Monday, 10 February 2020
Building Your Audience - The After Process
BUILDING YOUR AUDIENCE
This is something that I've talked about in other pieces, about growing your social media platforms (found here, and here), and while I could do another piece about this, it feels like the wrong thing to do. Today I'm gonna be talking about not just your platform growth, but actually building a reading audience, and all my tips that I can give you to manage that.
An author platform, for those who aren't aware, is basically a social media, website, blog, etc, presence that shows people where to find you and interact with you, and learn more about your works. A reading audience can be those same people, but it's also about getting people who don't yet know who you are, interested in your works. It's something where I'm still learning, so I am not going to claim to be an expert on this. I am going to say that after fourteen years in publishing on the self-published/indie side of things, I have picked up a few things that help you along the way.
So what are those things? And how can you get them to work for you? Glad you asked, because I'm going to share them with you now!
#1. BE SURE OF YOUR GENRE.
This might seem like an obvious point. After all, why would you promote a fantasy book with no romantic sub-plot to romance readers, right? That part is obvious, but I'd also want to point out that sometimes it's not as easy to know your genre, or the sub-categories of that genre that your book falls into. Ideally you want at least two when you're promoting, so like with the Dying Thoughts series, it was both paranormal, and mystery/crime. Therefore I promote it to people who love both of those genres.
However, when it comes to choosing a genre, you'll be aware that there are some overlaps. For example, my upcoming new release, Cramping Chronicles: The First Twinge could fall into paranormal OR urban fantasy. Because it's a series, I've decided to look at the overarching plot rather than the books one by one for the MAIN genre, and in this case it slots into Urban Fantasy. Now you can have sub-genres, and they are useful when you're promoting, but for the point of this piece, I would say stick to your MAIN genre(s). You want to be sure that you're reaching out to the right people to read your work, otherwise everyone is just gonna be disappointed and that won't reflect well on you.
#2. BE SURE OF YOUR INTENDED AUDIENCE.
I know that this sounds like another obvious one, because again, why would you promote a Middle-Grade or Young Adult book to adults? Or vice versa? It's true that a lot of the readers of YA are adults, but the idea isn't to market to them, because while they may buy and enjoy your book, they're not the target audience. If you want to write books for adults, then you need to be making sure you do that.
It's pretty simple to work out the intended audience when it comes to age-range. MG is between 10 and 13, YA between 13 and up to 25 in some places, and adult is over 18. However, there are some cross-overs and even then it's better to know which audience you are trying to reach to make sure that your marketing is hitting the right spots. If you're writing YA, then you're going to want to target social media that most young adults use, like Twitter, Tumblr, and Instagram. You want to make sure that libraries are aware, and able, to stock your books should someone request it. All of this goes into building your audience, so be sure of who you're trying to attract to your works.
#3. REVIEWS ARE YOUR FRIENDS.
I know you've heard this. Hell, it's something that a lot of people talk about, but it's also true. Reviews are the best way for you to spread the word either by people seeing them on Bookstagram, or seeing a Tweet about your book, if there's a review attached then people are able to judge whether it's something they might enjoy. Reviews help readers decide, and they help authors build their audience, so if you have the chance to contact reviewers, be they bloggers, or bookstagramers or just other authors who do reviews, then take advantage of it. This is a big way that you can build your audience, and just be aware that not all the reviews will be 5 star and that's okay. Liking something is subjective, and one reader might choose to read your book because of the reasons another reviewer listed for why they didn't like it!
And finally, #4. EVENTS HELP
I know that it's not always possibly for people to attend in-person events. Whether it's a case of time, money or just not being in the right part of the world, I get that. I will say that these kinds of events don't always have to be in-person, there are Facebook groups that will hold takeovers, there are ways to go live and read a part of your book, or just chat with the people there. All of these work. And they can be a big way to build your audience.
As far as in-person events go, those are awesome. They don't have to be massive multi-author signings, they can be doing a talk at a school, or a library, or a signing at a local book store. All of these are ways to get your face in front of readers and have them be interested in talking to you, and getting to know more about your books. I've done four multi-author signings and they've always been great! I've also been asked to go to secondary schools and talk about being an author, and those have gone amazing too. It's all about putting yourself out there and seeing people.
So there we have it, my four tips on building your audience. If you have any tips for people, then please do lemme know in the comments, and share them with us all!
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