How to announce your book with an e-mail blast

What’s the best way to announce your book via e-mail?

I’ve received quite a few book announcement e-mails lately. I want to be excited for the authors, because this is a big deal. Sadly, though, most of the messages aren’t very compelling.

More often than not, they’re self-congratulatory (“I’ve achieved my dream!”) or self-serving (“If you buy my book on Amazon in the next 24 hours, I can become a best-selling author!”).

Some are brief: “My new book is out. Here’s a link where you can buy it.” Others are rambling. None of them tell me why I’d want to buy the book – what’s in it for me, the reader.

8 tips for using e-mail to announce your new bundle of joy

I don’t want you to repeat the mistakes I keep seeing in my inbox, so I’m sharing eight tips that will help authors with any level of marketing experience write a book announcement e-mail message that isn’t obnoxious, annoying, offensive, or downright sad.

1. Tell us what the book’s about.

Don’t presume that we’re up to speed. This might be the first time we’re hearing about your book.

Start with the description on the back cover or, if it’s e-book only, the Amazon description. It should tell us why we will want to buy your book, right? You might need to massage it to make it more personal, since e-mail is such an informal means of communicating.

2. Realize that it’s not about you.

It’s about the person you’re writing to.

Tell me what your book will do for me. Will it educate, inform, entertain, enlighten? What’s in it for me? How will your book improve my world, help me improve someone else’s world, or help me forget about my world?

3. Include a link where we can purchase the book from a trusted online retailer.

Seriously – you’d be surprised at how many messages omit this. If possible, include links to more than one retail site.

(Hint: Your author website is not a “trusted online retailer.”)

4. Forget the “help me make my book an Amazon best-seller” plea.

Unless you are my total BFF, I don’t care if your book is a best-seller.

All I want to know is whether I’ll like or need your book or if I know someone else who would. If you feel compelled to focus on that best-seller-for-five-minutes-in-an-Amazon-category plan, at least share information about your book, too.

5. Don’t come on too strong.

You might suggest that your book makes a nice gift, but don’t tell me that I “should” buy it for everybody I work with. Some of us respond better to requests than to demands.

6. Ask me nicely to share your news with my networks.

If I know people who will want to know about your book, I’ll help spread the word. But sometimes I need to be reminded of that excellent idea.

7. When sending from your desktop email program (Outlook, Gmail, etc.), “bcc” everyone you’re sending to.

Put your own email address in the “to” line and the recipient addresses in the “bcc” line so that you aren’t exposing email addresses. Using the bcc option will keep your connections’ addresses private.

Send your announcement to anyone in your address book who might realistically be interested in your book. Be thoughtful about this. Not everyone will be interested, and it could be inappropriate to send to some.

If you plan to email it to many, many contacts, consider sending the message in batches over time so your messages don’t get flagged as spam. (Note that when you’re sending just a single “blast” message, rather than a series of messages, you don’t need the recipient’s permission to send to them.)

8. Remember that the quality of your announcement reflects the quality of your book, so make it as good as you can.

I received one that looked like a ransom note, with multiple fonts and sizes. I know this wasn’t what the author intended.

What’s that old saying? You only get one chance to make a first impression?

That’s why you want to make sure that your announcement uses correct grammar and has no errors. (I actually received one that had a mistake in the book title.) Details matter.

If it’s sloppy, we will think your book’s content is a mess, too.

Whatever you do, make this just the starting point for your book launch. There’s lots more you could — and “should” — be doing to promote your book.

Have you ever purchased a book based on an e-mail blast announcement? Why?

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in August 2010. It has been updated and expanded.)

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  1. Thanks, Kathleen! You certainly know what you're talking about, so thanks for the validation here! I appreciate it.

  2. Great ideas! It might have worked in the beginning to have folks excited about someone's best-seller status, but it seems so gimmicky now. As a soon-to-be-published author, I appreciate the tips on maintaining integrity but getting the word out nonetheless! We have to believe our book would help people or we wouldn't have written it. But the marketing haze is hard to maneuver. Thanks again!

  3. Thank goodness I got the link for this post before I sent out my email "blast"…I'll definitely be revising it using your suggestions. As usual, Sandy, your recommendations are thoughtful, insightful and much appreciated!

  4. Perfect timing! My books come out in 1-2 weeks and I'm ready to send out emails.

    I recently commented on an author's blog regarding marketing. There were numerous writers and authors responding that it was obnoxious to 'market' with emails,Facebook Fan Page, etc. They don't want to be perceived as 'tooting their own horns'.

    This posting covers the 'obnoxious; and the perception of 'horn tooting'.

    It helpfully covers 'what to say and how to cover your bases'. Much appreciated!!

    I feel like the lady who was told her zipper is down BEFORE I left the restroom.

  5. Vivian, I know that "you" will shine through in your announcement and that will be essential. Donna, thank you for such wonderful feedback — I appreciate it. You might be interested in my take on that "tooting your own horn" attitude in this link to a couple of blog postings on that topic: http://buildbuzz.blogspot.com/search/label/Leslie%20Levine. I think they will help you see how to position your role in all of this!


  6. The only time I've considered a book via email is if it was sent to me from a trusted individual. I agree with you that mass emails are not usually well-written. Great post!

  7. That's in interesting comment on "trusted source," Marly. I'm hoping that authors only send these messages to people they have some kind of connection with already, but I realize that's probably not always the case. Do you get them from "strangers?"

