One of the concerns many indie authors face is how to build a decent sized readership. There can be many benefits associated with numerous readers. You have put years of experience, research and creativity into your book, you want it to be read and enjoyed by many. Many experts suggest growing a community of readers who are interested in your works and follow them faithfully. This is much longer lasting than simply having a fan base, although that is likely where a community of readers will begin to develop. Here are some suggestions on how to increase your readership.
Start While You Are Still Writing
You can start building a readership before you even finish the book. There are many people you can begin telling about your writing, including your friends, family and peers. It’s quite alright to share details about what you are creating. Be comfortable asking those close to you, those who understand you, for support. But, also remember to give your peers--including other indie authors--support in their efforts too. Once you have completed your book or project, those whom you've involved in the process will be eager to make a purchase.
Create A Mailing List
Email marketing is a great strategy for self-published authors. It gives you a way to connect personally with your audience. An audience that is tightly connected with you will likely follow you on a regular basis. Create a mailing list and make sure to put a link and call to action on your website so that it is very easy for others to join.
Give Something To Your Readership
It’s very good to make that connection with your audience, but make it personal. Make sure that you are giving them something that is beneficial. For example, if you are sending out regular, informative emails you must do more than just make a sales pitch. You’ll lose readership if that’s all you do. Give them something “extra” for following you. One idea is to offer them exclusive content or something that is not common knowledge. If it’s applicable to your situation, providing mentorship might be welcome, or support the creative ventures of your audience. Each indie author is different and there will be very creative and unique ways to give back to your readership. Don’t be afraid to contribute to them in the way that makes the most sense to you.
Numbers Are Not Everything
Even though you want more people following you, when it comes to building a readership it’s really not as much about gaining a large audience as it is connecting with them. The interaction or engagement with your audience is where the real benefit is. By establishing a real connection with them, it is likely to be an ongoing, long-term relationship. That’s where the power is, because when you are connected with a follower, they will be sure to spread your news. It’s better to have a couple hundred people on your mailing list who are going to tweet about your latest book to their friends than it is to have a couple thousand friends on Facebook who passively read your status updates. Always remember to engage with your readership, not just count them.
Be YourselfIt is very important to be yourself when engaging with your readership. As an author, you do not need to create a persona. Readers are intuitive and will see past the façade. It’s much better to be yourself so that you will be the same every time you interact with them. They are looking for genuineness and openness. Think of them as a community, not just people who buy your book. Honest interaction with your readership is what will keep them connected to you.