Welcome to an entire month of Top 5 Tips for Authors!
Every day this month my friends and I will bring you a new set of Top 5 Tips to help you along on your author journey. 2017 was a year of change in the Indie author world for sure. So many happenings. So many new things to learn. So many old things that didn’t quite do what you’d hoped. Well, every day is a new day. And every year is a new year. So we hope that this month’s worth of tips will get you the kick start you need to make 2018 your best yet and please feel free to ask questions and leave comments.
Julia Kent is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of crazy romantic comedy that pushes buttons and boundaries. She lives in New England but isn’t a Patriots fan, and that means she channels all her disappointment in rooting for the Browns (see? comedic, right? you’re laughing hysterically… at me) into her books. Her Shopping for a Billionaire series features a smart, klutzy woman who meets a billionaire in a bathroom after dropping her phone in the toilet. Kind of like watching the Browns fumble something. You can find out how little she really knows football at http://www.jkentauthor.com and on Facebook at: http://www.facebook.com/jkentauthor
Authors hear a lot about establishing your “platform.” Finding your core 1,000 or 10,000 readers to sustain a career. “Breaking out” and being able to live off you backlist plus new releases. The goal: to “make it,” however you define that term, so you don’t have to work as hard and can enjoy a more stable writing and business life.
Once you develop a solid base of readers who will auto-buy your books, congratulations! You’ve made it!
But guess what?
You always need to find more readers.
Sorry, authors. There is no magic number that lets you “set it and forget it” in the self-publishing business. There is no Autopilot on our retailer dashboards or Facebook pages. If there were, trust me:
I’d one-click the hell out of it.
In lieu of that, here are five top tips for finding new readers:
1 RESPOND TO EVERY EMAIL and SOCIAL MEDIA MESSAGE
Any reader who reaches out to you in email or on social media is a hot lead. Whether they’ve bought every single book you’ve ever written or are brand new, that direct contact is critical. They took the time to seek you out. Do them the courtesy of replying enthusiastically.
*tip does not apply to trolls, negative criticism, and/or dick pics
2 ASK YOUR EXISTING READERS
Your current readers are your best business asset. I’ll say it louder for the folks in the back.
YOUR CURRENT READERS ARE YOUR BIGGEST ASSET!!!!!!!!
They have friends. They love your books. Some of their friends will like your books, too! “Mavens” are those super readers of yours who take your new release book cover and turn it into a profile pic. They gush about you. They tag you on all those blogger Facebook contests asking for book suggestions. They nominate you for “best of” lists.
Your Mavens are your super-biggest asset. You want to ask them to help spread the word about your books. Motivate them. Make them feel good about being part of your little world. Cultivate Mavens.
Because Mavens are *awesome*. Mavens are superfans, and their energy is awe-inspiring. The more you connect with your current readers, the more you will figure out who your Mavens are. Treat them with love and care.
And ask them to sing about your books to find new readers.
3 CROSS-PROMOTE WITH SIMILAR AUTHORS
This one is all-important. Way back two centuries ago in self-publishing terms (by which I mean 2011 and 2012…), cross-promo was one of the few ways we could spread the word about our books. Now we have paid advertising options, loads of bloggers who pick and choose the books they review, Facebook/AMS/Bookbub/etc. ads, and so on, but the tried and true method of cross-promotion with an author whose books are similar to yours is one of the best ways to find a new reader.
A caveat: you have credibility with *your* readers. They offer you a kind of legitimacy you don’t want to destroy. Don’t recommend books by fellow authors for the *wrong* reasons. If you’re cross-promoting, make sure the book you’re recommending really will appeal to *your* readers. They trust you.
4 RUN A CONTEST, but…*
* make the prize reading related.
Rafflecopter, King Sumo, your own informal newsletter/Facebook/Twitter/etc. announcement — whatever you use to run a contest, make sure you do two things: follow the law, and make the prize reading-related. You are trying to find new *readers*, not new prize seekers.
5 PAY FOR ADS TO BOOK LOVERS
Notice how I didn’t just say, “paid advertising”? There’s a reason: generic paid advertising won’t help you find a new *reader*. Your goal in paying to spread the word about your books is to find readers who will love your books.
My audience is different, for instance, than JA Huss’s. Yes, there will be overlap, but my romantic comedy books are very different from, say, 3-2-1. Or Andy Weir’s The Martian. Or or or….
Don’t make the mistake of casting a wide net with limited advertising dollars and expecting great returns. Narrow your paid advertising to try to catch as many readers who match your *current* reading audience. Expand from there.
And the most important aspect of paid ads: Know Your Why.
Why are you advertising? What’s your purpose? The methods you use for advertising to grab *new* eyeballs are very, very different from those you use to retain existing readers. Tailor your approach accordingly.
Finding new readers is key to success. You’ll lose some readers over time, via attrition, changing tastes, lack of communications, changing technology — you name it. The key to keeping an audience big enough to support your books is to constantly search for new readers — new fans, ideally.
HERE’S THE OTHER TIPS IF YOU MISSED THEM!
SET GOALS TO WIN (Viv Arend)
BE MORE CREATIVE (Violet Vaughn)
WRITE MORE BOOKS (JA Huss)
CREATE GREAT CHARACTERS (Brenna Aubrey)
BUILDING WORLDS (Blair Babylon)
BUILD A STRONG BRAND (Cora Seton)
WRITING FOR TV & FILM (Johnathan McClain)
FINDING YOUR FANS (JA Huss)
GET DISCOVERED (Deanna Chase)
FIND AUTHOR FRIENDS (Deanna Chase)
HOST A KICK-ASS GIVEAWAY (Blair Babylon)
GIVE BACK. FREELY (JA Huss)
LAUNCH YOUR FIRST BOOK (JA Huss)
STAND OUT IN A CROWD (Julia Kent)
BE YOURSELF ( Blair Babylon)
KILLING IMPOSTOR SYNDROME (JA Huss)
DEADLINES & DREAMING (JA Huss)
SPICE UP YOUR SEXY SCENES (Lilia Moon)
MEASURING SUCCESS (JA Huss)
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