This series has been expanded into a step-by-step eBook! Find out more about Building Your Fanbase: A From-Scratch Guide for Indie Authors.
For more on reader-centered book marketing, check out 11 Questions to Turn a Target Market into a Reader Profile, 3 Steps to Pinpoint Your Crazy-Dedicated Readers’ Favorite Hangouts and How to Engage Your Crazy-Dedicated Fanbase.
What are some of the biggest books in publishing today? Twilight, Harry Potter, The Hunger Games.
What do they have in common?
Well, yeah, the YA genre. And the fanbases transcending any one target market. Also the multi-billion dollar movie franchises. But what else?
Crazy, rabid fans.
These folks will fake engagements to try on Bella’s wedding gown, get a full back tattoo featuring Dumbledore and spend hours creating elaborate signs declaring their love for Peeta.
How would you like to have fans like that going nuts over your book?
Okay, maybe you could do without quite that level of craziness. Still, wouldn’t it be nice to have readers spreading the word far and wide about you and your book?
That’s what I thought.
Guess what: fans like that? You can have them.
Sure, without the backing of Scholastic or Bloomsbury it won’t happen overnight. You’ll have to dig in for the long haul and get your hands dirty.
But, you’re an indie author — you’re not scared of a little hard work, right?
Suffering from Book Marketing Apathy?
Much of what I’ve seen out there in indie-land, however, seems to indicate otherwise. What’s up with that?
I call it “book marketing apathy.”
Some indie authors think that readers will appear out of thin air, throwing dollars at them mere seconds after their book is published. Others see marketing as an afterthought, as some sort of unnecessary burden. And yet others appear to have given up altogether, sadly begging for book purchases on Facebook or Twitter.
Don’t let that be you.
The 4 Truths of Indie Book Marketing
- It takes time.
- It takes effort.
- It takes dedication.
- It is totally worth it.
Your readers ARE out there, but they’re not going to find you by accident.
For the next few weeks, we’ll teach you how to stand out above the crowd and earn those crazy-dedicated readers through reader-centered book marketing.
It sounds silly and obvious, but it’s actually quite rare to see — authors focused on not only promoting themselves, but also providing value to their readers.
Are you following the Golden Rule?
Honestly, it all boils down to this — let’s call it the Golden Rule of Reader-Centered Book Marketing — treat your readers as you’d like to be treated.
To implement this “Golden Rule” you must:
1. Have the Right Attitude
If you’re not enthusiastic, confident and passionate about your work, how can you expect to jazz up readers?
Remember, just a few years ago, authors’ publishing fates were solely in traditional publishers’ hands. Take pride in your indie author status and the fact that you have self-published your book!
Although you’ve likely experienced doubts about your writing, if you’ve taken the time to write, edit, design and publish a book that you know is your best work, act like it!
Blog tour and guest post to get your name out there, then eagerly engage each commenter and new reader — provoke discussion, answer their questions and value their perspective.
2. Give More than You Take
A common mistake many authors make (most likely out of sales desperation) is to make their only “message” one of pressure; one focused on selling their work.
This is a *huge* turnoff to potential readers!
A better method to earn readers is to share something of value (instead of strictly selling). Once they experience your generosity (and get a taste of your crazy talent in the process), they’ll gladly become faithful readers.
Some ways for you to provide value to potential readers include:
- Writing guest posts on blogs your readers frequent
- Recommending other books you’ve enjoyed
- Providing free excerpts of your work
- Giving away free copies or other goodies
Give, share and give some more and finally, when the time is right, ask your readers to give a little something back.
3. Think The Avengers, not Survivor
If you’re a reality TV geek (like, sadly, I am), you’re familiar with the motto of Survivor: outwit, outplay, outlast. Players constantly backstab, use and abuse each other in an effort to win $1 million.
That go-it-alone mindset may work for the last Survivor standing, but it won’t help you and your book!
A better method is that of The Avengers: work together.
Establish relationships with other indie authors, but don’t go about it willy-nilly. Be genuine; only reach out if you actually like and respect the author and their work.
Once you’ve teamed up, leverage the power of your combined readerships by:
- Cross-promoting each other’s work through social media
- Introducing each other to blogger friends for guest posts and interviews
- Brainstorming ideas for giveaways and promotions
- Supporting and motivating each other with things get tough
4. Don’t Let Your Readers Down
Once the new readers start flowing in, you must continually work to keep them by:
- Encouraging them to subscribe to your mailing list and send out an update at least once a month
- Keeping a schedule for updating your blog
- Providing value through exclusive rewards and promotions
Whatever you do, don’t forget about them!
Ensure, however, that you’re only passing along valuable information to your fans (never spamming or pressuring). Don’t let your new fans down!
Call it the Wild Wild West rule: how many successful July 4th Will Smith movies did we get after that flop (which, for the record, I enjoyed)?
Remember: without a fanbase, you’re just writing for yourself, your mom and the Twitter spammers.
Go Forth and Earn Some Youphiles!
Ready for more reader-centered book marketing goodness?
Next week we’ll discuss how to uncover the identity of those crazy-dedicated readers (and show you a targeting tool even more specific than your target market), but the concepts above give you something to work on in the meantime.
At the conclusion of our series, we’re unveiling a super-special book marketing workshop exclusively for indie authors who receive (totally free) updates from us. So, if you’re not on that list, hop to it!
You’ll also receive Self-Publishing Basic Training, a rockin’ 35-page guide to the basics of self-publishing, as an added bonus.
I’m curious: how do you take care of your readers? Do you find reader-centered marketing practices work better than pressuring and groveling? Am I totally wrong about everything I said above? Let me know in the comments!