Saturday, 26 May 2018

How Do You Get Readers for Your Books?

I really hope you don't think I have the answer. If I did, I would be on the New York Times Bestsellers' list. So let me put in my disclaimer that I'm no expert. I'm just in the simulation, trying to read the patterns.
So the first thing that you should probably know is that marketing is in the mind. Get in the right mindset. Whether you're self-published or traditionally published, the bulk of the marketing will be left to you. When a traditional publisher looks at the potential of your books, they also look at your social media following to see just how many 'fans' you've managed to accumulate for yourself. I see many authors asking, "What exactly is the use of an author page?"
Well, my answer is, "If you're inviting people over for tea, you're gonna need somewhere for them to sit."
It is not possible in this day and age to be an 'anonymous' author who just writes, publishes and waits for readers. Even authors using pen names have forums where they interact with readers. Not just authors, but anyone with a product to sell...It's a whole new world people, and social media is king.
The thing with social media though, is that you can't just post "buy my book" and expect your audience to be like, "Oh. Okay, den."
Let's talk about readers, shall we?
There are two types of readers. There are those readers, and they are the majority, who you can find on so-called reader forums. Some of them have blogs. They usually have 'reader' or 'reads books' in their Twitter bios... These are the readers whose attention everyone is trying to get. Because they're the low hanging fruit.
Or so it seems.
The thing with this reader though, they are deep in the simulation. They want to read the books everyone else is reading. They practically run down the New York Times Bestseller list as their TBR list. They like recommendations from influencers. If you're a lowly writer without the resources to influence the influencers these are not the people to target.
The second kind of reader may or may not list 'reading' as an identifier in their social media bios. They don't care who the 'next big thing' is. They're just looking for good stories.
Do you write good stories?
Then this is your demographic.
You gotta keep plugging your stories. Putting them out there. Letting people know in whatever way you can.
Hashtags are great.
Just use the right ones.
Lots of authors like to use #amwriting and they might get a few likes and even retweets get likes and retweets from other authors who are just as thirsty as you for READERS. So stop targeting other authors. That's like all those sales reps I see on the street, crowding together when they're selling the same thing be it airtime or whatever...instead of spreading out and increasing your chances of finding your own customers. It's like artists who all try to copy Rihanna in an attempt to poach some of her success. Although this strategy has been moderately successful in some cases, (Selena Gomez and Jennifer Lopez) ultimately it fails. Because Rihanna releases an album like Anti and you don't know where to start copying it.
I digress.
#greatreads #goodreads #fridayreads #tuesdaytales...these are some hashtags that might net you some random passing reader. But you can't just do the hashtag, you have to hone your captioning skills man. This is your elevator pitch in 280 characters or more (if it's Instagram or Facebook). The hashtag has made the reader pause, now you gotta reel them in. Make. it. good.
It's a marathon, not a sprint.
Everything is against you.
Amazon will put the books in front of readers that authors have paid them to.
Sometimes they arbitrarily remove your book reviews making it difficult for you to move up the totem pole.
Some book sales get lost in a black hole somewhere.
It can be very demoralizing.
The thing is, you have to factor in the fact that you will get demoralized if things aren't happening as fast as you'd like. You have to be prepared for that shit. Wallow in it like a hippopotamus in the mud. And once you're all covered, all good and proper, get out, shower and get back to the work.
Plug. Plug. and Plug away.
Every day, do something small to put your book maybe in front of that enthusiastic reader whose gonna recommend it to their friend. Their book club. Their family.
Word of mouth. That's how you get the word out.
It's an uphill battle and many will fall by the wayside.
It's up to you if you reach the top.

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