’s not something I’m going to go into here.

As far as the technicalities of how to make this work, if you work with your email list provider, you can very easily figure out how to integrate their web forms onto your web page. And there are countless how-tos on the internet for how to do this.

So you’ve got your website, and you’ve got this landing page. You really have to put a lot of effort into this landing page to make it look slick. Make sure they want to click that link. Remember, you’re a writer. As a marketer, use that creativity to find ways to convince people that this is a great deal for them. And really mean it too. I certainly do on my website. This is a great deal; you’re getting a free book. And in my case, my book, Dead and Buried is absolutely exclusive to my email list. Not only that, but it’s also the prequel to a very strong selling series called Darkwater Cove. So they’re getting a lot of value here.

Now that you have this landing page, here’s something you can do before you spend a dime on advertising. Place a link in the front and back matter of every book that you write. You may not have written a book yet. If you have, you can go back and re edit those books. And place that link at the front and back matter of every book. Put your offer right there. Hey, want a free book? Want some free artwork? All you have to do is click on this link. They’ll go straight to that landing page. And they’ll give you their email address, and you’ll give them something of value.

It’s not easy to attract people to your website unless you already are a success. In other words, you’re a Stephen King or James Patterson and people are searching you by name. Chances are you don’t get a whole lot of traffic to your website. So the amount of people who are going to land on your landing page and take you up on your offer…or maybe you could put a pop up somewhere on your website to grab a few extra followers…you know that traffic isn’t going to be that high.

Low traffic means it will take time to build up this email list. And you really need to get somewhere from 500 to 1000 email subscribers before it starts to make a difference for your launches. And once you get above 5000 or above 50,000, now you’re really talking.

I prefer Facebook ads for building an email list. You may also use AMS or Amazon ads to build that email list. You may ask, How do I do that, because you can only advertise books. Well, if you’re advertising your books, and you have a very successful ad on Amazon, then those people will be seeing your offer in the front end back matter of every book. And that’s another way to drive traffic.

When I’m having a great month for sales on Amazon, it’s typical that I’ll pick up 150 to 250 organic signups to my mailing list, just because everything is just clicking in my business and people are buying my books. But I need to move faster than that.

What if I want to add 1000 email subscribers per month? I highly recommend two books and a course for anybody who wants to become an expert in Facebook ads for their books. The first is Help, My Facebook Ads Suck by Mal Cooper. The other one which I really love is Ads for Authors Who Hate Math by Chris Fox. I can’t think of an author who created more success through advertising than the amazing Mark Dawson, thriller writer extraordinaire. He has an ads for authors course which you can find online. Just search for ads for authors with Mark Dawson.

All right, you’ve got your landing page, and you’ve got your blurbs together. And now you’re putting together a Facebook ad. I want you to get opinions on your landing page first, talk to successful authors in your target genre. See what works for them. Ask if they think your landing page is good to go or if it needs some help, and take their advice to hearts.

All right, once you have your landing page ready, and you’re not throwing away money on a bad landing page, the next thing you need to do is find a great image. Not something with text, but a great image. Stock photos are perfect for this, and you can find stock photos for a few dollars or less per photo. That could be so worth it. You’re trying to find something striking, something that pulls people’s attention.

Once you have this great image that you can use in an advertisement, now you’re going to target authors in your Facebook ad who are like you. For me, that might be a Dean Koontz, a Gillian Flynn, a John Sanford, a Karin Slaughter. Or I can also target genres. I can target thriller readers, or I can target mystery readers. The next thing you do is come up with some snappy text and show it to people in your in your genre, people who have had success with Facebook ads before. Show your personality, and also solve a reader’s problem.

Well, that may be as simple as, Yeah, I really love thrillers, but I also kind of like horror, and I would like something that kind of straddles that line. That’s how I get people to like Dead and Buried. Make it clear in your text that this is a free ebook, or free artwork or whatever.

Have some goals in minds. Many authors believe that each subscriber on your email list is worth somewhere between $1 and $2. I err on the side of caution, and I shoot for $1 or less. In other words, I want to pay $1 or less for every new subscriber that I sign up through my advertisement. How do I get to that point?

Let’s share some metrics which you should shoot for. To make your ad successful, your impression to click ratio should be 13 to one or less, and the best are less than 10 to one. Keep your CPC (or cost per click) below 25 cents, preferably below 20 cents, and keep your clicks to sign up ratio at five to one or less. In other words, for every five people who click over to your website, at least one of them signs up.

Give your ad 24 hours to marinate. It takes a little while for Facebook to figure out who your best audience is and who’s going to react the best to this advertisement. Start with a budget that you can afford to lose – maybe $5 a day. I usually start around $10 per day, because I want to find out if that ad is working. In other words, if I’m going to fail, I want to fail quickly. Then I can adjust and create a different ad.

After 24 hours, if your ad isn’t working out the way it should be, kill it. Kill it immediately and try again.

All right, before I leave you today, let’s troubleshoot that ad of yours. Let’s find some common problems and solutions.

If your impression to click ratio and your cost per click are too high, you have a problem with either your image or your text. They are not resonating with your target audience, or you could have a problem with your targets. Maybe the authors you are targeting or the genres you’re targeting aren’t quite right, and you need to dig a little deeper and find who the proper targets are for your style of writing.

What if your cost per click and your impression to click ratio is good, but your clicks to sign up ratio is too high? Well, this means the problem is with your landing page. You’re killing it on Facebook; your ad is working. But people get to your landing page, and they’re not inspired to make that last commitment and sign up to your email list. If this is your problem, go back to square one and work on that landing page. And again, share it with more experienced authors and people who have created good landing pages in your genre.

I encourage every author to join the 20 books to 50k Facebook group. A few of my personal friends are over there. I have received so much wonderful feedback over the years in that group. And I owe a lot of my success to that group. I also recommend Mark Dawson’s Self Publishing Formula group on Facebook.

Once you have people on your email list, you need an automation sequence, which sends them the book or the artwork  you promised them. You don’t want to do this on your own. You want your email system to automate this for you and save you some work. You want to get this automation sequence up to five to 10 emails, maybe even more than that, and slowly, but surely introduce them to your work and warm them up. I will give you some real world automation examples in another episode, but for the time being, think about how you can reduce the cost per subscriber and greatly profit from your advertisements on Facebook to build that email list.

What if through your automation sequence, you could sell the first book in a long series? If your reader loved it, it could potentially net you $20 to $25 in Kindle sales, or maybe even more than that, depending on your pricing structure and how many books you have in that series. If you can do this successfully, you can cut the subscriber cost by 20 to 50%.

All right, that’s enough for today. If you enjoyed this episode, please, please do me a favor and go to Spotify, iTunes, YouTube, or wherever you are listening to this podcast and give me a rating and review. Positive reviews help other authors and anyone engaged in self development find this podcast. Remember to head over to That’s Check out my advice for authors blog. It is absolutely free. You can see what I’m working on now and what techniques I’m employing to grow my author business. If you like those tips, you can apply them to your own career.

Remember, the seeds of happiness flourish when you shine a positive light. make someone smile today. And remember to stay amazing. Thank you for joining me today.

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