Publishing Success: How to get fans and followers

Fans, followers, and likes... Oh, my...

Finding people who will love your work and then become die-hard fans is the bane of every writer’s existence. When I was starting out as an author nearly ten years ago, this was the biggest source of stress for me (once I had decided how and where I was going to publish). First off, as authors, we are inherently introverts. It would be nearly impossible for a true extrovert to sit down, isolate themselves in their office, and focus on a screen for hundreds of hours. And that means we are not gifted when it comes to self-promotion.

And that’s fine.

It’s okay to be exactly who you are, and to acknowledge and accept the fact that you are not a person who wants to shout your virtues from the rooftops. Now that doesn’t mean that you don’t believe in yourself or the merits of your writing, but simply that marketing is just going be a bit tougher.

Thinking of fans, the line from Field of Dreams comes to mind, “If you build it, they will come.”

This is a kind of a lie. Many people write books. Many of those people write great books. However, very few of those great books and authors go on to be successful. And occasionally, what we deem to be lousy books go on to be successful. So, what do these successful great books and successful lousy books have in common?

The answer has many facets, but there is one shared virtue—these books have found their way into the hands of readers who love them. Simply put, the author has found their core, lifelong fans.

If you are rolling your eyes, yeah, we are kindred spirits. The concept seems simple. And yet, we all struggle. I repeat, we ALL struggle. Why, when the concept is simple, is the practical application of this concept so freaking hard?

Because people are people. Our tastes change. Our ideas change. Our financial circumstances change. Our lifestyles change. Change, change, change. Heck, even culture changes. So, as authors we are forced to change.

Circling back to our introverted lifestyles…well, Houston, we have a problem.

But don’t lose hope, there are a few things that an introvert who resists change can do.

Here are a few key items to get fans:

First, and if you’ve been at the game for more than a year or two, you’ve probably already heard it, get a newsletter started. Mailchimp is a free and easy tool to use.

Create an online presence. Use whatever social media outlet that you love and dive in head first. Don’t spread yourself too thin. Try to post often.

Create a great website. Make sure to have a solid and obvious brand. (i.e. don’t have a pink website if you write books about murder.)

Get out of your office.

  1. Attend local, regional, or domestic conferences within your genre. Every genre has them;  look them up.
  2.  Get started with local writers’ groups. Don’t know how? Don’t forget, Craigslist is for something more than finding lost pets.
  3. Talk to people. (Yes, I too hustle back to the shadows of my writer’s cave at the mere thought, but once in a while it’s good to get out of your comfort zone.) You’ll be surprised what happens when you start talking about your passions. People always respond when they can see that you truly love what you do—it’s almost addictive. In truth, most of the people who are on my Street Team are awesome people whom I have met at the grocery store, in coffee shops, or at conferences. Each and every one of these fan club members are invaluable.

Now, once you get your newsletter/fan club rolling, make sure that you actually reach out to them once in a while. I love to do little contests, holiday cards, and giveaways just for this select group of people. They are special to me, so I make sure they know it.

Lastly, but most importantly, all of this takes time. Very few authors have become overnight successes. We plod along doing what we need to do, and we build our foundation. Sure, we have to remodel once in a while. Sometimes we have to tear down and start over. But we never stop.

Always keep in mind that you, the author, will build over and over again so that one day “…(the fans) will come.”

So if you are ready to make your book a success, but would love an extra hand, we are more than happy to help. Please contact us today to learn more.

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