Because I write YA, I realize that my teen readers are most engaged in sites like Twitter, Tumblr and Instagram. According to a 2013 PEW survey 90% of young adults (18-29) use social media. So yeah, it's important.
While teens are still using Facebook, I think it's harder to engage readers there unless you go on a binge with your personal account and start friending random teens. Yeah, that's not creepy at all. So Twitter is still a big player in my book. Knowing where your readers are is a big part of knowing your reader. And you can't market to your reader unless you know who they are.
Anyway, I am doing a lot of promotion on Tumblr and Twitter and I wanted to find ways that I could get more exposure in front of my target audience. This isn't about getting bigger numbers. I want to get more teens who self identify as big readers as my followers so I can share my message with them.
It's also important to remember that you can't wait for readers to come find you. Until I have big name recognition (I'm talking John Green level author fame), I need to be the one finding my readers, not the other way around.
So I went searching for ways to find my readers on Twitter and I came across this article from The Book Designer about 6 minutes to more twitter followers. The title grabbed me, but the info inside was genius and so simple. Plus, it's smart and doesn't feel spammy to me.
The gist of the article is this. Every day, pick one author who you feel is a good match for you. In other words, I think their readers would also enjoy being my readers. I also target authors who I admire and who are doing awesome work on social media. Set the timer for six minutes, or however long you have to give, and start following that author's followers. Ideally, many of these followers will become your followers, too.
Now, a few ground rules.
Because I am looking for potential readers, not blind numbers I don't follow everyone. Here are the reasons I don't follow:
- It's an egg account. Meaning instead of a profile picture they still have the generic Twitter egg picture.
- The account looks like a promotional site.
- The bio doesn't mention anything about books, reading, fandoms, authors, writing or anything book related. This is a deal breaker.
Here are the reasons I do follow:
- The account holder identifies as a reader or fandom lover that is YA related. I love all readers, but if you only read the classics or WWII poetry you aren't in my target audience. This isn't being elitist, this is not wasting the time of people who aren't going to want to hear about what I have to say.
- Their bio picture or background picture has books or bookish related things. Bonus points if those booking things are Harry Potter related.
It's that simple. I want readers, so I'm going out and finding the readers.
After a few days, I have tons of new followers. And the best part is that I know they belong to my target audience. Plus, I've already had some really great interactions with several of my new followers.
I am absolutely going to keep doing this. In fact, I wish I had started sooner. Knowing that my tweets are getting seen by people who will be genuinely interested in my book makes me all kinds of happy. I feel like Chuck Woolery*. If you don't know who that is, Hey there, target reader!
Now an update: Next week is the last week that I'll be having daily status reports on my marketing efforts. The week after that is my launch week and the start of my blog tour, so I'm going to have some guest posts on the blog instead. They are all going to be awesome and keep me from just getting on here everyday and shouting about my book.
After the release I'll be back to a more regular posting schedule, including a return of Agency Lessons, but I'll still keep you updated on my post-release marketing efforts and my progress toward my goals. :)
*Chuck Woolery was the handsome television personality and hilarious host of The Love Connection which aired its last episode in 1994.