How to Build a Following to Promote Your Book
Self-published authors take on a lot of tasks, but, importantly, they don’t go it alone. Not completely. However, one area where indie authors might struggle to get the help they need is marketing. That’s why having a following is valuable for promoting your book.
These are readers who like your work and can hype your book through word of mouth, a marketing strategy that has stood the test of time. Of course, with the advent of social media, getting the word about your book out has never been easier, so make sure to take advantage of this.
Read on to learn how to build, grow, and retain your following.
Build your following
You want a group of faithful followers to shout praises of your book from the rooftops, but where do you find them? The answer: start small. Recruit friends and family who support you. These are your first fans. If you’re lucky, they will reach out to their friends and families, and before you know it, you will have amassed a decent following!
From there, branch out to other communities. Join a local authors’ group, find readers online (YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter have thriving book communities), or check out your library’s book clubs. Basically: network! You want to make sure you search for readers in your specific genre as they are the ones who will be most likely to buy your book.
Now, don’t immediately ask your new friends to buy or review your book. Settle into the community and get to know it first. You don’t want to come across as desperate or greedy, so take the time to get your feet wet and integrate with the community. Interact with readers and authors: leave comments online, read others’ books, and follow book reviewers. In other words, engage with the community members, and they’ll engage with you! The key is to be personable and approachable.
Grow your following
Once you’ve joined a book community (locally and online), people may start following you. Make sure you have an author website where they can check out your books and learn more about you. Also, you want to have an active presence on social media. If you are not tech-savvy, reach out to a friend who is and see if they can help you set up your social media pages. You could also hire a professional to do that for you, but it will cost you.
Start a newsletter and offer freebies or an entry to a giveaway for people who sign up. Something with a personal touch is best, for example, a signed copy of your book. You want people to join your mailing list so that they will be easily converted into promoters later—this is how you grow your following.
Maintain a regular newsletter with frequent CTAs (calls to action), like inviting followers to share a book, post a review, buy your next book, or refer a friend to your newsletter. You can also offer giveaways for actions taken by your supporters.
If you have the means, consider sending out some Advanced Readers Copies (ARCs), either print or digital. ARCs are copies that people get to read and review before official publication. This helps them feel closer to you and builds a certain type of loyalty between your readers and yourself. Encourage advanced readers to post a review to Goodreads, Youtube, Instagram, or Twitter.
Retain your following
As mentioned, freebies and giveaways are a great way to expand your following. You obviously can’t offer these too often, but you need to keep new supporters engaged.
Remember to send regular newsletters. People relish a connection with the authors they support and the feeling of belonging to an “insider” group, so give them the inside scoop! Announce upcoming books, give a “sneak peak” of a cover, share an excerpt or an unpublished short story, or host a live chat for your followers. Maybe tell them about your writing process. You can show them rough drafts or deleted scenes that didn’t make the final cut. Readers will love this sort of behind-the-scenes glimpse into your world!
Crucially, keep interacting with readers online. Don’t abandon them just because they have told their friends and families all about your books. Instead, reply to comments, share tweets when someone mentions your book, or “like” a positive Goodreads review. If you notice (and appreciate) your readers, they’ll notice you, too.
Remember, your readers are your marketing team! Interact with them, share news, and make them feel like part of a unique community.Need more help promoting your book? Check out our marketing package.