Turn your email signature into a book marketing machine

After seeing the title of one of my publicity books in my email signature, an executive at a Fortune 500 company hired me to teach the media relations staff how to write press releases that get used.

It was a lucrative opportunity for me, especially since I was later able to present the same training to another national organization’s media relations department.

I earned several thousand dollars in speaking fees simply by including my book title in my email signature.

Is it time for you to re-visit yours? You won’t have to do much to turn it into a book marketing machine.

Specifics to include in your email signature

With a few simple tweaks, you can turn a lackluster signature into one that helps sell books every time you send a message.

For starters, if you include your mailing address, delete that. In most case, it’s not relevant (if it is, you’ll know that and you’ll keep using it). Plus, it takes up valuable email real estate.

Replace it with a mix of the following nine elements to get a combination that works for you.

1. Your name

Not everybody does this automatically. In fact, many don’t use anything — no name, no signature, no nothing.

2. Author, your book title

Mine might read: Author, Get Your Book in the News: How to Write a Press Release That Announces Your Book.

Do you have several books? Don’t list all of the titles. It’s visually overwhelming and not necessary. Go with your most recent release.

3. Very short description of your book

You have probably mastered this already as an answer to “What’s your book about?” Keep it short — “A paranormal romance novel for young adults” or “A content marketing primer for small businesses.”

4. Book-related URL

Do you want to send people directly to your listing on a retail site, or do you want them to visit your website? If your goal is to sell books, use a sales page URL.

5. Call to action

Tell them what you want them to do: “Read the reviews on Amazon” or “Sign up for a free project management newsletter” or “Learn more about 101 Ways to Annoy Your Neighbor.” Include the link they need to take action.

6. Your book’s cover

I can’t be the only one who loves seeing book covers in author email signatures. You can do this in Outlook and Gmail.

email signature 2
Image by Photo Mix from Pixabay

7. Links to your social media profiles

You can go all in, displaying network icons as graphics linked to your account profile, or you can keep it simple with a link added to the social network name. If you have an active and popular YouTube channel, link to that, too.

8. Phone number

Don’t hide behind email. Make it easy for people to call you.

9. Your domain name email address

Use your website domain name — authorname@authorwebsite.com — not your generic Gmail or internet service provider address. Your domain address is so much more professional.

Automate and update

Set up your email software to add your signature automatically to new messages and replies.

Pay attention to what others include in their signatures, too. What do you like? What doesn’t work for you? Update your new power signature accordingly.

Revisit yours periodically, too, to replace links or language, and to test new components.

What do you do with your signature that’s effective? Please tell us in a comment!

(Editor’s note: This article was first published in February 2013. It has been updated and expanded.)

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  1. Hi Sandra.

    As usual, your advice is pragmatic and solid! Here’s my new e-mail signature. Thank you for helping me develop effective marketing techniques. Take care.


    Marianne Perry
    Writing inspired by genealogical research to solve family mysteries
    and understand family dynamics. Author of The Inheritance.

    1. You’re in luck, then, Cleo because jazzing up your e-mail signature doesn’t require any social networking knowledge!

      To learn how to use social media effectively, read a book or two. Then start slowly while watching how other people do it. The trick is to find good role models.

      Good luck!

  2. Thank you Sandra! I had let the “About Me” website con me into using an email signature that used a tiny link to my profile to pull clickers onto their website. This is much better. The book cover does appear small over where it ends “Learn more,” and the sites have links I do not see popping up here as pasted in the comment. But it is a huge and much-needed makeover!

    Much appreciated,

    Visit at Kalisha.com.
    Subscribe to her Blog.
    Like on Facebook.
    Follow on Twitter.

    St. Martin’s Press, May 2016
    “An emotional and expressive novel about family, obligation and community.” -Bookpage

    Learn More.

  3. I have no idea how to add a signature that will appear on each of my emails without having to rekey it each time. Perhaps that feature isn’t a part of my email service, Juno. I’d looked through all the helps and files and can’t find it. I hope I do because I like this.

