How to Create a Powerful Reader Magnet (10 Creative Ideas Included)
If you have been in the writing and publishing field for a while, then you might have heard of different ways to attract more readers, such as writing hooks or creating a dazzling cover. If you also happen to be a self-published author, then you know the perpetual struggle of keeping an audience and generating leads.
Interestingly, there is another way to grow your fanbase and increase your sales; using reader magnets. But how often do you hear about the term “reader magnets”? As a matter of fact, not many people may know what they are but you can guess how powerful reader magnets can be as a marketing tool from their name alone.
There is a lot to unpack about this topic, so let’s dive right in; throughout this article, we will cover what reader magnets are, how to create them, and tips on marketing them to your audience.
What Is a Reader Magnet?
A reader magnet is free extra content that you create and offer to your readers as a way to get them to sign up for your email list. This content could take many shapes and forms, from a link at the end of your book inviting readers to see a picture or a map, all the way to downloading an entire novella or handbook.
What Is the Purpose of Reader Magnets?
The main purpose of reader magnets is to convert your book readers or website browsers into email subscribers who actively keep up with your new content and author career. Essentially, you use them to promote your books, and generate more leads for your author brand.
This magnet can be a great opportunity to connect directly with your readers and make them interested in your work. After all, what could be more enticing than a free printable or wiki-style articles about your book’s world that only subscribers to your mailing list could receive?
The most common way to make use of this content is by inviting readers to sign up to your email list, but you can also try other creative approaches. For example, you can ask them to join your Discord server for exclusive content and community updates. With that said, you can either promote your magnet on the back matter of your book or website, or post it to your social media pages.
What Are the Benefits of Using Reader Magnets?
Because they’re essentially free bonus content, reader magnets can lure new readers into checking out your other books and content. If you play your cards right, you can get a lot of value out of reader magnets even if it requires time and effort to make them.
The points below are just a few of the benefits you can reap from using reader magnets:
- Low production costs: Reader magnets do not require large investments in terms of money or time, so you can create a brilliant magnet even with a small budget. You can also use free tools to create it without having to pay anything.
- Generating leads: As a marketing tool, reader magnets aim to increase the number of your newsletter subscribers, and in turn, grow your author following.
- Increasing reader engagement: Authors often add extra lore-specific material as reader magnets for more invested readers who want more content. This material can be in the form of world maps, Wiki-style articles, or even a sneak peek of the next book in a series.
- Generating excitement for your upcoming books: If you are using a magnet to market an upcoming book, you can easily create excitement for it by sharing sneak peeks, prologues, or maybe a map of your book’s setting.
- Serving as a marketing tool on its own: Even without complex marketing strategies, having a great reader magnet can go a long way in increasing your visibility and promoting your books.
How to Create a Great Reader Magnet
Generally speaking, a reader magnet must provide value to your subscribers, whether that’s entertainment, education, or any other purpose that would convince them to give you their contact information in return. On that note, there are several factors that can make your reader magnet effective, such as:
- Having defined goals: The more clearly you define your goals for the magnet, the better you can focus on achieving them. A good end goal can turn reader magnet content from vague and unfocused to precise and much more meaningful. For example, your goal could be increasing your newsletter subscribers from 30k to 50k by the time you launch your book.
- Doing market/audience research: Your readers will vary based on your main genre, so it’s important to research your target demographic. It’s helpful to note their age, gender, occupations, hobbies, cultural or religious beliefs, and sometimes the political climate in which your readers live. Knowing this information helps you adjust your magnet content to suit their preferences and tastes.
- Creating well-crafted content: Of course, the most important part of the magnet is your actual content. Work hard to craft and polish your content to perfection and you have a greater chance of gaining more loyal readers.
- Making it visually appealing: Even if these magnets are usually offered to the readers for free, it is well worth the effort to invest in creating a great design for them; reader magnets work best when they give value and are easy on the eyes.
- Offering value to your audience: Most, if not all, reader magnets capture interest by promising some value to potential subscribers. This could be educational material, fun bonus content for leisure, or book discounts.
Mistakes to Avoid When Creating Reader Magnets
So far, we’ve talked about how to craft a great reader magnet, but what about the mistakes that should be avoided? What are the most well-known red flags to steer clear of?
Like any piece of content you are making to share with your audience, your reader magnet has to be well-designed and meaningful. However, some authors underestimate the importance of those traits because the magnet is free; this is already a big mistake.
Here is a list of other reader magnet traps to avoid falling into:
- Don’t lock access to your books or force readers to do anything before buying them. This is a tactless method that will cause you to lose potential readers faster than you could blink. Remember, the idea behind a reader magnet is to be an optional addition to your book, not a requirement for accessing it.
- Don’t put magnets behind a paywall. With very few exceptions, you want your content to be free and accessible to get readers to sign up for your emails. Unless you’re selling courses or tickets to a seminar, then there is not enough reason to chain your magnets to a paywall.
- Don’t advertise your magnets aggressively. It is a common practice to have pop-ups on your website that ask readers to subscribe to your newsletter and receive free rewards. However, if those popups appear constantly, you risk annoying readers and causing them to leave your website entirely.
- Don’t stray too far from the main topic(s) of your book. You generally want to expand on your work using a magnet that will engage your readers and motivate them to sign up for emails.
10 Ideas for Creative Reader Magnets
There are a variety of methods that you can use when crafting a reader magnet. For it to be effective, you can offer exclusive bonus content that your readers won’t find anywhere else, or easter eggs that would spark their curiosity for your upcoming work.
