One thing I’m still continuing to understand as an author, is how to build a large following of readers. There are so many channels where you can reach a new range of readers: email lists, Facebook likes, Instagram and Twitter follows to name a few. What I also do is research and observe other authors, I watch those who’s following seems to increase with pace and substance, and I try to understand what they are doing so that I can continually learn and develop my own following as a result.
Do they pay for services to help build their following, do they pay for software that can automate their messages or are they just continually active on all social media channels and actively finding opportunities to create interest in a broad audience? The answer is probably yes, to at least one or two of these questions.
Whatever the answer, there is a commitment to building that following and it is something that clearly links to sales and book performance.
So do authors really need to become marketers to be successful?
Of course! Even if you are lucky enough to have a good publisher with an established reputation, readers are investing in your books and you as the author. If you want them to follow your work, they need to see a piece of you as a part of that package. Learning about how to build your public author image on social media is probably the very first thing you need to do as a new author. Then you need to make sure that the public find your profile.
Another valuable piece of advice someone gave me at the very start of my own author journey was that you cannot just keep posting about your own book. That gets boring and will quickly turn your following away. As an author you need to find ways to communicate different aspects of your writing story, your book, your interests and perhaps even other books you read and enjoy. Readers want to see who is behind the book, and they want to find interest in what you do and think. Just posting ‘buy my book’ won’t help your cause.
It was that advice alone that prompted me to set up my author website, make my book reviews part of my blog, and to just write my thoughts and experiences in different blog posts. It was all new to me at the start, but as I started to build a rhythm around my posts and I received comments and notes from people all over the world, I knew that this was my way of connecting to my readers and building a platform to attract a wide audience.
Essentially, every author is different, and my advice is to find ways to market yourself that you are comfortable with and go for it. Tell your story, but in a different way; a way that will bring readers to your book and following your future publications with anticipation.
Good luck and go for it!