At the very start of this blog back in 2008, I tried to figure out who I was writing for. I’d read a lot of advice at the time that blogging was a good way to connect to readers.
Instead, I decided to stay in my comfort zone and make my blog writer-focused.
I took a class on building a social media platform. It recommended interfacing with readers instead of writers.
Instead, I decided to stay in my comfort zone and focus on connecting with writers on social media.
Despite my complete disregard of all the excellent advice that I’d gone searching for, this reader avoidance on my part worked really well. I built a large platform online. Readers could easily find me because of good SEO. They’d message me on Facebook or email me if they wanted to connect and communicated directly with me. I care a lot about my readers and I answer their messages promptly. But I was very shy about seeking them out.
It’s been a couple of years now that I finally started thinking about ways to connect with my readers.
I originally went about it the wrong way. I asked “where are my readers?” and then set out to join them.
The problem with this is that the last thing I wanted to do was to chase down my readers. I certainly didn’t want them to think that I was following them around the internet, trying to badger them to buy my books. The thought was completely horrifying to me and felt like author intrusion of the worst kind.
I knew my readers were on Pinterest and Facebook. These are two platforms that I don’t actually enjoy. I tried to interact more on Facebook through a group I was in…a trad published email loop type thing. But I was uncomfortable. And Pinterest I just didn’t get. So I started avoiding those sites.
Clearly, that approach wasn’t going to work. I’ve seen other cozy mystery writers doing a bang-up job on those platforms. They don’t badger their readers at all. They post recipes, what they’re eating for supper, cute pet photos, ask questions like “what was your favorite lunchbox when you were a kid?” I just wasn’t up to the task. Even with the computer to hide behind, I’m simply too introverted to interact that way.
I’m likely one of the last authors to jump on the newsletter bandwagon. I’d heard from day one about the importance of building our list of subscribers. Even if Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon all somehow went down in flames, we’d still have our list. We could contact those readers directly and let them know of our new releases. But, since this was me, I didn’t start doing this on day one because I didn’t want to bother my readers by popping up in their email inboxes.
Fortunately, I finally came around to see sense in this one area. Although I don’t send newsletters often, they have become my most important way of connecting with my readers.
Other ways of indirect communication (broadcasting) that are important marketing tools for writers:
Author notes at the ends of our books. We can talk about how we came up with our ideas or characters or what our writing process is like. It doesn’t really matter what we’re talking about–it’s the fact that we’re communicating with our readers in ways separate from our fiction.
Our Amazon Author Central page. Are we making the most of it? Could we film a short video on our phone and upload it to our Amazon page–speaking directly to our readers?
Audio. If we’re not comfortable with video (I wasn’t comfortable with it, but…I did it), then could we put an audio clip up on our website? Again, talking directly to our readers. Here’s my post on how I used SoundCloud (free) to put an audio clip on my site.
If you’re an author who feels a lot more comfortable networking and connecting with other writers, don’t think that you have to chase your readers down. There are other effective and less time-consuming ways of making ourselves available to our readers.
How do you connect with readers?Tips for indirect communication with readers: Click To Tweet
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