Very happy to welcome Toni Tesori (one half of DuoLit – The Self Publishing Team) on the blog today to talk about where and how to find new readers. She’s got some fabulous tips. Enjoy and don’t forget to check out the awesome DuoLit blog!
I love the Price is Right.
This past Monday, a woman was so taken with excitement she nearly knocked Drew down. This got me thinking: remember when he was announced as Bob Barker’s replacement? Were you as befuddled with the choice as me?
Now, though, I get it. Bob was getting older and so was their audience – PIR needed some fresh blood. College kids graduate and seniors move on. To keep the show going, it needs a constant influx of new fans.
Book marketing is no different. Well, aside from the fact that we don’t give away money and/or cars on a regular basis.
Problem: Readership stagnation
Does this sound familiar?
Book sales have slowed. Emails from adoring fans have stopped altogether. You check your blog every day only to find zero new comments. You haven’t been mentioned on Twitter (except by those annoying spambots) in over a week.
Why? You’re marketing only to current readers. And, unless you constantly keep their interest, most have moved on to new books and other authors.
Just like the Price is Right – you need some new blood.
Solution: Earn new readers!
Notice the verb I used up there – earn.
Loyal readers are earned, not given.
But first you have to find them. Here are some ideas.
5 Places to Find New Readers
1. Guest posting
There’s approximately a gajillion blogs out there, and it’s impossible for anyone to read them all. So, instead of waiting for readers to come to your blog – go to them!
The trick to success is finding the right blogs on which to guest. Everyone has their own method, but here’s one that’s worked for me:
- Search for “[your genre] book blog” on Google or scroll through the Book Blogs listed on Alltop (if you write romance or scifi/fantasy, even better – they have specific topics for those)
- Make a list of blogs which receive at least 5-10 comments per post. This way you know they have an audience!
- Find the blog’s guest posting/guidelines page (if they have one). Read it and take the guidelines to heart.
- Read through recent or popular posts, getting a feel for their topics and audience.
- Decide on a topic that will appeal to their audience that you can also relate to you or your book.
- Write a compelling headline that you know you can flesh out into a post.
- Contact the blogger. Be personable – not robotic! Make it clear that you’ve actually read their posts and give a sentence of background information on you and your book. Close by including your topic/headline suggestion and asking if you should work up a draft.
2. Other Authors
Most readers don’t exclusively read books by only one author, right?
Take advantage of this by finding other authors in your genre. Research how they’re reaching out to new fans.
If you like their stuff, contact them to see if they’d be interested in a little cross-promotion.
Perhaps you could exchange guest posts, coordinate a giveaway or simply endorse one another’s work to your current fans.
There are many posts detailing the best Twitter hashtags for authors, but the key is making sure these tags are reaching potential readers and not simply other authors.
When using hashtags, make your tweet something a reader would actually want to click. If your message is “Buy [Name of Book] here for only [low price],” try again.
Pull them in with an excerpt, announce a giveaway or promote what else you’ve been reading in your genre.
Give 80% of the time, build trust and credibility, and you will earn the right to sell the other 20% of the time.
4. Offline book club
Book clubs love to support local authors! Take advantage of this by reaching out to clubs in your area.
Contact the leader to see if they’d be interested in either having you either come speak to the club about your book or if they’d like to feature your book as their monthly read.
Be sure to have your media kit at the ready!
5. Reach out to current readers
Your current readers are your best ambassadors!
Contact your readers (you do have a mailing list, right?) and sincerely ask them to recommend your book to others who they think might like it.
Make it easy by giving them a tweet or email content to copy and paste.
Next steps: 3 Ways to make sure they stick around
Now that you’ve found those new readers, it’s time to be sure they stick by your side.
1. Have a plan
Whenever you guest post, tweet or reach out to current readers, you generally leave a link for readers to follow.
Often, it’s simply a link to your home page. It is more effective, however, to funnel new readers to a specific location, otherwise known as a “landing page.”
This could be an informational page just for new readers or that home page, but, no matter which page you link to, have a clear path for newbies to follow once they arrive.
What do you want your potential new readers to do?
- Sign up for your mailing list
- Follow you on Twitter
- Leave a comment on your blog
- Download an excerpt or free eBook
Make the action low-commitment and easy. Try to force them to buy your book right off the bat, and they’ll flee!
Create a path that will get them to purchase eventually – but, first, establish goodwill and trust.
2. Reward Loyalty
To reward readers for their continued time (and attention), consider a giveaway or special perk.
You can tie this to a specific action, like tweeting or commenting, or simply offer it as a no-strings-attached reward (part of the 80% giving I mentioned above).
Creating something special once a month or so rewards those dedicated readers and keeps you (and your book) fresh in their minds.
3. Be responsive.
Lady GaGa and Justin Bieber didn’t earn their super-dedicated fans by being aloof and unapproachable.
Being open and friendly goes a long way toward earning your readers’ trust and respect! A great way to demonstrate this is by making a point to answer every (legitimate, non-spammy) comment, email, Tweet or smoke signal that you receive.
Take your time and be authentic with your responses – don’t ever sound like a robot!
Get out there and earn new readers!
Just like Drew Carey replaced Bob Barker, your readership must grow and change with you.
Let them stagnate, and you might someday find yourself saying, “COME ON DOWN!” to a cold, empty room.
How has your readership changed since you began writing? Are you struggling to find new ways to attract readers? Do you have a favorite Price is Right game?
Let’s discuss in the comments!
Toni Tesori is one-half of Duolit, the self-publishing team. She’s a web designer/tech geek by trade who helps indie authors promote themselves and their work through Duolit’s self-publishing blog, services and totally free mailing list. Give her a shout @duolit or email toni(at)selfpublishingteam.com!
Laura Pepper Wu is the co-founder of 30 Day Books: a book studio. She has worked with a variety of authors to successfully promote their books, including many Amazon best-sellers. Laura is the author of wedding non-fiction guides and book marketing guides 77 Ways to Find New Readers for Your Self-Published Book and Fire Up Amazon!
Laura also runs Ladies Who Critique, a critique-partner finding site. When she's not working at the studio, you can find her walking her dog, "yoga-ing" or at a coffee shop in Seattle.