Blogger: Mary Keeley
My precious grandson leaves for basic training in the Marines soon. I took it in stride when he went away to college. That was a normal part of life, and he’d be back home on weekends and over the summer. This is different. More permanent. Did I make the best use of the time I had with him through the years? Does he feel sure of his importance to me? On a different level these are good questions for writers to ask themselves in regard to growing loyal readers.
How can you attract more followers? Once they become followers, how can you keep them coming back and turn them into loyal readers? Is there a simple trick to this?
It’s all about relationship. Relationships don’t happen overnight. They grow steadily over time. If your manuscript is complete and ready to submit to an agent, but you haven’t grown a loyal following that anticipates your next book, you have some catching up to do first. The following tips will help you in establishing your author-reader relationships.
- Tell your followers something that is going on in your life from time to time, but always within the boundaries of professionalism. Your followers will feel honored when you share something about your life with them. These details are the seeds for a growing relationship.
- Ask your followers what they like best about what you write about on your blog or social media. Be strategic: everything you write should be relevant to the books your write in some way. Show respect for their thoughts and appreciation for their feedback.
- Ask them to tell you what they would like to see one of you characters do in a given scene. There is no better way to show you value them as important people in your writing life. If you are brave, ask for constructive criticism.
- Research your target audience’s demographic to understand their concerns and desires and goals. What makes them tick? What motivates them? What inspires them? How can you communicate the saving hope of Christ that will give these particular readers real hope for their lives? That kind of writing always attracts readers in your target audience.
- Give back to your readers. Have a drawing for a book on your blog or social media or newsletter. Just because you want to show how much you value your readers.
- Whenever possible, connect with your readers in person.
- Be yourself. Authenticity communicates honesty, an important factor in any loyal relationship. Being your author self is a combination of individual authenticity and professionalism. This takes time and practice to develop.
The point is to have stimulating give-and-take conversations with followers to transition them into loyal readers. Spend time with them to show that you genuinely like them and care about them. Word of mouth marketing isn’t only for getting the word out about your book. It begins when followers tell their friends about this great writer they follow online. Watch your audience grow.
What approach has worked best to grow your reader following? Do you have tips to add to this list? What have you found to be the greatest challenge for you in growing loyal readers?