Building your readership is the key to success in the current book market. Readers don’t just flock to books without the author putting in the time and effort to connect and engage with them.
As an author, you have to establish yourself within the writing world and appeal to your audience.
Just like writing, building your audience is an ongoing process that should ideally begin before you publish your first book. If you’ve already published and don’t yet have a loyal readership, don’t worry!
It’s never too late to start and there are a lot of fun ways you can build your readership – all without even sending a tweet.
One – Speak At Local Events
Whether it’s a local writers conference, a reading or a book fair, be on the lookout for opportunities to get your name out there as an author.
Having a presence at events gives you the opportunity to build personal connections with potential readers and is a great way for authors to begin building their platform. Establishing yourself as a writing professional is the first step to platform building.
Two – Get Swagerrific
Do you know what lasts even longer than a first impression? Your swag items!
While you’re at events, don’t miss the opportunity to give potential readers something to bring home with them, such as a sticker or a bookmark.
Giving them items they can hold onto will help to ensure the interaction turns into something more tangible, such as a newsletter signup or a social media follow.
It’s important for some, if not all, of your swag items to have your information on it, such as your website and social links.
One of my favorite places to go for great business cards and other swag items is Moo.
Three – Write And Accept Guest Blog Posts
You’re a writer…this one is a no brainer! Seek out blogs that interest you and share your target readership. Many blogs have guest post submission guidelines, but if they don’t, send an email to the blogger or blog team.
Contributing guest posts will introduce you to a whole new audience of readers.
Active blogs love guest posts because it’s less content they have to create, so if you have a blog of your own, always welcome well-written posts by other writers.
Contributors are likely to share their post with their network, introducing their readers to your blog and work.
Four – Be A Guest On A Podcast (Or Two, Or Three)!
There are so many podcasts that cover various aspects of writing and publishing—and then there are podcasts about everything else in the world.
Whether you want to speak about writing, publishing or another niche area of interest you might have, being a podcast guest is the perfect way to engage with a new audience.
Research and contact podcast hosts that appeal to you and inquire about being a guest on the show. This is a process, but the more gigs you secure, the easier they will come.
When you’re reaching out to both bloggers and podcast hosts, be sure to keep a running list of who you’ve contacted and their response.
This will help you stay organized and track who you might want to circle back to once you gain more exposure and credibility.
People love free. This is why the “free days” on Amazon have been such an effective marketing tool for authors.
However, running a giveaway through your own blog or website allows you to capture reader data, such as emails and contact information, which is a sure way to build your reader base.
Six – Join a writing group
Hey, writers are readers, too. From my experience, having a supportive network of fellow writers is necessary for many reasons, like keeping you sane and improving your writing.
However, these fellow writers can also become your biggest fans and are likely to be rooting for your success—and you’ll feel the same about them.
This type of support often extends past the critiquing process and could land you with a network of writers ready and willing to share your work. It’s a win-win-win situation, really.
Building a readership is contingent on engaging with your readers, so as your audience grows, it’s important to interact with them.
Whether you do this through your blog, social media, monthly newsletter, or a combination of all these things, keep your readers updated.
Share your guest posts, inform them of upcoming events you’ll be attending and keep them in the loop with your writing.
Also, share things that you think they’ll appreciate that have nothing to do with you. Balance is the key to successfully engaging your audience.
Perhaps most importantly, invite reader feedback and open the lines of communication. It should be a two way street between you and your audience, so if they aren’t talking back, you might need to reevaluate how you’re conveying information to them.
Don’t spread yourself too thin trying to do it all. Start out with one or two of the suggestions above and please leave your own audience building practices in the comments!
This article was originally published on The Future of Ink and is reprinted here in its entirety for our Magnolia Media Network readers.