Today’s guest post comes from Matthew Turner (a.k.a. Turndog Millionaire). In keeping up with the industry I follow many self-publishing and book marketing blogs. Over the past year I noticed one name popping up time and again, offering excellent advice and tips for authors. Matthew Turner is a strategic marketer, an author himself, and he loves helping writers with their branding strategies. I’m very pleased to have Matthew writing our guest post today and now I’ll hand over to him.
Your book is finished and you’re feeling fine.
Life is good. You’ve spent months writing, editing, chopping, changing, and perfecting. It’s done, and it’s time to relax…right?
Hmmmm, maybe if you’re Stephen King. For most of us, it’s when it begins to get real. This is when you put your book in the eyes of the reader. So let me ask you a question:
Do you know who your reader is?
It’s something many writers don’t think about. They simply hope people will buy and read and love. This is like throwing a football in the air and hoping it lands back in your hands. It might do, but it might also spring to the left, or right, or…
Understanding Thy Reader
Understanding your reader is vital. If you truly want to begin a relationship with them, you need to understand what they like, what they don’t, and where they are. It’s the latter I wish to discuss today.
The world is so small, yet at the same time, gigantically massive. You have the ability to reach millions, but also zero. The internet is great for connecting with people, but it’s overwhelming and daunting, too.
Unfortunately, you could easily become one of the writers who sell under 100 books. You don’t want this, and the best way to negate it is to go where your readers go.
Where Your Readers ‘Hang’
There are many many many places where your reader could hang out, and I encourage you to use my following tips as inspiration only.
Ask yourself what is and isn’t relevant for YOU. Think outside of the box and consider where your ideal reader(s) could be.
Twitter is a great tool for writers, IF you use it properly. One of the best aspects of the Twitterverse is the hashtag, which brings like-minded people together.
Services like hashtag.org are fantastic for finding conversations relevant to YOU. Simply imagine what your readers like, and search until your heart’s content
For example, if your book is comparable to The Great Gatsby, follow #thegreatgatsby. The people using this hashtag are more than likely the reader you’re looking for.
When it comes to finding readers, you can’t beat a good forum/community. These can come in many shapes and sizes, but their participants are always immersed. Simply put, loyalty is big business here.
However, don’t think you can walk in and sell sell sell. You need to earn your stripes and engage with the people within. Be social, not a social robot.
There are some great general communities like The Kindle Boards, but the real winners are the niche sites. For example, if you’re a Sci-Fi writer, a forum for amateur astrologists could be an ideal place to go. Think outside of the box and reach out.
Linkedin for writers? It’s true, the professional social media platform is an ideal place for authors to network.
Some books are better served than others (if you’re writing a Business Book, for example, you’re in reader heaven), but there’s usually something for everyone.
For example, if you’re a children’s writer, a group like this one is ideal. It’s full of ideas, parents, and a means to connect with the right people. But don’t simply head to the obvious, writer related groups, think outside the box and go where your readers are.
The Comments Section
The comments section on your favourite blogs/Facebook Fan Pages can be a goldmine for potential readers. Again, you can’t simply walk in and sell, but it offers the opportunity to find the RIGHT people.
If you engage often and find yourself surrounded by the same faces, why not follow them on Twitter, read their blog, and maybe, a week or two down the line, send them an email?
If your writing is like Veronica Roth then the people who comment on her Facebook Page are your kind of readers. Be on the look out and form some new friendships.
There you go, you now have ammunition to go and find your readers. But what is right for you? What is and isn’t perfect for your Author House?
The one thing I can advise is to be careful. I know you want your reader NOW, but it doesn’t work like that. Provide value, be part of the conversation, and put the relationship first. It may take a little longer, but the value is far greater.
I’d love to hear your thoughts in the comments below, and if you have any questions, ask away. Chances are other people have the same query…
Matthew Turner – @turndog_million
About the Author
Matthew Turner is a writer who’s debut novel, Beyond Parallel, comes out in January 2013. It’s a Coming-of-Age story that follows two young twenty somethings, where what if moments occur around every corner.
You can download the short prequel, Tales From A Tiny Thai Table for FREE NOW. Introduce yourself to the characters and discover the night before the morning after.