Originally posted 10/18/19
Have you ever wondered why some authors seem to have such a dedicated fanbase? And more so, how you can establish one yourself?
Converting your casual readers into diehard fans is crucial to the longevity of your writing career. And luckily, it’s not too difficult to help your audience make the transition. It just takes a bit of know-how and creativity.
Let’s explore three unique ways that you can transform casual readers into raving fans.
1. Get directly involved with your readership.
This is probably the easiest thing you can do to convert you readers into diehard fans. But it’s also the step many authors seem to struggle with the most. This is because it has nothing really to do with your book.
You’re marketing yourself.
Back in the day, connecting with readers was a little tricky. You’d have to strategically plan out book tours, signings, and interview arrangements. It was as if you needed an agent dedicated to doing all of this just so you’d have time to actually write. However, we’re in the 21st century now, and things don’t have to be so difficult.
The first place you should start is on a social media platform. Social media for writers has become an instrumental tool in directly communicating with your readers. And this can actually be a proactive strategy you can use to expand your audience.
YouTube and Reddit can also be useful when it comes to reaching your audience. On Youtube, you can produce videos that show your readers how you get inspired and how your writing process works. You can even hold interactive livestreams, which can be powerful when done properly. Reddit has a unique platform known as an AMA (Ask Me Anything). This is where you can encourage your readers to ask you anything and let them get to know you better through your answers.
I’m absolutely not saying you need to do all of these things. These are just suggestions to inspire you as you look for ways to connect more directly with readers.
2. Be generous with your readers.
Everyone loves to be delighted. Everyone loves it when a person they’re working with over-delivers. This creates trust, reciprocity, and loyalty — and it totally applies to the relationships readers have with writers.
When you give your readers cool things they aren’t expecting, they’re more likely to become die hard fans. For example, you might offer them “deleted scenes,” how-to content, or supplemental material related to one of your books.
Here are some more specific examples.
- The author of a non-fiction book about personal finance could create an online course helping readers set up their own budgets.
- A novelist could giveaway supplemental material that draws people deeper into the worlds they’ve created. Let’s say you’re writing a novel that highlights the history of Louisiana. One of the major points you’ll probably discuss is who are the Creoles and Cajuns. So what if you gave your readers some free BBQ recipes that highlight some of their regional differences?
By giving things away for free, you can strengthen your bond with your fan base.
3. Be creative and original.
If you want people to be loyal to your unique work, you need to have… unique work. If your books are too similar to everyone else’s, you might get readers, but it will be hard to turn those readers into loyal fans.
Develop your voice and stick with it! Figure out what strengths you bring to the table as a writer and use them to your advantage. Challenge yourself to take some calculated risks, to go the extra mile, and to look for opportunities to bring a new flair to your chosen genre.
As for how to do this practically, consider asking your current readers what they appreciate about your books. What were their favorite parts?
Or ask them to imagine themselves recommending your book to a friend. Tell them to finish these sentences: “You should totally check out this new book. I really like it because…”
Whatever they say will give you excellent clues as to what your strengths are, so you can continue to hone them and showcase them more often.
Summary: Connecting with your readers is worth the work
Building a devoted fanbase doesn’t have to be particularly complicated. But fair warning, it does take a bit of effort. Thankfully, there are many avenues you can travel down to achieve this. Whether it’s giving things away, improving your own writing style, or directly communicating with your fans, you can develop a dedicated audience and reap the rewards of having one.
A final tip: Whenever possible, encourage readers to join your email list. This gives you a direct line of communication to them, which comes in very handy when you have a new book to share.
Dave Chesson is the founder of Kindlepreneur.com and creator of Publisher Rocket, a software that helps authors market their books more effectively.