Using Magnets to Attract Readers

Using Magnets to Attract Readers
Terry Odell

Reader MagnetSince everyone’s probably busy with holiday prep (unless you’re like me and your holiday is over), gift giving is or was part of the mix. Today, I’m talking about gifts authors can give to readers. Reader Magnets.

Saturday, Patricia Bradley’s post addressed newsletters. Unlike social media, newsletters lists are one tool we can control. We “own” that content. If a social media platform disappears (anyone remember MySpace?), we’ve lost that audience and have no way to get in touch with our previous followers.

A reader magnet is designed to reward people for signing up for your newsletter. It can be a short story, a full-length novel, a sampler—anything that connects to your genre and would have subscribers wanting more. When someone signs up, they’re given their gift.

How should you deliver these magnets, and what form should they take?
My preference is always to make it as easy as possible on both ends.

First, you need a signup form, preferably a dedicated/landing page on your website. That way, you can link everything to that place.

Next, you want as many paths to your signup process as possible. I start with a simple signup link in my email signature line. I have signup forms on my website as well. And the dreaded popup. Everyone says they hate them, but they work, as I discovered once I got over my personal prejudice and added one.

But what I really came to talk about was the magnet itself. I have one main magnet—two short stories set in my Blackthorne, Inc. universe, featuring the head of the company.

I chose to deliver it in three formats: epub, mobi, and PDF. That way, the end user gets to choose the format, and you’re likely to satisfy more readers. Nobody wants something they can’t read. Although Amazon now wants manuscripts delivered in epub, the mobi format is still out there and (last I heard), lets readers sideload onto Kindle devices.

My least ‘favorite’ format is PDF. It’s a picture. You can’t do anything with it, and reading on a small device like a cellphone is next-to-impossible for me, especially if the offering is more than a few pages. But the takeaway here is you are not necessarily your reader, so I offer it for those who like it.

How do I create these formats? I use Draft2Digital’s free formatting service. They don’t require you put your book for sale, and they do a fine job of converting a Word document into mobi and epub. For PDF, I simply take my Word Doc and do a “Save As … PDF” and it works fine. D2D will convert to PDF as well, but for whatever reason, if you have a color image as your ‘cover’, it comes out in black and white.

BookFunnelNow that I have these three formats, I need a way to deliver them to my subscribers. I use BookFunnel. I’m sure many here are familiar with the platform, but in case anyone isn’t here’s a little about it. You need an account, which is easy to set up. Their basic plan is $20/year, so yes, there’s an initial investment, but I’m a firm believer in Do what you’re good at, do what you love, and hire out the rest. One of the perks is that if you’re using their service, and a reader is having trouble with the download process, BookFunnel will help walk them through the process, so you’re out of that time suck.

Once everything’s ready, here’s my basic workflow:

You use the signup form from my website. You’ll get a confirmation and a link to the BookFunnel page for the magnet. You download the book, and you’re added to my newsletter list.

If you’re not already signed up to receive my newsletter and want to see how it works for me, you can try it for yourself here.

(And, since it’s a new provider for me, if there are glitches, I want to hear about them.)

Another pathway to your magnet is BookSweeps. They offer a lot more, but today is magnet day. Readers can find your magnet (along with thousands of others) and when they decide they want it, they’re taken to the book’s page at BookFunnel (since that’s what I’m using) where they can download it, but they have to agree to be added to your newsletter list in order to get it.

But I digress. My focus was supposed to be the magnets themselves, so that’s it for today’s post. If you have questions, leave them in the comments. Feel free to mention other magnet delivery systems as well.

fudgeYou are now free to resume your holiday activities. And if they include food prep, here’s a recipe for a five-minute fudge you can throw together in no time.

This is my last official post of 2021. See everyone on the flip side, and have a wonderful holiday season!

In the Crosshairs by Terry OdellNow available for pre-order. In the Crosshairs, Book 4 in my Triple-D Romantic Suspense series.

Changing Your Life Won’t Make Things Easier
There’s more to ranch life than minding cattle. After his stint as an army Ranger, Frank Wembly loves the peaceful life as a cowboy. Financial advisor Kiera O’Leary sets off to pursue her dream of being a photographer until a car-meets-cow incident forces a shift in plans. Instead, she finds herself in the middle of a mystery, one with potentially deadly consequences.

Terry Odell is an award-winning author of Mystery and Romantic Suspense, although she prefers to think of them all as “Mysteries with Relationships.” Follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

Mystery Movies

As the holidays approach, we may be looking for gifts that appeal to writers. In my house, movies are always welcome. Besides the classics like Sherlock Holmes and Agatha Christie, here are some of my favorites in the mystery genre or movies involving writers. A happy ending is a must for my taste. This list does not include TV series or the Hallmark Channel mystery movie collection.


AMERICAN DREAMER with JoBeth Williams and Tom Conti.
One of my all-time favorites. A romance novelist wins a contest and a trip to Paris. En route to the awards luncheon, she’s in an accident and suffers a head injury. She wakes up believing herself to be the heroine in her favorite books. A spy caper follows that’s all too real, as she teams up with the author’s handsome son who thinks she’s a nutcase. That is, until someone tries to kill them.

DROWNING MONA with Danny DeVito and Bette Midler.
A funny whodunit in a small town with a wacky cast of characters.

GOSFORD PARK with Helen Mirren and Jeremy Northam.
An English drawing room mystery in the grand fashion that takes place at a country estate. Aristocrats and servants alike have secrets that slowly unravel during a hunting party weekend. Albeit a bit slow-paced, this film requires repeat viewings to catch the nuances.

HER ALIBI with Tom Selleck and Paulina Portzkova.
A hilarious escapade wherein mystery novelist Phillip Blackwood falls for a suspected murderess while searching for inspiration to unlock his writer’s block. Did the mysterious and beautiful foreigner have a hand in the victim’s death? If so, is he foolish to vouch for her alibi and bring her home? And are the accidents that ensue truly accidents, or is he next in line for her lethal highjinks?

MANHATTAN MURDER MYSTERY with Woody Allen and Diane Keaton.
A Manhattan housewife thinks her next door neighbor is a murderer. She enlists her friends to search for clues. Probably my favorite Woody Allen film out of all of them.

MURDER 101 with Pierce Brosnan.
English professor Charles Lattimore assigns his class to plan the perfect murder as a literary exercise, but when he’s framed for a woman’s death, he has to find the killer before the detective on the case finds him. Will his students help him solve a real murder, or is one of them guilty?

MURDER BY THE BOOK with Robert Hays.
A mystery novelist thinks he’s hallucinating when his hero appears in front of him and talks back. He’s been thinking of changing to a new series and scrapping the sleuth, but now he needs the fellow’s help to solve a real murder.

THE BOY NEXT DOOR with Dina Meyer and Christopher Russell.
A romance writer goes on a retreat to a small town to seek inspiration for her next story. When her next door neighbor is found dead, the chief of police suspects her. Even when her place is ransacked and someone tries to run her off the road, he discounts her theories and refuses to look into the incidents. It’s up to our heroine to prove her innocence and uncover the killer before his next attack turns fatal.

FLOWER GIRL (Hallmark Channel Movie)
This is a classic romance with an element of mystery. The heroine has to choose between two suitors: a staid lawyer approved by her mother, and a writer who answers evasively whenever she asks about his work. Guess who she’ll pick? The revelation at the end is reminiscent of American Dreamer.

What are some of your favorite films involving murder mysteries or writers? Note: I am on a cruise and will not be able to respond, but you can make suggestions and I’ll check back later.