In the comments section of How to Streamline in 2010, Market My Novel reader Beth Barany wrote:
Great advice, Angela! I wonder how you go about finding the right reader networks for your genre. I write YA fantasy, as yet unpubbed. What do you recommend? I want to be ready to build a reader network when I sell my novel. Thanks!
Terrific question! Finding readers isn’t as difficult as it may seem. Below is a pretty comprehensive list of tried and true methods. Some of these have worked for business and nonprofit clients.
I’ve divided them into two sections: How readers find you and how you find them.
You don’t have to use every method on these lists, and some may spark ideas for even better methods for your audience.
They find you
Web sites and blogs. Fans need to be able to find YOU. Be sure to have a blog and a Web site, or a blogsite (a combination blog and Web site). Get a domain readers can find, like your name or your series title. Share links to posts on your social networks.
Social networks. Readers are constantly trolling Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, Shelfari and other networks for their favorite authors. (LinkedIn is used most for business authors, rather than fiction authors.) Be sure you have profiles on networks friendly to readers and that you are friends with other authors in your genre. If they don’t search for you directly, they could always find you via the friend list of other authors.
Event sites. You can post tour information at sites like BookTour.com or AuthorsDen.com for publicity. Many readers search for tour information, both electronic and in person, online. Be sure your information is readily available on these sites, as well as your blog and Web site.
Amazon. More and more often, readers are searching Amazon blogs, listamanias and communities for book recommendations. Be sure to have a strong presence by sending out review copies to Amazon reviewers in your genre and feed your blog’s RSS into an Amazon blog. Also, ask fans to include your novels in their Listamanias.
Public events. People love to meet their favorite authors. Whether it is at a bookstore signing, or a convention, in person meetings are always the best in making – and keeping – devoted fans.
You Find Them
Hobby sites. Don’t promote yourself to the point of annoying everyone. Simply add a signature line that shows you are an author, with a link to your Web site. Be sure to follow site guidelines for signatures. Keep your signature under five lines. Three is terrific.
Guest blogs. They may not know you, but readers might be reading blogs by other authors in your genre. Be sure to guest blog as often as you can to expand your readership.
Guest speaking. You may be asked to speak about topics unrelated to writing or your books. However, these can still be key events to make contacts and garner attention for your work. Business owners who have written tomes can typically offer them for sale after a speech – especially when the topic relates to the book’s content. If you are asked to speak at a function that isn’t a book publicity event, find subtle ways to tell the audience you are a writer: Talk about what it takes to stay inspired, be sure your book is listed in your bio, or offer a basket of freebies that includes your book.
Publisher promotions. If you aren’t featured in publisher monthly e-mails or advertisements, find out why – and get featured. If your publisher has author pages, be sure yours is up-to-date and any blog features link back to your sites.*
Search Facebook. Check out other authors in your genre and send friend requests to others in their network. Let them know you are an upcoming author in the genre and would like to add them to your network.
Go to book signings for authors in your genre. Check out who is there and note their demographics. How old are they? What are they wearing? What other books are they buying? Do they drink coffee or tea? Do they wear T-shirts with their favorite bands or political sayings? These little clues can lead you to new networks for fans.
Advertising. For some authors, paid advertising in hard copy and electronic publications directed at readers works. Be sure the publications are targeted to your genre, or are must-read tomes for readers in all genres.
Online groups. Many readers belong to Yahoo groups on reading, or share their FAVs on sites like Good Reads or Shelfari. Connect with them on these sites.
Analytics. Google Analytics is a great way to see who refers readers to your site. Check out the top referrals list and visit those blogs. Start leaving comments that include your name and Web site. This is a proven method – especially when you really target the blogs you comment on.
Keywords. This could really go in either category. You need solid keywords so readers can find you in search engines. They should be able to type in your name, book title or recurring protagonist name and find you on the first page of Google or Bing. You don’t need a Web designer to do this for you – though it is always great if you do. Check out Google’s Keyword Tools page for details on how to use them.
Coming up on Wednesday: Tips from authors on how to find your audience.0