Everyone author’s first question revolves around the question, “Where can I connect with readers?” There are many different types of readers, and many avenues for connecting with them. Below you’ll find a few quick suggestions, and some of them actually require you to back away from your computer and get outside.
Reaching Digital Readers
Readers who enjoy ereaders can usually be found online or, of course, on their ereaders. That is where you’ll need to be in order to connect with them.
- Social Media: Twitter, Facebook, Stumble Upon, Pinterest. Remember, you must interact with people and build relationships. Just posting your book and disappearing is not enough to entice most readers.
- Include a link to each of your books, or your Amazon Author Page at the end of our published ebook. You have a targeted audience one click away
- Put your blog on Amazon for Kindle via an RSS feed https://kindlepublishing.amazon.com
- Join blogs and forums where readers hang out and get to know them. Don’t post a link to your book and leave. No one will read your book just because you post it on a page. Build relationships with readers, read their posts and really “hear” what they are saying about books. Spend time connecting. A simple link to your site or Amazon page as a signature line will bring organic clicks once people get to know you—no need for a big picture of your book, either. That can be a major turn off for readers. After all, they are in the group to discuss books, not to be solicited to. Be careful not to spam them, and be careful not to be fooled by indie author groups have no readers other than the authors that are promoting their own work. Do your research before spending your time there
- Ads are for exposure, not necessarily sales, but exposure leads to sales, so they are a vital part of most marketing plans. Advertise outside of your normal realm to cover areas that you do not already have a presence. Look for sites where readers gather and discuss books—again, a ready audience.
Reaching Paperback and Hardback Readers
These are hardcore readers who sometimes believe that ebooks aren’t real books. They love the feel of a good book, the way they can flip the pages forward and back without hunting for a button. They can walk next door to their neighbors and lend physical books. I’m a paperback lover, and my favorite part of reading them is not only flipping back to read really well written sections, but also gazing at the cover after I’ve finished the book and tying it to the content.
- I’ve already noted that ads are for exposure, but again, they are vital for reaching readers. The typical reader must see or hear about a book 3-5 times before they’ll purchase it. Advertising is a necessary evil. It can be expensive but in the long run, will be worthy. Try splitting the cost of an ad with a friend. There is no immediate landing page, so you can list “Available at Amazon and Barnes and Noble” and both books can be easily found.
- Get out and talk to people—everywhere. Bring bookmarks with you that have a pic of your book and a one sentence tagline, along with your email address, website, and “Available on Amazon and B&N” or other retail outlets. Strike up conversations in bookstores, cafes, the grocery store. Everywhere you go, you have another chance to spread the word about your book.
- Donate your books to libraries and offer to do a reading or a signing.
- Hold a party at a local restaurant or store that is themed similar to a theme in your book and offer your books for sale at a table during the event
- Connect with book clubs online and offer to Skype the group to discuss your book if they choose to read it. It’s nice to send along a bit of swag and a book to raffle off as well.
- Choose a topical issue in your book and query your local newspaper or magazines about writing an article about that issue. That would not be a sales pitch for your book, but rather include your three line bio with a link to your website at the end of the article. If you write a great article, many readers will probably look you up online and if your website is well done, it will lead them to your Amazon page.
To find your readers, you have to think like a reader. Determine your target audience, then put together a marketing plan to reach them with as little wasted effort as possible, because you are a writer, not a marketing representative. Work smarter not just harder.
Article written by Melissa Foster, founder of Fostering Success, where she helps authors navigate publishing and book marketing, the World Literary Café, a literary community, and The Women’s Nest, a social and support site for women. Melissa is also a community builder for theAlliance for Independent Authors, and a bestselling, award-winningauthor.