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How to create an author lead magnet?

Updated: Dec 13, 2022

What is an author lead magnet?

An author lead magnet is where you offer a free gift in exchange for them joining your mailing list. Creating a lead magnet is highly beneficial when making your mailing list from the ground up, you are effectively offering them free content in order to open the door into your world. You are Leading them to subscribe to your mailing list and later convert them into customers.

A lead magnet is a great way to connect with your potential readers and show them that you aren’t all about just selling your book even though that's your ultimate goal as an author.

So I can hear you asking yourself whether you really need a lead magnet. If your ultimate goal is to sell books years later and be able to notify potential customers of your latest release you need a lead magnet.

Not sure where to start?

This could vary hugely depending on whether you write fiction or nonfiction, down to individual genres. I highly recommend looking at your potential competition and market trends. Sign up to some of your competitions' mailing lists and see what they offer as their lead magnet, if you are writing Romance you would see if those that currently have bestseller status are offering any lead magnets for signing up to their mailing list. Conducting market research is vital to allow you to access what possible lead magnets may work.

Take a look at our blog post "The Best Mailing List Platforms For Authors." To help get you started.

Things you can offer as your lead magnet.

There are many things you can offer as your lead magnet and here at Wingfield Designs, we will take you through a few options.

  • A free e-book. This gives the potential customer insight into your writing style. You could use book one in a series that ends on a Cliffhanger this would entice them to feel the need to read more. If you do this, include a link to the following book, by doing this you are making it easier for the reader. In the indie world, this is by far one of the most popular lead magnets used.

  • A short story. This is one of the easiest leads to create especially for new authors, you don’t even need to be a published author to create one. Ensure that the short story is of a high standard and really draws the reader in and you will be sure to convert them into book buyers.

  • The first chapter of one of your books. This is an amazing way to entice your readers, if they love the first chapter of your story they are much more likely to want to read the rest of it and buy the whole story. Again be sure to add the purchase link at the end to make it convenient for the reader.

  • Bonus Chapters. This is a great one for those that have already released a novel, you are giving the reader bonus material and engaging with them further after they have already read one of your novels.

You don't have to stick to just one lead magnet, you can use a combination of magnets or swap and change as your writing develops.

As an example, you could use a short story for those signing up via your website but then have the bonus chapter at the end of the novel they have read in exchange for signing up to your mailing list.

Where should I place my lead magnet?

Well let's face it if you were to place your lead magnet on the terms and conditions page of your website it really isn’t likely to get much attention so where can you place your lead magnet so that it will be effective?

  1. In the front of your book. If you place your lead magnet in the front of your novel before the introduction it is likely to be seen before the reader has even started your book. This also means that with Amazon’s “Look Inside” feature potential customers will have the chance to sign up to your lead magnet without even making a purchase.

  2. In the back matter of your book. You can include your lead magnet on the back matter of your book, once the reader has finished with your book it allows them the option to sign up for your mailing list. Hopefully, they've enjoyed it and can’t wait to read more.

  3. Somewhere visible on your website. The best place is on your homepage, be this as a pop-up feature or as a large banner when the reader hits your homepage. You want to ensure that there is no way that it can be missed. You can also place it in multiple places on your website as they navigate through however most people will land on the homepage, before diverting elsewhere on your website.

  4. On your author profile on amazon (And every other author profile such as Goodreads).

  5. Social media platforms. Facebook will also allow you to have a call to action button so you can include it here.

  6. Any promotional material such as bookmarks, business cards, and postcards. There is now the use of QR Codes which make it even easier for customers. You could use a QR code on your bookmarks so that when they scan it, it takes them directly to your sign-up page.

  7. Include it in your email signature.

  8. Ask your bloggers to share it on your behalf.

Take a look below of some authors Lead Magnets:




How can you deliver your lead magnet?

So you’ve followed all our steps to creating the perfect lead magnet, but how do you deliver it? Remember this has to be simple and nothing over-complicated or people really won't bother. You must ensure all your links are working and people are able to download the content, else you could get a big surprise when you receive a large number of emails from readers that didn’t receive their free content. Here are some recommendations that will allow your lead magnet to run themselves (If set up correctly in the first place).


Bookfunnel is one of the cheapest and easiest ways to deliver your lead magnet. It allows you to create and customise a landing page with its easy-to-use tools. When readers sign up for your mailing list on your website, you send them the BookFunnel download link in your automated email which will allow them to download their book.



Mailerlite will allow you to set up a landing page, they have a wide range of templates available for you free of charge for the first 1000 subscribers and it is relatively easy to set up. By using the landing pages available via Mailerlite, you can direct them to either a drop box to download the file or your website.

Youtube video with how to by MailerLite


This is another paid service however it is a little pricier than those featured above. You can choose to pay monthly or annually. However annually will work out cheaper in the long run. Even though a little more expensive this is a very efficient way to send your lead magnet as soon as the form is filled out.

If you would like to know more about how to send a lead magnet via LeadPages you can check it out on there own website here.

Want to learn more about how to effectively build your mailing list? You can read our blog post “Top Tips for Building An Author Mailing List”.

You can follow our blog posts via My Wix or feel free to sign up for our Newsletter, where we are now giving away a FREE book launch checklist!

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