I’m having some internal conflict.
I’ve realized that, as an author, a lot of the promotional and platform opportunities I come across or attempt are writer-focussed. This means that a lot of the self-promotion I’m doing as an upcoming author is aimed at other authors. This is the wrong demographic. As an author, I want to reach readers, not writers. Theoretically, all writers are readers, so I do want to reach them — but by limiting my efforts to writers, I am totally ignoring the MUCH larger audience who consider themselves to be just readers, with no interest in writing.
So, I find I’m at the beginning of a journey.
I need to transition myself into a reader-focussed person, and not so much a writer-focussed person. In truth, I’m partway there already. Though I do network with some writers on WordPress, Twitter, and (to some extent) Tumblr, I do not go out of my way to network with every writer who I can possibly find. I see examples here and there of writers who (I believe) are taking the wrong approach — so I learn what to do by examining what not to do.
A large part of what led to this realisation is my experience on Twitter. Any time I use hashtags that have to do with reading or writing, I’m automatically followed by at least three new people who are writers. Every person who follows me has a fair chance for me to follow them back. I skim through that person’s tweets, check out their profile, and decide if it’s someone I want to be following. Most of the time, I will click follow. But these hashtag-searching authors… well… I tend not to follow them. When I skim through the tweets from these certain people, I often find that 98% of their tweets are about hawking their books. This is the wrong way to use social media. Becoming a one-person infomercial for your book makes you repetitive and annoying.
Aside from unending self-promotion that really comes off as unprofessional, these authors, by targeting writers, are completely ignoring the vast numbers of readers who are not writers themselves. This is the much larger audience and the ones much more likely to read your book.
While I take comfort know I’m not taking that annoying approach, I am, however, at a loss as to how to become more reader-focussed. I want to reach people who would love to read my book — but I don’t want to throw it in their faces like some Twitter users do. Nor do I want to aggressively target authors. For that matter, I don’t want to aggressively target readers, either, because promotion and platforming should be attractive, not pursuant. (I should be attracting people to my blog/Tumblr/Twitter, not chasing them through the internet.)
So just how does one reach the reading audience?
One excellent method is via GoodReads. Once an author has an author account, then s/he instantly reaches the vast readership on GoodReads. So when I have cover art for Autumn Fire and can put it up on GoodReads, that journey will begin.
But not everyone uses GoodReads. So how do I reach those readers and make it worth their while to, say, check out this blog?
The current format of my blog is a mix of book reviews and my thoughts on writing. This will not change. The book reviews are attractive to readers and it helps readers form a connection with me if they enjoy the same books I do. The writing thoughts also meet a certain audience — while not all readers are writers, some certainly are. From personal experience, I enjoy reading an author’s take on the writing, editing, and publishing process — so I hope some readers gain something from my thoughts.
But, still, this isn’t the greatest way to attract potential readers. So what do I do?
That’s a discovery in progress. There will be certain changes on the way for this WordPress blog — features will not be removed, but certain ones might be added, things that readers will enjoy. I may have some guest bloggers over the next few months and see how those go — I’m friends with a few other local Champagne authors and I’m in a writing group that includes, among other things, a magazine editor and the creator of an online graphic novel project.
My hope is that by the time Autumn Fire is released this July, I’ll have a good handle on this stuff.
If you have any comments on this, I’m certainly interested. When you go to an author’s blog or website, what do you like to find? What do you find annoying or off-putting?