Wednesday, February 13, 2013

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?

19 comments:

  1. Your advice is great! I've tried to do this but find it's very difficult. The forums with my "readers" are full of people I don't like. Go figure.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Eeek...that's a bummer. No forums for you. :(

      Delete
  2. Someone during the yalitchat on twitter mentioned tumblur is a big hangout for teens. thoughts?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. To be honest, I don't know much about the ins and outs of Tumblr. It's something I'll have to look into more.

      Delete
    2. Oh, Tumblr is huge! Teens (and a lot of young adults) love the drive-by nature of micro-curation. Plus, there are a lot of fun themes, making it visually appealing. You don't have to be on Tumblr to take advantage of it though.

      Sarah, great post!

      Delete
    3. I have seen some great GIF Tumblr sites and a few other good ones, I'm just not sure how to utilize them for marketing without the need to create a site of my own. That's always an option, but I'd prefer not to have another site to manage. :) Any tips for the non-initiated among us?

      Delete
  3. I'll look into the book clubs. Thanks for the suggestion!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Good advice. Now to find the extra hours to find my readers. :) Best get started.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Like Porter said, it is a timely process. But worth it. :)

      Delete
  5. This is something I'm slowly learning as I come to terms with the fact that I'm not the next J.K. Rowling ;) Goodreads sucks up a lot of time, but I do think it is a great place to start. It's rather inundated with small-time authors, but if you can actually connect with the people you are chatting with (that's what sets you apart from spam) then you find some readers. Respond to their posts--don't just scream to the world about your book. Join real discussions, comment on other people's ideas, and get to know them.

    The best thing an author can do is make their readers want to share the book with their friends!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Agreed. I get the impression that a lot of people are either abusing Goodreads or under utilizing it (me!)

      Delete
  6. Tumblr is something I want to explore further.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Me, too. The wheels are spinning on maybe a new series of posts on the different media sites and the best ways to utilize them as writers to connect with readers. Definitely need to do a bunch of research on this one. :)

      Delete
  7. I'm just starting out with Twitter (just added you), and I liked the point here that the message on each social media platform might be slightly different to connect better on those platforms. I'm still trying to figure out how to have those different accounts and keep a cohesive message. Trial and error time!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There are a ton of tools out there that let us connect our accounts together and blast a message to all our networks with one button. This can be a great time saver, but I agree with Sambuchino that this kind of mass communication misses the point a bit.

      Delete
  8. I do online book clubs & forums, but I don't think it's led to an increase in sales. Still, it's a good place to talk. It helps to know what readers are liking/not liking and looking for in the genre. And since my current plan is to self publish, it lets me know where price points are.

    ReplyDelete

Share the love, man...