List Building 101: Are You Ignoring Your Existing List? 7 Places Your List Already Exists

Note: This article is an excerpt from the chapter, Your Existing List in my e-book Author’s Quick Guide to Engaging Your Fan Base.

One of the primary keys to selling books is to have a list of people to promote it to, and who will in turn promote it to their connections. What you may not realize is that you already have an existing list! Here are 7 places where you may already have a list of people you can connect with about your book:

  • Family—Do you stay in touch with your parents, kids, aunts, uncles, or cousins? How many of them want to support you as a member of their family, and if you asked them to, would tell their friends about your book? When your book is first released, ask your family members to send out an email to people they know telling them about you and your book (write the email for them to make it super easy for them to say, “Yes!”).
  • Christmas/holiday cards—One of my clients tucked a postcard about her book in every Christmas card she mailed, before her book was released in January of the next year. By offering a bulk discount if people purchased more than one copy (“one for you, one for a friend”), she was able to pre-sell 200 copies before her book was even printed! Use this tactic to reach out to your existing card list on any major holiday.
  • Facebook friends—Even if you just started using Facebook, you probably have more than one friend you’re already connected to. Your Facebook friends are a list! Don’t be shy to tell your Facebook friends about your book.
  • Pinterest and other social media systems—Do you use Pinterest to keep track of inspirational pictures, recipes, and home organization ideas? Do you already have people following your boards? Create a new board for your book and pin an image of your book cover along with a link where viewers can purchase it (or your website if your book isn’t released yet). Your pin will show up on the main board of everyone you’re connected to. The same goes for any other social media account you already manage, including Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, etc.
  • Email—If you have an email account, that account has an address book. You probably already have emails of friends, family, plumbers, and other people you’ve contacted for any number of reasons in the past in that address book. Compile all those emails into one and use the “BCC” feature on your email client (blind carbon copy) to send an announcement about your book to everyone at once. Please do not copy everyone’s email addresses in the “CC” or “To” field. That means everyone has access to each other’s email addresses, you’re sharing their private information without their permission, and if you’re in the U.S., it’s against the federal CAN-SPAM Act of 2003. Put your email address in the “To” field and everyone else’s in the “BCC” field. That way it looks like the message only went to the person reading the email—each individual.
  • Blog—Have you been blogging for a while? Does your blog get any page views? If so, those people are also a list. Post updates about your book on your blog, including events where you’re being interviewed or speaking, what you’re writing about, your adventures in writing, publishing, and marketing—basically anything that comes to your mind related to your book.
  • Writer’s Group—Many local communities have writer’s groups that get together for mutual support, sharing, and critiques on a regular basis. If you’re not already a part of one, search the internet in your area to see if there’s one you can visit.

Think of other places where you have connections with people. Do you go to church? Are you in any groups? Do you participate in classes at the gym? Are you active in a specialized sport like dance or karate? Are your kids active in sports? Do you talk to your kids’ teachers? As you move about your week, be aware of the people you come in contact with, where they are, and who they hang out with. You may be surprised just how many “lists” you already have, and how many of those people are just waiting for you to ask them to support you and your book.

Like this article? Read the rest of the book! Click here to get Author’s Quick Guide to Engaging Your Fan Base today.

Photo courtesy Shutterstock, Sergey Nivens

Leave a Comment

  • Sharon Svitak
    May 29, 2014

    If I send email to people on my personal list who haven’t indicated they wish to receive information from me, isn’t that spam?

    • Kristen Eckstein
      May 30, 2014 Sharon Svitak


      People on your personal list are probably interested in what’s going on in your life. If you send them an update, that isn’t spam. Of course, abusing your list is different. You don’t want to mail your personal list a sales pitch multiple times in one day. And you should always invite them to join your main marketing email list, so they give you permission to contact them more often. I hope this clarifies your question. 🙂
      Kristen Eckstein recently posted…Barnes and Noble Closing? Say It Ain’t So!My Profile

  • Betty Horn
    May 29, 2014

    I already knew about these groups, but as always, you have me thinking about where I can find more “lists.” Thanks for the brain nudge!