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reader magnet
Emily Joy

How to Use Reader Magnet to Boost Your Book Sales [Ultimate Guide 2023]

Last updated: January 10, 2023

So you’ve done the hard part in writing, editing and designing your ebook. It’s uploaded to your store and your focus has turned to book marketing. If you’ve ever wondered about reader magnet as a marketing tool, then this is a good place to start.

In this article, you will learn about reader magnet and how to create one that readers just can’t resist. We’ll explore how to distribute your own reader magnet as a no-budget marketing tool to help you acquire more readers and sell more books!

Here’s a quick list of what we’ll be covering in this article:

What is a Reader Magnet?

A reader magnet is something that an author gives to their readers for free typically in exchange for signing up to the authors’ email list. The formula for a reader magnet is generally:

Offer something for free. Then encourage your readers to do something that allows you to keep in touch with them for future book promotions.

Examples of the things that you can offer for free as an author include:

  • Free ebooks
  • Free online courses
  • Free downloadables and printables e.g. worksheets, templates
  • Coupon codes

Examples of the things that you want your readers to do include:

  • Signing up to your email list
  • Joining your community or Facebook group
  • Following and engaging with your social media channels

You’ve probably seen a reader magnet used in publishing before, without realizing it. Have you ever landed on an author website, only to find a prompt to enter your email? Sign up for my newsletter to receive a free PDF of Birdwatching for Beginners! That’s a reader magnet.

If you’ve done a good job on driving traffic to your website, many of those website visitors will be strolling around your website on a daily basis. A reader magnet is a great way to make sure they leave enough information for you to stay in touch with them before they exit your website.

reader magnet for ebook marketing

What are The Benefits of a Reader Magnet?

Reader magnet can be used by authors to create and sustain a relationship with their audience. The goal is for authors to compile an email list of their readers. This streamlines the book marketing process because you can easily contact your readers when you:

  • are publishing new books or have a short story coming out
  • are going on a promotional tour
  • are doing a book reading
  • have interviews, articles, or reviews coming out in other publications that you want to share with your fans
  • have a new blog post on your website

It’s much easier to market your books to the people who have already come in contact with you as an author in one way or another. Giving away free reader magnet is a powerful way to do so.

Reader Magnet Ideas

Authors can be as creative as they like when coming up with a reader magnet. There are no “wrong” ideas, although there are certainly some tips to point out when deciding what kind of magnet makes sense for your ebook and author brand.

Here are a few ideas to get you started.

Fiction Book Reader Magnet Ideas to Increase Mailing List Subscribers

1. Short Stories

Short stories that are “spin-off” scenes from your novel. If your audience already loves your books, they’ll enjoy another opportunity to be inside the world you created with the characters they already know.

2. Preview of Your Next Book

A chapter from your next book, first available to subscribers. Focus on the “exclusive” nature of this offer; those who sign up get to read it before everybody else.

3. Geography in Your Story

A family tree or map of the geography in your story. This idea works well if you’ve written a family saga book with lots of characters, or if you write fantasy or science fiction stories with complicated worlds. These can be fun to create and look at. Aim for high visual quality.

4. Fan Magazine

A “zine” of your stories or writing. This requires more capacity as it has to be produced physically, but could be limited to, “the first fifty people to sign up.”

Non-Fiction Book Reader Magnet Ideas to Increase Mailing List Subscribers

1. Free Checklists and Templates

Fillable checklists, charts, or templates that would be useful to your audience during or after the reading of your book.

2. Discount codes

Giving out coupon codes for current and new book releases will incentivize your readers to purchase your books, especially if the discounts are limited-time only.

3. Free Coaching Session

An author coaching session related to the area of expertise your book is written on. This is another high capacity idea, so could be limited to the first readers to respond. Alternatively, readers could be entered into a draw to win sessions.

4. Online Course or Companion Videos

Companion videos. Produce a short video explaining one of the concepts in your book in an aesthetically pleasing way.

Again, feel free to be creative. Your audience shares your interest, so think about what would entice you to sign up, and go from there.

Tips for Creating a Reader Magnet

Research Your Audience

Ask yourself who would be interested in reading your ebook and stories. Who would benefit from hearing what you have to say? It’s helpful to have a clear idea in your mind about who your reader is. Then, you can start to create a reader magnet that they will respond to.

Many readers are avid participants in online communities, so don’t be afraid to run a poll on your social media channels and ask your audience what kind of free content they’d like to receive from you.

Quality over Quantity

There might be a tendency to throw a reader magnet together hastily since it’s mainly going for free. But it’s important to spend time and energy. Make sure it’s properly edited (if needed, use a free online editing tool such as Grammarly) and seek out some design help if you can’t do it yourself. This might be a reader’s first exposure to your work. You are looking to establish a long term relationship. The number one thing to ensure is that your reader magnet is something that excites you and will excite your reader in turn.