  8. Thank you, Theresa. This is one of those situations/tactics where it really pays to get it right!


  9. Once again, awesome information that is timely, trusted, valuable and packaged for immedite application! Thank you!

  10. Excellent post! “it’s not about you” is the best advice for any type of marketing, promotion, or personal brand building. I use this line and have written blogs with that as a central theme for career coaching clients. Thanks for the tips which I’ve saved in my starred “Beckwith” folder to help guide my promotional efforts for my Everyday Buddhism book coming this year. Thanks again, Sandy!

      1. Thanks for your confidence, Sandy! I’m still deep in the first draft, but it’s exciting and a great writing practice. The book, with the working title “Making Everyday Better: Everyday Buddhism Tips & Tricks”, comes from my podcast of the same name. In both, I talk to everyday people about Buddhism in an everyday way.

        It’s about how Buddhism is ultimately practical and not “woo-woo”. I walk the reader through discussions and practices of how to apply the Buddha’s Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path to everyday life through Awareness, Acceptance, Appreciation, and Action.

        Thanks for asking. Wish me luck!

        1. I love this idea, Wendy, and I know you’ll do a great job with it. Please ping me when it’s available so I can buy it.


  11. All great tips, Sandra. One of my clients is launching her book in the next two weeks. I will be sure to share this with her. As an editor, I especially loved Tip #8 about looking your best. I am amazed at how many times I find errors on the front cover, back cover, or in the front matter of a book—those are the first three things I look at when deciding whether to buy. And because some deem emails as casual correspondence, they don’t proof them as carefully. Great post.

    1. Great feedback, Tanya. Thanks! One thing I’ve learned to do to catch mistakes in emails that shouldn’t have mistakes is to send it to myself first. For whatever reason, I can spot things better that way!

      I’m glad you can use the info. with your client. She’ll appreciate that you’re looking out for her, I’m sure.


  12. Excellent advice, Sandy! Thanks for the post and the different ideas, new things to consider as well as great reminders on others!

  13. Immediate turn-offs: Beginning Blogs, book announcements, Tweets, or Facebook blurbs, with “I” or “My.” We need to tell what we have for a reader. A great, annoying journalism professor insisted a reporter tell, in the first three words, what a news story is about. “Fire destroyed Sears….” “Three men died….” “E-coli outbreak forces….” He insisted we cover the essentials in the first seven words to tell a reader if he wanted to continue reading. The same quick opening can entice other readers. Focus on the first sentences in a novel. “A shotgun blast jarred the isolated convenience store, shattering plate glass windows.” “Standing stiffly at attention, I clenched my hands and set my eyes on the state seal mounted on the wall behind the bench so I was looking toward but not directly at the judge.” We need to spark interest, not just brag, whether beginning a book or a blurb.

  14. Thank you Sandra for this great post. I am sure I will be able to follow the steps you outlined and put together an exciting email message. Here’s my problem.

    My book, “Rising from the Shadow of the Sun”, was published in 2015. However it has such an important message of women’s survival of Japanese concentration camps in Asia during WWII, that I would love to bring it back in a new blast. But I have exhausted my list of email addresses. How do I get new ones, addresses of readers who have not yet heard of my book?

    Thank you for any suggestions you may have.


    1. I’m glad it was helpful, Ronny. You can purchase email address lists but they’re a waste of money. Sending a one-time message to a stranger isn’t effective — typically, the recipient sees it as spam. There are better ways to connect with potential readers. You might try a virtual book tour, writing guest posts or doing Q&As with blogs that reach your book’s target audience. You can get more on the what/why/how of these tours in my free “Virtual Book Tour Basics” report at https://buildbookbuzz.com/virtual-book-tour-basics/


  15. This is just what I was looking for. As a self-publishing author, I seem to shy away from marketing, so your information has given me the confidence I need to get it right the second time around. I’m about to self-publish my second book in a few weeks and, thanks to you, now know what to do to avoid the mistakes I made when I first self-published. Thank you so much for helping out.

    1. I’m so glad it was helpful, Hugh. Marketing is even *more* important for self-published authors because you’re completely on your own. And honestly, people won’t discover your books if you aren’t working to help those books get found.

      Best of luck with the second one … but you can still market the first one, too!


  16. Hello
    I hope this email find you well.
    I would really appreciate it if you could take a moment to respond my questions:
    1, Cam I upload/publish my novel book (eBook, Print versions) simultaneously on two websites for example amazon and Apple Book?
    2, How can I promote my book rather than amazon?
    Waiting for your kind reply.
    Best regard

    1. Hi Wak, 1, yes unless you’ve selected KDP Select. Then you can only sell it on Amazon. Just don’t use KDP Select. 2. You have to promote the book yourself. There are a number of things you can do, but your options depend your book, audience, time available, skills, and budget. You’ll find a lot of free how-to information here on this site.


  17. Dear Sandra,
    Thank you very much for your kind reply. However, I have still some questions.
    If I don’t use KDP select, so which ‘select’ should I use? The ‘Ads’ select? If I use the ‘Ads’, should I use some fund to promote my book?
    One more question:
    Can I delete my book form amazon any time I want:
    If a traditional publisher wants to publish my book, so then can I delete my book from amazon? Do I have the right?
    Waiting for your kind response.
    Best regard

    1. Wak, I can’t help with this. Do you use Facebook? There are many groups there for self-published authors. You might be able to get more information from group members.


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