Blogger: Rachel Kent
At the beginning of this brand new year, I think it will be beneficial for us to be reminded why a reader connects with us beyond the book, especially through social media. We want to establish a relationship and not drive fans away with overdoing the self-promotion. Here’s what I believe readers are looking for when they follow or friend you online:
1) A personal connection. This is first for a reason. I believe that this is what drives most readers to connect with an author online. Think about the posts you like the best–they’re the personal ones, right? The reader wants to get to know the author better–to meet a kindred spirit “in person.” Most times the reader has enjoyed a book of yours and then chooses to find you on Twitter or Facebook or to sign up for your newsletter. These readers do want to know when your next book is coming out, but more than anything they want to be your friend. They want you to open up to them and share a bit of who you are and also to connect back with them on a personal level. The posts they are looking for are the kind you would put up for your friends and family. Be selective and careful with what you post, of course, but forming a bond of friendship with a reader will help you sell more books in the long run.
2) Freebies. We all love receiving prizes and free books, and this drives many readers to connect with authors online. Lots of readers know that an author is given some promotional copies for giveaways so they’re trying to get one. For most authors extravagant freebies aren’t financially doable, but even basic book giveaways are a good way to get exposure with readers online who might not have read a book of yours yet. I think it’s a good idea to have some sort of giveaway every four months or so to broaden your readership. Your current readers will advertise the giveaway to their friends/followers so you could gain a larger audience through offering a few autographed copies of a book or some bookmarks.
3) A desire to meet in real life. Authors often fail to realize how important it is to announce book signings and personal appearance events on Facebook or Twitter. Many readers connect with authors because they would love to meet them some day. Be sure to have your UPDATED schedule available at all times online and let your readers know when you’ve added new events. Include upcoming events in your newsletters, too.
4) Writing advice. So many readers are also writing–or dream of writing. Answering writing questions can get old, but these people are part of your audience. Find a way to link these writer-readers to some suggested writing books and tips that you’ve already pulled together on your website. That way connecting with this portion of your readership can be easy, yet personal. Your notes to these readers can contain some encouraging words and a link to your writing advice page.
So what should you be putting in your online status or newsletter?
1) Mostly personal things. Pictures and updates about YOU! Try to keep it positive too. Complaining and whining are the quickest ways to drive away readers. Even if you are having a bad day try to find some sunshine for your Twitter and Facebook posts.
2) Tips and encouragement for other writers (if you know they’re a significant part of your readership).
3) Schedule updates. Where are you going to be so that these readers can meet you?
4) Some contests/giveaways, showing book covers and release announcements.
Remember to get personal!
Can you think of other reasons readers connect with authors online? Why do you?
What causes you to “unfriend” or “unfollow” an author or to unsubscribe from their newsletter?
Advice on connecting with your readers online and with your e-newsletter from literary agent @RachelLKent. Click to tweet.