I feel like I throw this term around a lot and I’m not sure people actually know what it is…
A “reader magnet” is a story that you give away to anyone who signs up to your mailing list. This is also called a lead magnet in other types of marketing.
In the words of my friend, Evan Gow of Story Origin:
A reader magnet gives people a reason to join your mailing list, but it also acts like a free trial. Think about your series like it’s a subscription business. What is one tactic that almost all subscription businesses offer? A trial or free version. It’s a way for the customer to experience what they’re going to get for their money when they decide to invest in a purchase. People can get the free trial, after that it’s a recurring payment where the reader buys Book 1, Book 2, and so on.
Now, lemme back track. A reader magnet DOES NOT sign people up to buy each of your books monthly, lol, but it is indeed like a free trial, because a reader gets to “try” your writing style for free. They get to experience your characterization, they get to observe your formatting (like, does your book look professional), they can grow to trust you as an author.
If you write fiction, Evan recommends a 10-20K short story prequel to your book or series. A prequel “Hooks” readers into wanting to read the follow-up book, provides an effective introduction to your universe, and entices readers who both have and haven’t read the follow-up.
Evan suggests 10-20k because it’s like a sweet spot for getting a good read through rate.
Read-through rate is the percentage of readers who will read the full story and buy the follow-up book.
Regardless of what you use as a reader magnet, Evan says remember this may be your first piece that someone ever reads. It still needs to be well-edited and have a good cover. The good cover is especially important to getting anyone to request it in the first place.
Someone asked, can I use a sample of my book that’s already for sale?
The short answer is Yes!
The long answer is I never subscribe for book samples! LOL
When I subscribe, it is because of a prequel or some kind of book that belongs in the series, origin stories or something of that nature. I have NEVER subscribed to someones newsletter, just to read a sample of a book they have for sale. Never, and I don’t think I’m alone.
The fact is, as an unknown, indie author, most people aren’t just dying to read a sample of your book. I’m not trying to be rude but the fact is, they are looking for more! It’s kind of a weird backwards psychology, but I’ve seen it myself. Many more people have read my book after paying for it, than have read the free sample I have available for every single book. More people have also signed up for my reader magnet, than those who have read my samples as well.
There is something about a FRESH book, a new, FULL story, that tickle a readers fancy. A little sample is like one potato chip! Readers want the whole bag, so take some time to write a fun backstory on a character or prequel to your book series. A start to finish, non-cliffhanger story that readers can enjoy, digest and make sure the document has LINKS to your books that are for sale!
Next article! How to write a Reader Magnet!
Comment if you have a reader magnet and tell me how it’s helped your writing career.