Book Marketing: 5 ways to build relationships with your readers and why it’s important
Staying in has encouraged many of us to discover (or rediscover) hobbies that we may not have had time for prior to lockdown. For me, it’s given me time to focus on my writing, but it also got me thinking – how many of us are writing without a plan on how to market our work?
The most well-known writers will have a book marketing plan that they’ll follow to a tee. This is how they come about topping the charts and sitting on the Bestseller throne. But the word ‘marketing’ scares a good number of writers away, when in fact it’s not such an arduous task; in reality, it’s one of the easiest means of raising your profile and putting your book out on the shelves.
Whether you’re a casual blogger, an accomplished writer or just starting out, the key to successful book marketing is all about building relationships with your readers. In this article I will discuss five reliable ways to do this and why it is necessary.
1. Online Communities
Social media has made connecting with tons of people at the same time so much easier! As an author, this is a veritable tool for you to help grow your fan base and prospective buyer base. This is done by creating a social media community that revolves around your work and what you do. You can interact with your prospective audience by engaging them both online and in person. In the past, authors have connected with their fan base through writing letters, but today, it’s so much easier to connect with the rise of multiple social media channels.
Create a loving, engaging social media community where you share bits and pieces of your life in and outside of writing. The readers love it. It helps them to see a bit of you that draws them closer to you and interested in what next you have to offer.
Another quick way to reach the hearts of your readers is through emails. Email marketing is a must-do now that you’re in the book marketing world. Send your readers personalised emails that make it seem like you are speaking directly to them.
Your connections and reader network is essential to drive visibility. Another opportunity to explore is a website or blog where your readers can visit from time to time, to keep up with your work. It would build interest in them, whether or not your book is finished, and keeps them anticipating when it would be finished. This helps you to create a base of interested readers. This means that once your books get on the shelves, you have readers committed to keeping them off the shelf. They can even help spread the word to other readers.
2. Be Consistent, Be committed
Whatever ideas you’ve been pushing forward, never quit it. Keep repeating it. When it comes to people, especially your readers, consistency is key. You would think that with the numerous times you’ve preached about an idea, they must have heard it already. This is false. With the tonnes of information that readers filter through daily, yours might have slipped somewhere along the line. Be committed to your cause. Keep repeating your ideas, thoughts, themes, until your readers have started repeating it back to you.
To build credibility as an author and a relationship with your readers, they need to know you are consistent. You would know your readers have heard your message as soon as they start feeding it back to you; this is how you know they are listening. So keep talking about it, keep preaching the gospel of your book.
Try passing the same message via different means so that each time it goes out, it reaches various members of your reading community.
3. Be Reachable, Be Polite
Can your readers contact you? What’s the best and most effective means you have created for your readers to have access to you? Can they send you a message via DM? Can they email you? Can they tweet at you? Your readers want to talk to you; they want to tell you how well (or not) they enjoyed your book. So you have to help them get to you. Be accessible, be reachable. You can make a clear contact procedure on how your readers can reach you. This can be placed within your book on a specific “Contact Me” page, or it can be on any of your social media platforms.
Not only do you ask your readers to reach out to you, but you must also create a means of responding to them. This may be a little overwhelming, judging by the ton of fan mail (and DMs and mentions and tweets) authors get daily, but it doesn’t have to be such a lengthy response. Just a simple “thank you” would warm the heart of your readers and give them an experience they would never forget.
No matter what sort of message you receive (including the hate mails), always try to be polite. Be the nicer person. It is no use hurling words at your readers even when they are purposely mean. You must learn that your book may not please everybody, but it doesn’t make you less of a writer. Be polite in your responses. If you can, engage your readers with a lengthy response, and if you just haven’t got the time, a short reply would do.
4. Accept criticism like a boss
Now, when we say ‘like a boss,’ what we mean is, with grace and in good faith. Writers must grow a thick skin when it comes to criticism. It is tough when you hear what some critics have to say about your book that you probably wrote with sweat and toil. Some critics can be very harsh, and it can even hurt you so much that you get mad or overprotective about your work. That is not the best way to handle criticism.
It not only makes you look immature, but you also look defensive and closes the door for your readers to discuss or engage with your book. All of these are relationship destroyers. If you have worked so hard to build a dedicated community of readers, responding to criticism in anger may bring all your hard work to nothing. Readers will label you and your book as one of the ones to avoid.
The best thing to do is to thank your readers for their feedback graciously and give positive responses to them. You may also want to examine the words of the critics critically, you just might find a thing or two that would change your work for the better. Just think of it as a fresh pair of eyes, giving your work a free review.
5. Give back to your readers
Be helpful! Your posts and interactions with your readers shouldn’t always be about your book and yourself. How have you celebrated your readers? They deserve to be acknowledged too. Try to find out from the readers how you can help them. You cannot help all, but you definitely can be of help to one or two. Engage with your readers via your posts or emails and find out the problems they have as regards your work and how you can help them solve it.
Let your relationship with them be positive at all times. Avoid being sarcastic, taking offense, being on the defense, fighting, with your readers. The same way you build relationships with people you can see is the same way you build relationships in the virtual space. What opinion do your readers have of you outside of the quality of your books? Are you loved by few and detested by most?
It’s not difficult to know this. What are your readers saying about you? Have you been in your comments sections lately? How do your readers respond to you? Building relationships is a two-way process. If the person on the other end of the stick is unimpressed by your arm of friendship, it is unlikely that the relationship goes far.
Take the time out to thank your readers for their support, and also support them in any way you can. For example, when last did you appreciate your readers on their blogs for their review of your book? Maybe never.
Finally, building a relationship with your readers is so important because it not only keeps you in their good graces, they become interested in your life, your work, and looking forward to when your books will grace the shelves. It gives you free insight on how you can improve on your work and also helps you create a good network of committed, dedicated, and active readers who want to see you win.
Feeling inspired to write? We can help get your work published and read by our community of 150,000 13-30-year olds. You can write about any topic that you’re interested in and the author of the most popular article of the month will win £50 cash prize!
Simply email your blog to: email@example.com
You can also read more of Cheryl Hearts work at: https://cherylhearts.com/