Finding Readers

“Here reader, reader, reader. Here, reader, where are you?”

Finding readers for your books can be like trying to find the proverbial needle in a haystack. There are the usual marketing things you can do to entice them, and there are a few “out of the box” ones that I have stumbled upon that have helped. Marketing, of course, is important. But sometimes it’s not just the marketing aspect that draws readers to you. We are writers; we are supposed to be creative. It’s in our nature to be. So use it! Here are some out of the box ways to find readers:

#Hash it out#
Twitter is either loved or hated. Yes, I’m 50/50 on that one too. I find it useful and annoying. Folks who really market their books hard use apps that allow tweets to be re-tweeted every few hours. Okay, to me, that’s spam. After a while, I just ignore them. There is another, more sneaky way of getting folks interested in you- hash tags. Admittedly, I didn’t have a clue as to their use or meaning. Someone wrote an article about them (maybe it was on IU, can’t remember) about the use of hash tags on Twitter. What are they good for? Sending your tweets to sources that you might not think of for marketing.

Here is an example of one of my tweets:

#Love to #read? You know you want some of this. #Kindle #ebook #thrillers #scifi #erotica #romance

What the heck have I done? Well, if this was a real post on Twitter (actually it was), each of the words following the # would take you to another page where those words are featured. Why is this important? Because folks surf those words looking for interesting things. How does this help? Exposure! Twitter is all about “followers” and each follower you get is a potential customer for your books. I capitalized on the #Olympics and put up a few tweets for my novella “Cowboys and Olympians.” Has it worked? Well, I picked up a few new followers and noticed a couple sales of the book on Amazon. If the sales were related to Twitter, then hopefully they will enjoy the book and see what else I have to offer. Tweeting with hash tags and your author page is handy too.

Doing Favors
As Indies, we’re not alone in the world—as much as it seems like we are. Helping out a fellow Indie can have great benefits. Are you good at something? Formatting? Editing? Covers? Most of us are not Jacks or Jacquies of all trades. So if you can help a fellow Indie, do it! It can be something as simple as fixing the lettering on a cover, or offering to edit a chapter so they can see where they need to do work. Time is money, and we know that. So what will you get in return? A grateful author for starters; and one, who if they like your work, will pimp your name and books on their social networks.

I do work for other authors—much of it paid work. Do I get a lot of it? Nope. When a book I’ve worked on comes out, I ask the authors for a buy link so I can put it on my social networks for them. It’s just being nice. We’re all in this together and the more we help each other out, the better. Even if I do the occasional free work, I will feature the book just because I have a little stake in it too, and I like to see authors succeed.

So there you have it: two more ways to find readers and create loyal fans. Social media and Indie publishing look like they’re here to stay. Capitalizing on their use can help increase sales and make your name more well-known. Word of mouth, social media, and friends are great; just don’t bog them down with constant spam. If they like your books, they will tell the world. For us Indies, there is no time to sit back and rest on our laurels, there is work to be done.

Author: K. Rowe

K. Rowe is an experienced and prolific multi-genre author. She draws from over twenty years of active Air Force service. Kathy lives in eastern Kentucky with her husband and a zoo of farm animals. Among her many duties she finds time to offer services as a publishing consultant for new authors. Learn more about Kathy from Facebook, and her Amazon author page.

12 thoughts on “Finding Readers”

  1. Yes, I’ve been studying marketing all year, a very time consuming task, and one that is absolutely necessary. I particularly appreciated the hash tag info, Twitter has always befuddled me; not really knowing how to utilise it, I s’pose. I will probably try this trick though – and as far as those automated tweets are concerned, I ‘unfollow’ anybody that uses them; they’re downright annoying – in fact, I’ve unfollowed most people whom I reciprocated their ‘follow’ to me, simply to gain numbers; only one or two ever actually taking note of anything I put up there, never retweeting, nothing, never acknowledging when I RT for them. I know that’s how it goes, but still…. I take it personally, lol, but largely I haven’t seen any point to Twitter, my messages simply get lost among all the others. But it’s probably just me not doing it right!

    1. Yup, Twitter can be a good friend, or an annoyance. Sometimes you have to sift the wheat from the chaff to get anything. The trick is getting the RIGHT folks to follow you!

  2. I like you comment that writers should be supportive of each other. I find that writing reviews for other authors whose work you like, and putting them on Amazon and Goodreads is a productive use of time. You not only ingratiate yourself with other authors who might promote your work, but it’s great writing practice because you have to say a lot in a few words. I simply can’t understand the attitude of an author (and I’ve heard it happens) who writes a bad review of a rival author. If I found another author who wrote about the Punic wars and I liked the work, I would give it a good review, if not for any other reason than that a reader who is interested in reading their book would most likely also be interested in reading mine.