No matter what the genre of your book is, you should always think outside the box. By targeting your ideal audience and getting creative with your content, you’re much more likely to succeed in gaining more loyal readers.
Reader Magnet Ideas for Fiction Authors
Expanding on the previous section, a fiction author’s reader magnet is almost always related to their stories. For example, if you are a fantasy author with an established franchise to your name, you can create reader-magnet content that expands on your fantasy world.
For fiction books, you could choose one (or more) of the following:
- Stories: From short excerpts of future releases to what-if scenarios and even spin-off tales, you can enrich your novel with additional content to add to your imaginary worlds.
- Portfolio/chapbook: If you’re a poet, you can bundle a collection of extra poems and give it to your readers in the form of a reader’s magnet. You can add notes on the inspiration behind each piece as well for an extra touch of flair.
- Extra in-universe content: Is the world of your fictional work so rich and bursting with character that you couldn’t fit it all in one book? Or maybe you’re writing a mystery novel and you want to include some cold cases that your detective has been trying to resolve; this is your chance! In fact, extra content like this makes for very effective reader magnets.
- Concept art: There is nothing that brings life to a vast fictional world quite like concept art. No matter the genre of your book, any art you create can be unique to your world and exclusive enough to use as a reader magnet.
- Behind-the-scenes content: Many authors joke about the bizarre things they’ve had to do in the name of authenticity. Some even live in fear of landing on online watch lists by accident! If you’re brave enough, why not share some of the adventures you have been on just to research one line in your book? You could make a list of them for your next reader magnet.
Reader Magnet Ideas for Non-Fiction Authors
Non-fiction authors still have a lot of room for creative thinking when crafting reader magnets. If you are a non-fiction author, you want to provide value to your readers in the form of extra educational material, promoting books or webinars, or even “edutainment,” which combines education and entertainment.
For non-fiction books, you might want to pick one of the following suggestions:
- Cheat sheets: Lots of non-fiction readers love a good cheat sheet for the books they’re reading. For example, maybe you have a great workout regime to share, or a mindfulness exercise to help with relaxation. Those will work phenomenally as reader magnets!
- Printables and downloadables: In addition to cheat sheets, other printables like worksheets and checklists can offer a practical way for readers to apply what they’ve learned in your book. Plus, they are easier to create than the other examples of reader magnets.
- Workbooks: If you’re marketing an academic publication, you can invest in creating a small workbook to accompany the main text. Just make sure it doesn’t get too big that you’d be better off selling it as a separate product.
- Mini-courses or discounts: Many authors like to offer free mini-courses as a reader magnet, and others promise an exclusive discount on merch or courses to their email subscribers to motivate them to sign up.
- Invitations to seminars and/or course registration: This is an example of a reader magnet that you don’t always have to offer for free. It works much better if the seats for your upcoming seminar are limited, or if your highly anticipated course has briefly reopened for registration.
How to Market Reader Magnets (And, by Extension, Your Book!)
Now that you know how to create reader magnets, we can move on to the second most important part: marketing! At the end of the day, you’re pouring all this effort into crafting the perfect magnet so you can attract more readers. But how can you make sure your reader magnet does its job effectively? As it turns out, you can answer this question by trying one of the options below.
1. Newsletter Swaps
A great way to make sure you’re targeting your ideal audience is to participate in a newsletter swap with another author in your genre. When doing a newsletter swap, you agree with another author to promote each other’s material. For example, you could pitch their book to your newsletter subscribers and in return, they advertise your reader magnet to their audience.
2. Social Media Campaigns
Another method of marketing your reader magnets is by advertising them on your social media pages. For many authors these days, social media marketing is one of the most cost-effective ways to reach readers and communicate with them.
If you want to expand your audience even further, then consider offering your reader magnet as a reward for following your social media accounts.
3. Website Landing Pages
Having an author website always gives you an edge over other authors in the market. You can then use this website to add a reader magnet to your landing page. This can take the form of a popup window, a button, or even an embedded link. Just make sure it’s visible, eye-catching, and convincing enough.
4. The Back Matter of Your Book
Of course, there is always the back matter of your book. Besides the regular back matter pages such as the acknowledgment page, you can add a page dedicated to introducing your reader magnet. What you will offer as a reader magnet on this page is up to you, but usually, authors go for discounts or offer additional exclusive content.
When you hear the word “giveaway”, you might think of giving away free copies of your books to a few winners of a contest that you organized. But did you know that you can use your giveaway prize as a reader magnet?
All you have to do is organize a giveaway contest by setting the rules, prizes, and how to enter. In this case, one of the rules for entering this contest is signing up for your newsletter and completing any additional actions–like filling out a survey. When you promote the giveaway this way, you will essentially be promoting the reader magnet.
6. Live Events and Webinars
If you are a speaker at an event or a webinar, you can use this opportunity to create a reader magnet. For example, you can offer a special discount for those who buy the tickets via your link instead of buying it from the event website. That is of course If you have the right to do so. Alternatively, you could make a magnet that invites readers to a subscriber-only event.
Reader magnets are all about convincing current and potential readers to become loyal followers of your author career. To that end, there are so many ideas to try that could attract more readers that you can try, all of which we’ve discussed in this article.
Maybe you don’t have the budget to create a whole spin-off story or workbook, but there are many more ideas beyond those that could fit your needs perfectly.