Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Author Platforms & Email Lists…

As I went through the process of writing the book I recently published ( use the link in the left side-bar to get a free copy :-), I began sending out various incarnations of the book: first clean draft, second clean draft, ready for the editor draft, after the editor draft, after the Review Office draft, “final” draft, “Final” draft, and, finally, the Real Final Manuscript.

I sent them out freely and got some feedback (there seems to be never enough of that) but, most importantly, I saved everyone’s email address.

There are very few of the now over 140 folks who’ve received some form of the book whom I know. I have little information on who’s actually read it or what they think of it.


I have a list of people who were curious enough about my book to let me send them a free copy with no strings attached.

Some “experts” of book promotion and building author platforms will tell you what I’ve done is insane. Some will wonder what good it could do. Some will see that I’ve built a powerful tool to stay in touch with folks who have already shown some interest in my work.

When I feel it’s the right time, I will communicate with my list of somewhat interested people, ask them what they thought, let them know what I’m up to, give the folks who only got a first draft a free copy of the final manuscript; and, encourage those who haven’t yet read it to do so…


I’ve been doing something that many folks with more experience than me have said is important—building an email list.

The fact that I’ve done it differently than many of them might have counseled me is something that time will have to test for its worthiness…

Have you built an email list?

Have you thought about building one?

Do you know of other ways to create an author platform?

I hope you’ll share your thoughts and feelings in the comments…
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8 responses to “Author Platforms & Email Lists…

  1. Simone Benedict May 6, 2011 at 2:07 pm

    Your approach to building a platform is unique. Given the message of your book, I would say your approach adds to your ethos as the writer. I wonder though if the same approach would work for a different type of work? It might. I like how you think and act outside of the box!


  2. Alexander M Zoltai May 6, 2011 at 2:44 pm

    Box, Simone? What Box?? :-)

    Ethos: “the distinctive spirit of a culture or an era”–very cool word choice there, Simone. I have to agree that my method of giving books away to build a platform comes from the same ethos that surrounds my book…

    Though, I think it could work for others–check out this article by Cory Doctorow on how Free=Sales…


    • Simone Benedict May 7, 2011 at 12:11 am

      Now that I’ve read the article you referenced, I do understand better. It would matter I suppose if the writer sought to earn a living or gain a wide readership. Doctorow makes an excellent point. Many of us aren’t going to earn a living off our books.

      I wonder if there are readers who will think the book is of a lower quality if it’s free so they won’t buy it. I know this type of “psychology” of consumers works with other products.


  3. cmmarcum May 6, 2011 at 9:47 pm

    Here I go, being all crass again. I’m with the first group, who thinks you’re koo-koo. Now is the time to let the readers speak with their money. It’s not like you’re asking for a fortune. But do as you will, of course.

    I have read a lot of articles about ‘giving away your first book,’ but not the second one. You should, at least, but a time limit on it. Like: Free until June, or something like that.

    I haven’t had my Kindle long, but I’ve already come into contact with a lot of people who are opting for the 99 cent books over the $10 – $20 books. It would seem to me that NOW is the time for indie authors to strike. Make some of those Big Boys move over, or, at least, come down on their prices.

    Even better idea: Can you send out notices to all the people who downloaded your first book? If you could tap that market…WOW!


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