Being a successful author isn’t just about great writing. It’s about great communication.
Which reader engagement platforms to use is a big decision for authors. There are many ways to keep in touch with readers. But there are only so many hours in the day. So how do we choose the right options to keep you, our readers, thinking about our books?
Forget the super successful
I’m not aiming to become one of those household names making millions from a lucrative contract with a big publishing firm. I know how they do it – they get a contract with a big publishing firm! And I know how hard it is to achieve that. I’m aiming for a modest, and realistic, level of success.
I’ve done a lot of marketing training and I’ve watched a lot of author interviews. Those authors usually say that staying in touch with their readers is an important element of success. And research tells us that an email list is the number one way to turn readers into loyal fans.
So why am I hesitating to start an email list?
Age isn’t just a number
The reason I decided to launch a podcast, and to join Instagram, is that my readers are mostly kids. The Lost Mysteries series is aimed at the 10-13 age range. My current work in progress is for a slightly older group, more squarely in the young adult (teenager) bracket. Those readers don’t tend to spend a lot of time checking their emails.
And my books are unlikely to be of interest to the parents, who do read emails. Because their kids are old enough to make their own reading choices. But a lot of people who read young adult books are actually not in the young adult age range. Many adults read young adult fiction. Not straight forward, is it?
So many options, so little time
Another important consideration is time. Setting up an email list, creating a welcome sequence, coming up with new messages each month. It all takes time. Maintaining a blog, a podcast, several social media accounts, and numerous book website pages, takes time too.
It’s not just a case of prioritising one platform over another. There is the existing audience to consider. I don’t want to alienate existing readers by spending most of my time on a platform they don’t use. Then again, just because people are reading my blog or my tweets, that doesn’t mean they are reading my books. It’s possible these are all distinct groups of people!
One thing I know about writers: we have to write. So we have to limit how much time we spend on communication. It’s the only way we can keep producing books.
Over to you
What do you think? As a blog reader, do you regularly buy books? Would you read a book because you liked a blog post by the same author?
If you read young adult fiction, how do you like to hear about books and author news? What’s your preferred way to keep in touch with your favourite authors?
If you are an author, what contact methods have worked best for you?