  4. Sandra, I am flooded with digital marketing advice from dozens of Google-sent marketers on a daily basis but YOU are the most targeted and helpful even if I am not following up due to my digital NON diligence! Blame my non technical hate-computer mind! But I have written 20 successful books! all promoted by in-person media interviews NOT computers. I know I have to change or give up writing. If you can afford the time, please go to http://www.lynhancock.com to see my last book TABASCO THE SAUCY RACCOON (all my books are written about my varied life, this one as Mother Theresa of the Wild Animal World, this time with orphan raccoons, other times with cougars, bears, apes, sealions et al. What do you suggest? Lyn the Digital Dunce.

    1. Congratulations on your success, Lyn! You emailed me about this in March and I responded. Maybe my message landed in your spam folder?


  5. So much to do before launching the next book!

    I know these things – keep reading posts reminding me – but the energy to DO them (I have ME/CFS) comes at the expense of writing, and I’m slow enough there already (really slow – 15 years for the first book in the mainstream trilogy, 7 so far for the second – though I do hope to finish it this year or early next).

    I’m not averse to paying people to provide the services I could do myself – but find it very difficult to WORK with healthy energetic extroverted go-getters to set them up, correct, deal with on-going. Without spending huge amounts simply because I can’t keep up.

    Haven’t figured that one out yet but will have to try when the second is finished, because I can either plow right into the writing of the third book OR I can relearn marketing and ads and publicity. Book 1 is about to get its 51st review, and I have spent hours on writing the kind of email to reviewers that has gotten me about a 50% return.

    My key requirement is that the marketing, etc., people commit to the book. Not professionally – that is basic and expected – but personally. Because this trilogy is that kind of work.

    I’m sure I’ll find them. As a disabled person, I won’t be able to help a lot, but the story I have crafted should.

    We’ll see.

    1. Alicia, the good news here is that spiffing up your email signature will only take minutes. That’s certainly something you can do yourself.

      I’m happy to hear you’ve found success with snagging reviews for that first book! I’m sure you’ll be able to replicate that with #2. Congratulations!


      1. You’d think so, wouldn’t you?

        But it wouldn’t be my personal gmail address (though that’s available on my writing site), because I use that mostly for personal mail.

        And I don’t have a newsletter, nor do I write emails FROM either the book’s blog or my writing blog. Most of my communication is in the comments on the writing blog, so no place to use it there. Readers of the blog who sign up automatically get sent an email with posts by WordPress. I’ll see if I can do something at the beginning or end of those emails. But most of those readers already know who I am and, if they were going to buy Book 1, have already done so.

        That all has to be set up first – maybe one of these days!

        I laugh at how primitive I am forced to be. Another reason I would drive a ‘team’ mad.

        Meanwhile, I store every idea somewhere. It’s a very full vault. Dreaming is free.

        1. This advice is perfect for personal email use, but I can appreciate that not everyone wants to do that.


  6. Hi Sandy,

    I create an email signature with all the key info, social media icons, and a banner to promote my upcoming workshops and other programs, sometimes with a tie-in to a holiday or special observance. Over the years I’ve used different programs to create these. Currently I use https://newoldstamp.com
    I love having all the key info folks need to make contact right there at the bottom of my email.

    1. Thanks, Flora. I found that resource when I was researching this article but opted not to include it because it’s for multi-employee businesses and isn’t free. Which plan do you have?


  7. Awesome advice! I will be adding a CTA and will tinker with the social media icons. While I LOVE seeing the book covers on emails, when I added them to my signature they were flagged by gmail as dangerous and not to be opened, so had to take them down.

    I will also be adding a link to my media kit, since many of my emails go to podcasters and the press.

    Never underestimate the power of your signature. Thanks for another great post!

    1. Thanks so much for the feedback on images! I wonder why that happens. One of my writer friends always includes a magazine cover in her signature (the magazine with her most recent article) and it comes through fine for me, but when I email one of my clients with my website URL in my signature, it gets blocked! So…I have a custom signature for them. Crazy, right?


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