A lead magnet, also called a reader magnet, is a free item that you give to readers for the purpose of getting a specific response from them, such as getting them to subscribe to your newsletter.

Most authors use a book as their lead magnet. This does not have to be a full-length novel, but can be a short story, novella, or the first few chapters of a book. Other authors put together activity books with coloring pages, word searches, crossword puzzles, mazes, and other fun bonus content.

5 Tips for Updating Your Lead Magnet

In the Quick Tips course in Melissa Storm's Your Author Engine, she offers some tips for how to update your lead magnet. The tips are:

  1. Reformat your lead magnet to match your current standards. If all of the books in your series were formatted in Vellum, for example, then use that same format with your lead magnet. This gives your readers an idea of what to expect to see when they buy your books.
  2. Update the front and back matter in your lead magnet as needed. If you hit a list (USA Today, New York Times, etc.) after creating your lead magnet, then be sure to update the book cover as well. Make sure the copyright, mailing address, and publisher name are up-to-date as well.
  3. Remove irrelevant information like old pen names, book titles, or series names. This is especially important if you have unpublished the books.
  4. Make sure the lead magnet leads to another book you have written, preferably one that is in your backlist.
  5. Update the author section. In the video, you'll see that the author section of Melissa's lead magnet was so old that it mentioned that she only had three dogs. (She has seven at the writing of this blog article.)

Are Lead Magnets Really Necessary?

You may be asking yourself, “Do I really need a lead magnet?” The answer is yes, you do. Not every reader is willing to hand out their email address to every author who asks for it.

A lead magnet not only incentivizes them to sign up for your newsletter, but it also introduces them to your books. And readers can't buy your books if they don't know about them.

If you don't have a lead magnet, then there's no time like the present to create one. If you're not sure what to use as a lead magnet, poll your readers and then give them what they want.

Be sure that your lead magnet has a catchy tagline and blurb to help hook new readers. Another thing your lead magnet will need is an eye-catching cover. You can hire a cover designer to create a custom cover, buy a premade cover from your favorite book cover designer, or create your own using Canva or Photoshop.

Having an up-to-date lead magnet is essential to having a newsletter. It helps encourage readers to try your books with no other obligation than subscribing to your newsletter.

When they subscribe, it gives you permission to contact them, and this helps build an author-reader relationship that, if all goes well, turns them into fans of your books.

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