Reflect Your Work and Your Brand

For science fiction writers, your reader magnet should have a science fiction bend, something that sci-fi fans would be into. You might have a very nice historical fiction short story that history buffs would enjoy, but then those same history buffs will be confused when you start emailing them about your science fiction novels. Whatever your reader magnet is, make sure it reflects the books and other writing you intend to promote with your email list.

Be Specific

Remember to specify exactly what you are going to deliver. You don’t want your readers to be confused, or hope for something different. Enter your email address to receive my short story, “Dreams of Another World” for FREE! 

how to create reader magnet

How to Distribute a Reader Magnet Using Payhip

1. Create a Website or Landing Page

You need a simple online landing page or website where your readers can find information about you and your books. If you don’t have a website, writers can use Payhip to build a fully functional website using Payhip’s free Store Builder. Your website at Payhip will automatically come with ecommerce functionalities to sell various product types such as downloadables (e.g. ebooks), courses, coaching, subscriptions/memberships, and physical merchandises.

Payhip also allows you to embed third party codes including website popups that might come in handy when you’re wanting to show the reader magnet in relation to a website exit intent.

Payhip provides an easy 3-step guide on how to sell ebooks online. Remember to also take advantage of Payhip’s website themes to help you create a professional website or landing page within minutes.

2. Upload your Reader Magnet

Select “Products” on the toolbar and then hit the “Add new product” button. From there, you’ll select which kind of product your magnet will be. In most cases, you’ll be sending a PDF or some other digital files, so you will select the “digital product” category.

Upload your reader magnet file into the product listing, that way Payhip can automatically deliver this to your website visitors when they enter their email address.

Don’t forget to scroll down to “Advanced Options” and tick the “Automatically subscribe customers to mailing list” option.

3. Set the Price

pay what you want pricing

Most reader magnets are given for free. However, on Payhip you have the option to:

  • Set the price to $0
  • OR set the price to $0+ which will activate a pay-what-you-want pricing with a minimum payment of $0

If you set the price at 0, the magnet can be downloaded for free. If you set the price at 0+, the customer has the option of “tipping” you. Your most loyal readers might want to support you in this way.

In either case, readers will need to input their email address before they check out. You can collect and organize these addresses to build your mailing list. Payhip supports integrations with various mailing lists such as mailchimp, and many others.

When you are finished setting the price, you are ready to post your reader magnet as a product in your Payhip store.


Join over 130,000 sellers who have launched their online businesses with Payhip

4. Promote the Reader Magnet

Marketing your reader magnet is just as important as producing and posting one, as you want to reach as many potential readers as possible. Here are some ideas on how to do that:

  • Feature the reader magnet product listing that you had just published on your social media channels, either in posts or in your bio.
  • Indie authors and those who choose to self-publish can feature the product prominently on their website or blog. If you’ve gone the traditional book publishing route, ask to feature your reader magnet on your publisher site.
  • Offer your magnet in any published work by including it on the first or last page of your book or novel.
  • If you have the opportunity to attend a book convention or book fair in your genre, pass out fliers that feature your name, author photo, book information, and reader magnet.

Reader Magnet FAQ

How long is a reader magnet?

There’s no hard and fast rule about how long a magnet should be. The only thing to keep in mind is that it should be able to stand alone. (If it’s a first chapter “sneak peek,” the reading experience should still be satisfying.)

How do I use BookFunnel for a reader magnet?

You can integrate your BookFunnel account with Payhip. This way, when your readers download reader magnets from your Payhip store, BookFunnel will automatically deliver the reader magnet to your reader.

How much money should I spend on a reader magnet?

The ideal reader magnet should not be a significant financial cost to you. Consider the skills you already have. If you need to pay someone to collaborate – for their design or production skills – make sure it’s a one time thing that leaves you with a finished product you own and are free to give away. Payhip offers free forever pricing, so you can distribute your reader magnet with no additional cost.

How long should it take me to produce a reader magnet?

As we mentioned above, reader magnet are about building a relationship with your audience. You are telling your readers that they are valuable to you. It’s not advisable to rush. If you spend the time producing and designing a worthwhile reader magnet, you’ll find that more potential readers will sign up.

Final Thoughts

Reader magnet are an invaluable tool in book marketing, and a unique opportunity to connect with your readers and audience. They are well worth the time and effort it takes to develop, market, and distribute. If done well, reader magnet will lead more readers to sign up, and in turn, more book sales. Read our ultimate guide to find more effective strategies on marketing an ebook with little to no budget.


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