How to Turn Your Ebook Readers into Email Subscribers

You spent hours researching, writing, editing, and self-publishing your ebook—and now it’s finally finished. When you search your name on Amazon, it shows up. People (strangers, even!) can buy it and read it.

And that’s a really cool feeling.

But your work doesn’t stop there. In the self-publishing world, it’s on you to get the word out about your book and find people who might like to read it.

So you’ve been reading up on advertising strategies, setting up interviews, and learning everything you can about promoting self-published books.

Along the way, you probably read about email lists, or saw companies offering paid sends to their list. (And probably started wishing you had your own, or yours was bigger.)

I’m going to share a simple method you can use to start building a list of your own, with people who purchase and read your ebook.

This method:

  • Doesn’t cost any money
  • Isn’t too difficult to set up
  • Doesn’t require an ongoing time commitment
  • Will keep working indefinitely, as long as people are reading your book
  • Is 100% scaleable: it works just as well when 100 people buy your book per day as it does when 1 does
  • Provides additional value to your readers

Most importantly, it will build your list with extremely high-quality subscribers.

This isn’t a magic bullet for getting a giant list with thousands of subscribers tomorrow. But it is a great way to build your list with the very best people.

How do we know they’re the best people?

Simple. They’re the people who cared enough about you (or what you wrote) to purchase your book. They’re the people who have already decided that buying and reading your book was worth their time.

Since this works by converting your readers into email subscribers, I recommend having it in place before you go gangbusters with your book promotion.

Let’s get to it!

How to build your email list with hyper-engaged readers

(Or, how to capture leads from your Amazon/other ebooks.)

Here’s what we’re going to make happen:

  1. A loyal reader is going to buy your book.
  2. When they go to read it, they’ll see that they can get some sweet, sweet supplemental content from you.
  3. That loyal reader is going to visit your site, where they’ll join your email list and get the free supplemental content they came for.

Once that happens, you’ll have an easy way to stay in touch with that loyal reader. And when you launch your next book, they’ll be waiting to hear about it.

Here’s a detailed breakdown of how to make it happen.

Step one: Create a piece of supplementary material that would interest your readers

Create supplemental content (1)

Think of supplementary material: what other value could you provide someone who got your book? Maybe it’s a free short story, a supplementary guide, anything. It doesn’t have to be something big, just relevant and valuable to your readers.

  • If you wrote a cookbook, this could be a checklist of your favorite kitchen implements.
  • If you wrote an epic fantasy, this could be a printable version of the world map.
  • If you wrote a guide to leatherworking, this could be a set of basic project templates.

Providing something of value is important because it’s creates a win-win scenario. When your readers think to themselves, “yeah, I need to get in on that,” more of them will join your list. 

After you’ve thought of your supplementary content, create it. Depending on what you have in mind, it could be as simple as a PDF, an audio file, or an illustration. Don’t get bogged down creating another book here. 

Step two: Add the supplementary content to your website

Adding content upgrade to website

Now that you have your supplementary content, you need to make it possible for your readers to get it from your website.

Create a new page with an email capture that directs people to the free supplemental content after they join your list. The page doesn’t have to be complex at all, just a line or two of copy and an email capture.

You can get crazy with this if you want, and add images, etc. But don’t get hung up on its design—this page doesn’t have to be anything complex. Your readers understand the value proposition: they get content, you get permission to send them emails.

Here’s the basic functionality you’re looking for: 

  1. People submit their email address in your email capture form
  2. People are directed to the supplementary content (which could be as simple as a PDF uploaded to your website!)
  3. People receive an automated email that also links to the free content

Most email services (like MailChimp, etc.) make it fairly easy to set up automated emails tied to a specific email capture. You’ll most likely end up sending additional data back to your email list in a hidden field when someone submits your email capture form.

Then it’s as simple as setting up an automation based on the data from that hidden field.

Step three: link to the supplemental content in your book

Update your ebook with content upgrade

Next: you need something in your book that lets your readers know about the supplemental content.

Design an image to include in your book. I say “design” in a loose sense—you don’t have to be a professional designer for this. Check out Canva for a quick-and-dirty solution that doesn’t require design chops.

The image should let readers know the basic value proposition. If you can include a small image of what you created and list the core benefit they’ll receive, you’re good to go.


Add the image to the start and end of your book, and hyperlink it to the page on your website you created in step two.

Then upload the latest and greatest version of your book to Amazon and wherever else it lives.


Now, when readers purchase your book, they get more value and you’ve also built in a way to stay in touch with them through your email list.

They’ll be the perfect people to tell about your next book launch.

My experience with this method

I wouldn’t share this method if I hadn’t tried it myself.

A few months ago, I went through this exact process with a friend’s ebook. Since then, about 13% of the people who purchased the ebook have joined his email list via the supplementary content offer.

In total, about 30 new people have joined his list, all from a single Amazon ebook that sold about 250 copies in that timeframe.

A few words of warning:

  1. Don’t expect the conversion rate to hold up during free promotions. Many people who download free ebooks on Amazon never get around to reading them.
  2. The more compelling and relevant your free content offer, the better it will do. And not every industry or book will have the same conversion rate!
  3. Make sure you’re treating people right once they’re on your list. If they joined after reading your freaky paranormal romance novella, don’t email them with affiliate links for laptops.

Authors: what other methods have you used to build your email list?

Share in the comments below—I’d love to hear!

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