    1. So many times I’ve head it said: “Indie authors are not in competition with one another.” Sometimes in genres we are, but for the most part, we need to gang up and offer support. You never know that if by giving feedback on someone’s new novel draft that they will be so appreciative and pimp your books for you. I love all my author friends and do everything I can to help. I may live in the middle of nowhere, but I can reach out to many.

  3. Lol, Kathy, I’m Jacque of all trades. Actually, I do trade services for authors. For instance, I do editing for a few fellow authors and they, instead of paying me, will promote my work; something I find very time consuming for me to do. Occasionally, I also make simple book covers that don’t need a lot of layers or depth to them using Paint Shop Pro. Again, I do that for trade services.

    Auto tweets on twitter is nothing but spam. If an author can’t take a few minutes to send out a tweet or two and show us they are a real person and not a robot, I totally ignore them. I am going to start un-following people who follow me with an auto ‘buy my book’ follow response.

    But here’s a suggestion. With all the like fests that are generated by Indies Unlimited, how about a tweet fest where we tweet each other’s tweets once or twice a day. We can put our tweets in a thread and all we have to do is copy and paste the tweet in twitter. We can change them up say once a week or twice a month.

    Great post Kathy. I use the hashtag thing a lot more now that I understand and figured out how to use them.

    1. LOL, and I joke that I’m a Jacqueline of all trades- you really are! Yes, trading favors is wonderful. I have edited portions of manuscripts, fixed (or even created) book covers, promoted someone else’s books, and written reviews. And the result is grateful authors who will help you out in time of need.

      As for the Twitter, how about you doing an article to teach us how to to that stuff? Hashtags are great, but even I admit I’m anything but a seasoned pro at Twitter. But the more exposure we get, the more folks will find us.

      Thanks for your feedback!

  4. Great post but can I ask a question about that #tag? I understand how using them links in to other categories of interest but… how do you actually search for those # tags? Say I wanted to find tweets on #science fiction, where and how would I go to look for them? Apologies, I really am clueless about Twitter.

    1. Great question! OK, on the top bar of your Twitter page is a little “search” bubble- usually toward the right side. Type #science fiction and then click the little magnifying glass. It will take you to the page where that # has been used.

      Note: a hashtag will only “pick up” the word immediately behind it. So if you were to put in #science fiction, you would actually end up with a #science search. Try #scifi instead or get creative- you never know what you’ll find!

      #sci-fi (doesn’t always work due to the dash)

      Good luck, and have fun searching!

  5. Good post, Kathy. I have a problem getting my head around the whole social media thing, but I try to take part in as much of it as I can; however, not being consistent and just not taking as much advantage of it as I should, I must admit to doing a terrible job.

    It just confuses the hell out of me, and when something confuses me I get angry at myself, I then tend to back off to seek a better angle that might make more sense to me; the trouble with that is there is so much to do and think about, in today’s independent author’s world, that it’s easy to then not attend to it for a while – sometimes not at all.

  6. T.D.- OK, stay with me! I want you to take in a nice BIG, deep breath. Let it out, and repeat a couple of times. Relax. Social media can be a real maze to navigate. Don’t let it get to you. First of all, join only what media you feel comfortable with. Geez, there was a while I had 3 Facebook pages (I still do), Twitter, Google +, Linked In, and a few that I no longer remember. What did this do? Confuse the crap out of me! So, I decided I would keep only what I felt comfortable with and dump the rest. I only have Facebook and Twitter now to worry about. Has my sales gone into the toilet? Nope! On the contrary, they have been very good. And not having to worry about all those other accounts gives me time to focus on writing (the most important part) and then spend some time promoting (or goofing off) on social media.

    Don’t look at Facebook as a chore. There are some days I don’t post a single thing about books (mine). I’ll scroll down and see what my friends are up to, wish those with birthdays a “Happy B-day,” and be a part of their lives- even if it’s just a “way to go” post for someone else releasing a book. If you are tech savvy (I am not!) there is a way to link your Twitter to your FB and vice versa. So, if you are lazy like me, and only like FB, then your presence is still felt on Twitter even though you didn’t bother to log in.

    A NYT bestselling author told me that just being on FB can actually increase your sales. Why? Because the simple point of interacting with folks will “plant” your name (and hopefully your brand) into their minds. And when it comes time to look for their next book, they’re gonna say: “Gee, So-and-So was nice enough to wish me a happy birthday, I see they have a new book out; I’m gonna take a look.”

    So don’t sweat it. Log in, look around, get comfortable, and have a little fun. Even if you spend 10 mins a day just replying to other posts, sharing funny ones, or putting out a little blurb on how your life is going, you will start growing an invisible fan base. If you do a blog, make sure that feeds to your FB page, Twitter, and your Amazon author page.

    I was at a writers conference last weekend and was teaching an older author about Twitter. When the group president walked by and asked what we were doing, I replied: “We’re taking over the internet one Tweet at a time.” She smiled, laughed, and gave me a thumbs up.

    Just think of it as digital wallpapering!

    Good luck, and have fun!

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