Hello, Story Empire readers! PH in the house today and wishing you an enjoyable, productive day. First, let me ask this: have you ever looked for something and never found it and when you do, it was right under your nose? Have you ever gone looking for – or at – something and missed what you were looking for? The proverbial saying, “If it was a snake, it would have bit you,” invariably applies and everyone has done.
A while back, I shared a post asking if you know what your biggest selling book is? The reason for the question is to start thinking about the size your audience. To find that out, you need to do some sales tracking and understand what is selling which was also in that previous post. Without getting into why other books are not selling – which is another issue altogether, let’s dig a little deeper with it today.
Probably the biggest piece of marketing staring many authors in the face is audience, readers who buy and consume what you write. They leave reviews and ratings, maybe they are subscribers on an email list or followers on your social media. They are specific people who have gotten on your team and like what you do. You should be cultivating relationships with them, being real and available as best you can, but this is where you start your marketing – and where it ends. The other night I actually spoke to a new fan on the phone. It was surprising and refreshing and I did not pass it up when I could have said I was busy.
Your audience outlook should be looking toward a growing number of people over time – long or short term. Just to be clear, most writers start with a grand total of zero audience members. Yes, you will likely debut to an empty crowd and crickets. Every author on this site started at zero. It’s an uncomfortable feeling, something like throwing a thimble of water in the ocean. Even if you accept that you have no audience it can be discouraging.
But starting is a beginning and you grow that audience with marketing. However, let’s also be honest here, these readers are hopefully going to be the long-term foundation of your audience. Long-term is the important idea here so you should endeavor to be available to your audience, especially when it’s small so go ahead and invite that contact through your book and stay in some regular contact. This is tough to build because genre readers are different. A romance audience is likely to be very responsive while a fantasy or science fiction audience, though avid, may be far less interactive with the author.
While you work on that audience relationship, understand something about your books. Your early books should be something of experiments, not in mere writing, but in growth of audience. Work on tapping and growing the audience with solid writing, editing as well as a title that really addresses your genre, not to mention the cover. Take care to understand who you are really inviting to your audience and whether they actually fit your genre. Your title, story and cover might be pointing toward the wrong audience without you realizing it so take time to analyze what you are doing with writing and branding.
Regardless, your growing audience is your core for advertising and marketing. These are the readers who want to get their hands on your books when they arrive. Ask them to share about it so the audience grows. If your biggest seller is 500 copies, that is your audience so build on that number.
Over time, you learn how to reach larger numbers of readers. It’s with your early works that you improve as an author and marketer. Keep building, because when you reach the point of having a solid, highly marketable idea, you will have that core number of readers ready to jump into it on release and help float sales. Write that big idea very well, then spend time planning on reaching your audience and those beyond them. The early stages of a writing career are building blocks and growing audience size is your focus. It’s staring you in the face. Here are a few suggestions for building audience:
- Bookbub followers – the new release email to followers and genre-interested readers is gold.
- Amazon author page followers (here’s my page) – hard to know how many are there but the email to followers is, well, platinum.
- Your website – even several hundred followers will be able to share and buy when you announce a release. Visit any author on their site for examples.
- Newsletter – you get to contact people in their mailbox if done well and this is a staple of sales with each release.
- Blog tour – planned this well and you can reach large numbers of readers who might not know of you and the results can be very helpful.
- Social media – cultivate follower interaction and you can have even a few readers singing the praises of your latest big idea.
With some familiarity, you can ask people to share in many cases and some will, helping visibility. With that, you will grow your audience much higher over time and find you are having more sales with each new release. It’s right there, staring at you, so don’t shy from it. Embrace it and understand it grows if you cultivate it.
How big is your audience? What makes you shy away from building your audience? Please leave your answers and thoughts in the comments and I’ll answer as soon as I am able. Thanks for stopping by Story Empire and reading today.