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by Cynthia T. Luna in Book marketing

Okay, I rarely say things like this, but I have a huge marketing crush on Nick Stephenson. Why? Well, first a little back story…

Shortly after I finished writing my first book (pictured right) I realized I needed to build an author platform. Basically, I needed to build an email list of people who enjoy reading, who like to read my work/words, and who would be interested in hearing more updates from me.

Thus I stumbled upon Nick Stephenson of (affiliate link). If you click on that link, you will get access to a free webinar so you can start right away on building your own email list of dedicated readers. I finally got around to buying his course program and watching his videos. And, WOW! He’s brills.

Nick Stephenson Is All About Systems… Which I Love!

My book, The Aspiring Authors Guide: Write Your Marketing Strategy (UK | DE | FR), is all about establishing an evergreen strategy–that is, developing a core message to which you can turn for guidance again and again. This way, when you’re surprised with the delightful opportunity to talk about your product, you won’t leave thinking, “I totally forgot to say X” or “Why didn’t I [ask listeners to sign up for my newsletter]?”

By the same token, Nick Stephenson’s principle is rooted in you taking your evergreen message, creating tactics, and then automating your email address collection process–thereby allowing your readers (and potential readers) to opt-in to your email list, rather than you begging and pleading for followership. HUGE!

I’m about three modules in, and I’m going to share with you one thing I did, that resulted in one new email sign up just hours later without any promotion in any of my social media channels. I just set it up, then switched off my computer… (The following morning, I had two sign ups! No promo, no new post to the website, no mention anywhere. And, no, it was not my mom.) 🙂

So here’s what I did. The following steps assume you already have the following tools:

  • Your own website or blog
  • A Mailchimp account (or other email management account)

1) Design a Big Website Button

Know. Your. Message.First, create a promotional button that promotes the most attractive feature (for your readers) of your book. Mine handles nonfiction and speaks to the biggest takeaway for my book.

If you write fiction, you will want this to resonate well with your readership. For example, if you write steamy romance, you might write something like, “More heat between these covers!”. Or if you write an action thriller, you might lead with, “Time is running out”. (Create a sense of urgency…)

This button is going to have between 3 and 5 main elements:

  1. The headline (mentioned above).
  2. A picture of your book.
  3. Some sort of social proof and/or a one-sentence teaser. Sometimes, you can get a three-fer when you can quote the gist of your story from a well-known source and include the four or five stars. (I didn’t have this luxury when I did this.) But, you could put “‘Thrills that have you panting for more!’ ~NYT 5-stars“.
  4. Your CTA — Call To Action, such as, “Click Here”. I’ve seen some people use, “I want it!” Pick whatever resonates with your message. I used “Learn More >>” (just like Nick Stephenson) in a button-looking thing.

2) Open your Mailchimp Account & Create a New List

Creating a new list is probably the simplest way to gauge the effectiveness of this effort. Also, if you feel you need to make tweaks before your list has really taken off, you can always combine lists and abort the mission before things have gotten out of hand. BUT, if you want to integrate this new development into your current list, you might just want to “edit” your existing list design, rather than design a brand new list. It’s up to you. 🙂

1) I created a second same-sized button that echoed the image of my book and also delivered a promise. (“I’ll give you a free ebook in exchange for your sign up”.) I basically made this my “promise page”.

2) In Mailchimp, I clicked on “LISTS” in the top menu. Then, I selected the yellow “General Forms” option, because they have the simplest drag-n-drop form design page. And under “CREATE FORMS” I selected “Signup Form“.

You can see below that I added my second button picture here with the email sign up elements I needed. Try to keep this form as simple as possible. (Mine may even be on the long side — I might remove the “Last Name” from mine.)

A screen shot of the Mailchimp sign-up form I designed. I opted to keep it very uncomplicated.

A screen shot of the Mailchimp sign-up form I designed. I opted to keep it very uncomplicated.


  • There are many more sophisticated (and pricy ways) of creating a landing page where this free-book-for-your-email transaction takes place, but I wanted to see how this would work.

3) Switch tabs and go to your  website or blog.

1) Create a new Page (not a Post), which will carry your “Success!” Message. This is a Thank You page, where you deliver the goodies (your free ebook) because your subscriber has just been through the process of signing up.

This page also includes all the ways a person can access the ebook downloads (EPUB, MOBI, or PDF). All of my ebooks are stored on DropBox, so my Success page includes all of those links with some guidelines on how to download.

When you’re done. Publish this page, removing the possibility for blog visitors to comment and also removing the share possibilities.

2) Copy and paste the URL for this website page into your MailChimp “thank you” page. It might be something like: “”


4) Switch back to MailChimp to Your List

>>GeneralForms >>Create Forms and select under Forms and response emails “Confirmation ‘thank you’ page

5) Prominently Display Your “Big Website Button” Mentioned in Step 1)

Rather than relegating your email subscription form off to the side, add your teaser button to a blog post and feature it as a “Sticky Post” — one that stays up top. Front and center.

Sacha Black did this on her page. You can see she doubled up on her list and posted a sign-up form in the side bar. Two-fer!

I also took the extra step of designing the same button in the size required for my website banner. So, no matter where on my blog my visitors land, there’s a good chance they’ll see my book is available for downloading.

Check Out Nick Stephenson’s Your First 10k Readers For More Great Tips

Nick Stephenson offers a few freebies (like videos and downloads about… reader magnets.), and you should definitely check them out. Before long, though, you’ll be signing up for his full video course that you can binge-watch and implement, or drip-watch at your pace.

And if you’ve had enough of all my marketing tactic gobbledygook — visit Nick Stephenson’s Amazon author page, see his huge assortment of thriller novels, including his free reader magnet novel, Wanted.


  1. Sacha Black says:

    awesome post.100% agree with all of it! I have a couple of Nick’s books on my desk to read. I have been recommended him more than once!! Thanks for the lovely mention by the way! <3

    1. Yeah, Nick’s online course is excellent. A bit pricey, but worth it… So glad you don’t mind the old mention. Your blog post swooped through before mine was scheduled, and I thought, I’d use your page as an example. 😀

    2. Icy Sedgwick says:

      I’m working through his course right now and it’s TOTALLY worth it!

      1. Isn’t it? My list isn’t huge, but I have had more action since implementing this, than I have had on my other list. My next project will be partnerships, people I can team up with… Let me know if you know of anyone in the same boat. Good to see you here!! 🙂

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