The Power of Reader Engagement and 5 Tips to Make it Happen

When we talk about book marketing, many authors tend to think that the ultimate goal is book sales. But what often gets overlooked is reader engagement. Reader engagement should always be the goal. It’s what gives you longevity, ultimately helping you sell more books, and should really be the driver for all of your book marketing.

But I’ll be honest, it’s also really hard, especially when you’re just starting out. And it doesn’t happen overnight – it will take some trial and error before you see your efforts pay off, but the reward will be longevity for your publishing career.

I’ve collected a few tips I want to share with you in this article, but really the key to book marketing isn’t doing everything, it’s doing what works for your genre and your reader market. Smart book promotion is what sells more books and ups your reader engagement.

Tip #1: Get Feedback from Your Fans

Readers love to feel involved in your life, so a great way to boost reader engagement is by asking for their opinions.

Mix it up with some personal and some book-related questions.

Do a quick poll on something going on with your favorite TV show, or have them vote on a few names you’re considering for a character in your next book.

Book marketing is so much more effective when it gets personal, remember that.

Tip #2: Run Promotions to Get Books in New Hands

Another key benefit to higher reader engagement is their recommendations. People recommend things they feel connected to, and this definitely goes for books.

I’m a big fan of the BOGO offer so when you release a new book, invite fans to send you a copy of their purchase receipt in exchange for your gifting the eBook to a friend or colleague of their choosing.

You may be thinking, “How do I sell more books by giving them away?” The strategy here is that you’re encouraging your current fans to help you create new fans – and if you succeed, you’re looking to sell more books at your next release.

Book marketing, and being a successful author is a marathon, not a sprint.

Tip #3: Create a Contest for the Diehards

These people are also known as your super fans. They’ll buy every book you put out, so you want to keep them happy, and reader engagement with them should be the easiest to get.

Release a trivia contest on social media, via your newsletter, or even on your website, and offer prizes for those who get all the answers correct. If you have a really big network, you could limit the prizes to the first 5-10 submissions with all the correct answers.

Tip #4: Be Camera Ready

Most of us hate being on camera, me included, but I can tell you it’s a book marketing strategy that works and so few authors are doing it.

And if you want to sell more books, you have to do things that make you stand out.

Videos you post on social media shouldn’t be long, no one has time for that anyway, but be thoughtful about what you post.

Make an announcement, do it from a fun locale, or get in a routine of doing a weekly update for fans. But have a purpose.

Tip #5: Ask Fans to Get Creative

If you’ve written a really good book, you’ve created a world your fans can connect with. And that’s an amazing feat.

Use that to your book marketing advantage and increase reader engagement by asking them to share images or quotes that remind them of your book.

Have them share images of famous actors that could play the starring roles in a movie!

Ask them for quotes they can imagine your main characters connecting with.

Get personal and ask them to post selfies of them reading your book, or of their favorite reading spot.

The Takeaway

Readers who are engaged with you and your books are readers who will buy almost every time, and who will recommend your books to their friends. Getting creative and building a platform that encourages this is one of the most consistent ways to sell more books. And as an added bonus, it makes book marketing fun!

When you get into a rhythm with the right strategies reaching the right audience, you’re sure to see your reader engagement go way up. Your publishing career will thank you!


Penny Sansevieri, CEO and founder of Author Marketing Experts, Inc. (AME) and Adjunct Professor at NYU, is a best-selling author and internationally recognized book marketing and media relations expert. Her company is one of the leaders in the publishing industry and has developed some of the most cutting-edge book marketing campaigns. To learn more about Penny and AME, visit