I know you’re probably asking yourself WTF is a reagger? Well, a reagger is a reader/blogger. Yeah, I made it up. Now pay me. I’ve been in this game long enough to make a few casual observations about how successful authors grow their readership and fan base. I’m not necessarily talking sales, although that is a major component, but I’m speaking more specifically to engagement. Readers love authors who don’t take them for granted. Bloggers love authors who don’t pimp them solely for promoting their work. This is in no way the holy grail of growing your readership, but merely are a few things that I have picked up along the way. Let’s get started:
1. Create a mailing list. And use it! Mailing lists are the perfect way to reel in readers because we feel like we’re getting something of value that no one else knows about. Don’t just post a link saying “Join my mailing list.” Nope. I will keep it moving. Tell me why I should sign up. Will you offer exclusive content? Free reads? Contests just for subscribers? We, the readers, love that shit! We want in on what you’re up to. Like you, we also have busy lives and can’t always keep up with you on social media, so a monthly or bi-monthly update is the perfect way to summarize everything you’ve got going on. Did I mention that we love exclusives? Your mailing list is where you announce all the good things to come before you share it on your social media accounts.
2. Start a blog. And update it at least once a week! This is where you begin to share all the stuff you’ve put in your newsletter. It doesn’t have to be a two-page post. A simple, yet precise, paragraph or two letting your readers know what you’re up to is all that it takes. Even more important: Make sure your posts link to your other social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, and Google+ so you can kill multiple birds with one stone. That way, everything gets updated at once and touches hundreds at a time. I personally do this faithfully because I know people have their preferred social media and may not subscribe to or check my blog for updates.
Also, this is where you post snippets and longer teasers of your work in progress, and I can’t stress enough: Don’t forget to link, link, link! Your blog should contain all your social media links, as well as links to where we can purchase your books. Even sweeter, freebies! There’s not a more effective way to reel in a reader than offering a free read-no matter the length. Who doesn’t like free shit?
3. Don’t just engage with your readers when you’re pimping your newest release. We hate that shit! There’s nothing worse for a reader than feeling used. We’re not saying you have to be on Facebook or Twitter every day, but we do like to see your “face” every now and then. We know you have lives, as do we, but we don’t mind knowing what’s going on with you when you aren’t writing. In between books but not sure what to do? Have a flash giveaway. Like I said, we love free shit! It doesn’t have to be anything extravagant. A $5.00 Amazon gift card is gold to a reader. Personalized merchandise is relatively cheap to come by, and we’d love to have a mug or bookmark of our favorite story. Share your inspirations for your latest release. Create a vision board or post trivia about your work. We love to know the story behind the story.
4. Form a working relationship with bloggers. I’m not saying that you have to be my BFF, but book blogs can be some of your best advertising, or your worst enemy, especially if they have a huge readership. Bloggers want to know when you’re having a new release or blog tour because this is how we operate our business too. We want exclusives just as much as the next reader. I’m not saying we want free books (Although some do, but I’m not going there), but we do want to be in the know ahead of time so that we can plan. Most bloggers have a dedicated schedule, and their blog posts are often queued sometimes weeks in advance, so keep that in mind when you have a new release or tour when you want the blogger to participate.
5. Support other authors. I cannot tell you how many new authors I’ve discovered this way. Your retweets, Facebook comments, and Google+ likes are a tremendous asset to other authors, bloggers, and readers. Karma is a mutha, and when you support others, it comes back to you ten-fold.
6. Book release parties, guest blogging, and blog takeovers. Do you know how many authors I’ve met and discovered this way? A lot! Facebook is perfect for this, and some of my faves have been very successful this way. Parties and takeovers are also a great way to network with other authors who have readers who may not know you. Even if you aren’t a participant, your presence still speaks volumes. Commenting is a powerful tool, especially if your icon is a photo of your latest or upcoming release. Having “author” in front of your name also helps too.
So these are my pick six (Football fans, see what I did there…). Again, this is just a sampling. You thought writing the book was the hard part lol, nah…that’s nothing compared to all the marketing and effort that goes in to making sure people just even consider reading it!
Authors are so clever and ingenious when it comes to marketing their books. If you have a few tips, please share them in the comments. Remember, karma, karma, karma, karma, karma chameleon….