How to Create an Illustrated Reader Magnet: A Step-by-Step Guide

How to create an illustrated reader magnet

by | Mar 1, 2023

Last Updated:
Feb 25, 2023

Are you an author looking for a way to build your email list and connect with your readers? A reader magnet can help! A reader magnet is a free offer that you give to your readers in exchange for their email address. This can be a sample of your writing, a short story, or a special bonus that’s only available to subscribers. But how can you make your reader magnet stand out from the rest? By creating an illustrated reader magnet! In this article, we’ll go over the steps you need to take to create an illustrated reader magnet that will attract and engage your readers.

Step 1: Identify your target audience

Before you start creating your illustrated reader magnet, you need to know who your target audience is. What kind of readers are you trying to attract? What are their interests and preferences? This information will help you create a reader magnet that resonates with your audience.

For example, if you write romance novels, your target audience may be women in their 20s to 50s who enjoy reading about love and relationships. If you write mysteries, your target audience may be men and women of all ages who enjoy solving puzzles and unraveling clues. Once you know who your target audience is, you can start brainstorming ideas for your illustrated reader magnet.

Step 2: Choose your topic and format for the reader magnet

Now that you know your target audience, you can start thinking about what topic and format would be most appealing to them. The topic should be related to your genre and should offer value to your readers. Some ideas for topics include:

  • A short story featuring your main characters
  • A behind-the-scenes look at your writing process
  • A guide to your world-building or character development techniques
  • An exclusive first chapter (or more!) of your upcoming book
  • A printable coloring page featuring your book cover or characters

The format of your reader magnet should also be visually appealing and easy to consume. A PDF is a popular choice for reader magnets, as it can be easily downloaded and read on any device. However, you may also want to consider creating a video, infographic, or interactive quiz, depending on your topic and audience.

Reader magnets help readers discover your writing

Of course, this post is about creating an illustrated reader magnet, not just a general one. So what sort of topics work well for that? Ideas that work great for an illustrated reader magnet include:

  • Illustrated character sheets
  • An illustrated introduction to the world of your story or real places featured in it
  • A cartoon or graphic novel that relates to your story or could introduce your characters/world
  • Great art that relates to your story or genre

Try to find something that your ideal reader would enjoy and also relates to your story. Does your story involve a lot of travel? Then a “travel guide” with pictures or illustrations might work great. If it features a lot of food or festivals, then something like a cookbook could work, if that is something your target reader would find fascinating. Be creative to find something that stands out, would interest a reader, and make them want to pick up what you’ve created.

Step 3: Create your illustrations

Now it’s time to start creating your illustrations! If you’re an artist, you may be able to create the illustrations yourself. However, if you’re not confident in your artistic skills, you can hire a professional illustrator to create the illustrations for you. There are many places to look for artists from Fiverr to freelance platforms like Upwork or even on Reedsy!

When creating your illustrations, make sure they are high-quality and visually appealing. They should also be relevant to your topic and genre. For example, if you write fantasy novels, your illustrations may feature mythical creatures or magical landscapes. If you write contemporary romance, your illustrations may feature couples in romantic settings. Remember to not only tie your images into things that would attract your target reader but also related to your novel. The stronger you link the illustrations to your story, the more likely you’ll build curiosity and interest in the reader, which is the whole point of a reader magnet.

Step 4: Design your illustrated reader magnet layout

Once you have your illustrations, it’s time to design your layout. This is where you bring all of the elements together to create a visually appealing reader magnet. You can use design software like Canva or Adobe InDesign to create your layout, or you can hire a professional designer to do it for you. Again, places like Fiverr, Upwork, Freelancer, and Reedsy can help you find someone with the skills to help you.

When designing your layout, make sure to use colors and fonts that are consistent with your brand. You may also want to include your author name and book titles on the cover of your reader magnet, so that readers can easily identify it as coming from you. At the very least, have a section in the interior on who you are and what you write along with links to where to find your books.

An illustrated reader magnet might help you stand out from the crowd

Step 5: Write your content

Now that you have your illustrations and layout, it’s time to write your content. Your content should be informative and engaging, and should provide value to your readers. Make sure to proofread your content for spelling and grammar errors, as these can be a turn-off for readers.

Just like when you are writing your novel, don’t just make your reader magnet an info dump. Consider that this might be the first time the reader has even discovered your writing. You want it to intrigue them and make them curious enough to check out your full novel. Write in an engaging style even if what you are sharing is worldbuilding information. Consider ways to make it fun, like creating a travel diary if you are featuring worldbuilding information. Or just an illustrated diary of one of the characters if another genre.

It also doesn’t hurt to add in a chapter or more of your novel at the end of your reader magnet to entice the reader to check out the full story. Don’t forget those links on where to find your novel!


Creating something unique that your target audience will enjoy and that ties with your story will help the audience decide if they want to pick up your full novel. Make sure it is high quality with engaging writing, well edited, and well drawn images or photos so that the reader will know your book is equally well crafted.

Once you have your reader magnet completed, created a signup form on your website or through your mailing list provider. Put links to it on your social media profiles and share about it as well. You can also join author swaps on such platforms as Bookfunnel and Story Origins or even find Facebook groups related to your genre. Be patient as it can take some time to get traction. Reach out to other authors in your genre who share a similar target audience and you’ll start to find new readers soon!

Want to see an example a fantasy illustrated reader magnet? Pick up our free Reader’s Library and see our illustrated worldbuilding bible, the Worlds of Ylécium, for inspiration! If you have questions, let us know in the comments. And if you have questions on book marketing such as how to use a reader magnet to attract new readers, sign up for our FREE Skill Booster: Content Marketing Without Paid Ads or take a peek at our Self Publishing Success course!


Autumn is a best selling indie author, conservationist, & world traveler with plans for many more adventures both real and fantastical! She is currently settled in the wilds of Maine with her small dragonish dog and husband, searching for a portal to another world.

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Written by: Autumn

Autumn is a best selling indie author, conservationist, & world traveler with plans for many more adventures both real and fantastical! She is currently settled in the wilds of Maine with her small dragonish dog and husband, searching for a portal to another world.

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