Where are your readers?


Now that you've answered the question of "Who is your reader?", it's time to go and find them. One thing to keep in mind is that you aren't seeking out your readers to sell to them. Your primary goal should be engagement. I realize that's easier said than done.

At the recent Book2 Un-Conference, discoverability was a large topic of discussion. Porter Anderson (@Porter_Anderson) tweeted this: The time required to build community engagement is a big consideration, it's not quick. Engagement is not an advertising drive-by. You can't stop in, saturate the community with book plugs, and run out. It's widely believed that this kind of spam marketing kills unicorns. So, unless you want to be like Voldemort and murder unicorns...
Source
Yeah, I didn't think so. Just try to remember the WAM principle and think about how you'd want authors to engage with you.

Now on to the good stuff. Where are your readers?

1. Google
This may seem like an overly simple suggestion, but it is kinda genius that way. Pull up your Google search bar and type in "your genre readers". I've tried this with several different genres and found great results, everything from reader forums to release blogs and newsletters.

Once you've found your groups you can take two routes. One is to sign up and join in the discussion as a reader. I have to assume that you read in the genre you write in. If not, this is a problem. Another option is to contact the administrator of these sites. Can you offer your services as a content contributor? Do they host author interviews? Alert their members to contests and giveaways? Get familiar with the content and figure out if there is a place for you.

2. Book Clubs
As of writing this, Goodreads has 2921 book clubs listed. Some of these are huge groups of thousands of readers and other are small groups. You can also use the same tactic as above and search in Google for "your genre book club". Book clubs are ideal people to market your book to. Here are people who love books so much, they like to read them and then sit around talking about them. Yeah!

Joining a bunch of book clubs is going to be outside of what most of us can do. That said, there are still plenty of ways to engage. Contact the leader of a club and offer them some free copies of your book. If that's not feasible, why not offer a Google chat or Skype call. Even if the group decides not to read your book, you've gotten your work in front of an influential reader.

3. Social Media
No list of places to find your reader would be complete without mentioning social media. My best piece of advice here is to pick the platforms you enjoy using and stick with those. There are a ton of platforms and new ones crop up all the time. By all means, check them out, but don't try to be everywhere. Spreading yourself too thin means your time spent will be less effective.

Chuck Sambuchino has a great chapter about social media in his book Create your Writer Platform. One of his best tips is to understand the different uses of the different platforms. People tend to use sites like Facebook to connect socially where Twitter users are looking for more value heavy content.

To find your readers, act like a reader. As I mentioned before, you should be reading in your own genre. Did you just finish a great book? Share that on social media and don't forget to use keywords and hashtags that let others see what your talking about. Just, don't go crazy with the hashtags. By engaging with other readers who you know already enjoy your genre, they will be open to the occasional plug for your own work.

These are my top tips, but now I want to hear from you. Where do you find readers?