connecting with readers 1

This is the second of a sometimes series of articles I’ve titled “marketing for life.” Today’s topic is “connecting with readers.”

Connecting with Readers

I should say connect with your peeps, as in finding and building an audience of readers that FEEL, THINK, LIVE, and READ similar to you. It’s this “making friends” step in marketing that can make you different from an internet troll or annoying “me, me, me” book author.

Take a look at the following images? Which one conveys the supportive environment you want around you?

A simple handshake is a business deal. A fist bump says you’re bros, you’re pals. A high-five? That’s kudos, congratulations, all in. A group hug? Everyone loves everyone, and supports them.

How do you get to that group hug? Build authentic relationships between you and other people. Not your book and people. But YOU and people.

Look. You are a writer, yes, but you are also a reader. To find others who will read what you have written (hopefully it is a given that you’ve written something you’d enjoy reading), think about how you find books you want to read. How do you find and decide on books to read? Keeping this uppermost in your mind will help shape the most effective, and efficient, marketing plan for getting your book into the hands of readers.

So… just yesterday, this question appeared on an authors promotions group where I am a member…

“How do I find readers for my book?”

Let’s ask ourselves some questions and figure this out, ‘k?

1. What made YOU write the book in the first place?
2. What is the book about generally (topics, genre, tags)?
3. What is the book about specifically (the plot, the places, the character types)?
4. Why would YOU read your book?

Journal this part if it helps make the thinking process clearer.

1. What made YOU write the book?

Are you trying to answer a societal question, a personal question, or a dilemma?
If so, what is that question?

Now, write down what other TYPES of people might be asking that same question. Is it a question that is frequently asked by new adults? Older people seeking a second chapter to their lives after divorce? Romantics or would-be world travelers?

If you wrote the book to address an emotional situation, what are those situations and emotions?

Now, write down what other TYPES of people might experience those emotional situations.

Because I’m an adult blog: if you write adult stories, definitely ask yourself:
If you wrote the book to eroticize something, what is it?

Now, write down the names used by the communities (leather, BDSM, LGBTQ, swingers) of people that enjoy these specific eroticisms (sometimes called kinks).

2. What is the book about generally?

The answer to this question is going to generate tags for your book listing and, again, directly reach out to the communities of people who might be interested in reading your book.
What’s the genre? Here’s a chart I find handy to not only identify genre, but the genres it’s related to (it also has examples). 

What makes your book similar to or different from other books in the same genre? Is it a mashup of genre tropes? Is it a cross-genre (having trope elements common two or more genres) story? To effectively answer this you have to be widely read, so search the genre term on Amazon and start reading if you aren’t already. Here’s a link to tropes that are common to genres.

3. What is the book about specifically?

Now list the situations your characters find themselves in (some of these may be tropes).

If your main character is a teen, is your book written to appeal to teenagers? How? What specific details, events, traumas, conflicts, challenges, etc. in the story make that connection?

You will use this information to develop your marketing content.

4. Why would YOU read your book?

Final question. No, this is not explain why you wrote it. This is about why you, if you were a reader, would pick it up from the shelf or out of the Amazon search.

What excites YOU about the content? Are you in love with your leading man? Why? Is your main character you in disguise, fulfilling a dream life you want? Are you excited by the setting of the story? If the plot is to save the world, in what ways have you wanted to save the world and this is giving “voice” to that?

What next?

Go through your answers above and underline the key words you would use to find other books for your own reading shelf.

Search and expand your circle of friends who read

Search with these terms in your preferred search engine or social networking space. Look for results that take you to groups (online and offline), social network hashtag chats (finding a scheduled chat is ideal). Make lists of these groups, follow the hashtags, join in the conversations of others interested in the same things you are.

Once you’ve joined groups and engaged in your first hashtag chats, I offer my heartiest congratulations. You’ve found your peeps!

~ Lara

Next post, I’ll talk about to actually talk to your peeps about your writing (ideally start with blogging), then your book specifically. 

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