We all love to get things for free, right?

As an author, selling your books is the end goal and to sell your books, you need an audience interested in reading them. Building up a strong readership is crucial as an author: you want a following who are eager to get their hands on your newest release and are keen to stay up to date with whatever you are writing.

This is where enticing your readers with a lead magnet comes in.

What is a lead magnet?

Lead magnets are opportunities to encourage your readers into adding their email addresses to your mailing list in return for a digitally downloadable free gift.  For fiction writers, that freebie may come in the form of a small collection of flash fiction pieces or a short story to keep them interested in your work between book releases. For me, I am easily sucked in to buying the next book of an author I love if I have already received the first chapter of their newest release by email – I am always desperate to keep reading. Yet, for non-fiction writers, you have the option of really adding a product of extra value to the lives of your readers and keeping them interested in your next release.

Lead magnets for non-fiction authors come in many forms and I have included various examples further down in this article.

Why use lead magnets as a non-fiction author?

As a non-fiction author, you are inevitably working within a niche. However, the great news is that your audience will be in that niche right there with you. You want to make your lead magnet as beneficial to the reader as possible so that they really feel taken care of by you as an author; that way, they are continually excited for your next release and eager to subscribe for updates.

Lead magnet ideas for non-fiction

Let’s look at some examples and ideas now of free gifts your readers can download after subscribing to your email marketing.

Something to make and create.

Let’s use cooking as an example.

If you are an author of cookbooks, a recipe is a great giveaway! Offering an unpublished recipe (and posting enticing photos of the finished product across your social media accounts) is a great way to get email sign ups. Not only do your readers get a free recipe, but they also get a delicious treat at the end.

People Love a list.

This is a great download for your readership. Think about essentials related to your niche; the items that you wished someone had told you that you needed when you started out. Do you write about ultra-marathons? Give your reader your list of can’t-leave-home-without products for ultra-marathon enthusiasts.

Those who fail to plan…

Another great digital download is a plan of some sort. A schedule split into days/weeks/months that your reader can follow. To use the ultra-marathon runner example again, if your readers are inspired by reading your account of running an ultra – they might want to have a go! An emailed PDF training plan for running an ultra-marathon means they are already getting off on the right foot (no pun intended).

You can’t beat a cheat sheet.

This is a great way to offer your best advice to a reader. A cheat sheet would be brilliant utilised by someone like a travel writer for example, by subscribing to your mailing list your reader might receive a cheat sheet stating simple ways to save money in Seville or the best budget hotels in Bali.

VIPs only.

What about an invitation to a private group? Whether that’s on a social media platform or a forum on your own website, it’s a great way for your readers to meet other likeminded people interested in the same niche as them. They can share tips, successes, and excitement when your next book is due for release!

What do I do next?

It is crucial to build readership as an author and lead magnets are an easy way to encourage subscribers to your mailing list. The suggestions above are a great way to start but with a little creativity there are many more you could try. Your goal with using a lead magnet is to keep ensuring that readers want to keep adding their email to your mailing list – not only for your enticing freebie but because they love your work as an author, want to stay up to date with your work and keep purchasing your books.