All authors want more readers. It’s part of the condition – after they put in hour after hour to hone their manuscript, they want to see it in the hands of the people who’ll appreciate it. But how do they find them?
It’s a question with a million different answers, but some ways are more effective than others. Here are eight of our favourites.
1. Email Alerts
Some services, such as BloggersRequired.com, allow you to purchase a spot in a targeted email list. These services typically allow bloggers to sign up to request free product samples, and putting your book in front of them can help you to pick up dozens of new readers (and reviewers) at once.
2. Twitter Dashboards
One way to add a personal touch is to use a Twitter dashboard to view new updates in real-time. You can search for specific search terms, such as ‘need new sci-fi’ or ‘just finished reading’, and then post a reply to offer a free sample. You can even build lists of bloggers that you want to work with and then keep an eye on when they’re most likely to be receptive to one of your pitches.
3. Amazon/Goodreads Reviews
Draft a shortlist of books that are similar to your own and then check out the reviews for them on popular sites. Many of these people will be receptive if you let them know about your own work, especially if you send them an e-copy in exchange for a review. This approach can be more time consuming than others, because you have to work on an individual basis and do a little research, but it’s also more likely to pick up readers who’ll go on to post a review.
4. Book Clubs
Book clubs work well because if your book is picked then every member of the club will buy it and read it. Local book clubs might offer you an opportunity to meet the readers and talk to them about your work, while online book clubs offer the benefit of global reach and higher numbers, allowing you to work at scale.
5. Street Teams
Street teams allow you to encourage your existing readers to attract new readers for you. Typically, they allow people to sign up as an official ambassador on your behalf, offering a points-based scheme that they can exchange for rewards. For example, leaving a review for a book could earn five points, introducing a friend could earn two, and ten points could earn an Amazon voucher.
Simply discounting the price of your book for a couple of days can help to give you a short-term boost in sales, especially if you combine it with other marketing activity so that people know about it. Be careful not to rely on this too often, though – it can serve to devalue your work and even encourage people to hold back on buying your new releases until it’s been discounted.
7. Exhibit Your Work
Getting involved with an event works well for more outgoing authors, because it allows them to meet people in person and explain exactly why they ought to give the book a chance. And it doesn’t have to be a fancy stand at an international book fayre – local craft markets can work well, or you could even put on an event of your own.
8. Offer Freebies
While money is often tight, it can be a good idea to produce some promotional materials – such as pens, bookmarks and signed postcards – that can be given to readers as a bonus when they purchase a book from you. Meanwhile, business cards are cheap to print and can be given out to the people you meet or even just placed in the windows of local businesses.
How do you connect with new readers? And how do you find new authors when you’re in reader mode? Let us know!