Most authors dutifully post their beautifully-designed graphics on their social media pages advertising their upcoming release and then sit back, waiting for the sales to pour in. But, if you’re a new author—and a self-published one at that—getting discovered is going to take a lot more effort.
But, with a loyal fanbase, anything is possible. When you find the readers who truly enjoy the books you write, who are dedicated fans of your genre, and who follow you on your writing journey with genuine love and support, you will have an audience that clamours to read every one of your upcoming releases. This is the authentic fanbase every writer craves—the fanbase that’s going to stick with you and your characters to the end. With the advent of social media, it is becoming increasingly easy to build an authentic fanbase in the comfort of your home.
How do you find such loyal readers? That’s what we’re here to discuss.
01. Engage with Your Target Audience
The first step to creating a loyal, authentic fanbase is to find your target audience. To whom does your book most appeal to? Determine the age group (is your book for, early teenager? young adults? adults?) and also which genre your book falls to (fantasy, romance, science fiction, historical fiction, etc.).
Use the various social media platforms to reach out to these people. Be a part of virtual reading communities (e.g.: book clubs, reading groups on Goodreads and Facebook) and engage in conversations with people who enjoy your genre. But be sure not to promote your book at once—first strive to become a part of the community.
02. Be Authentic Yourself
In our desire to appear charismatic and accomplished, we often dismiss the importance of being humble. In order to gain an authentic reader-base, you need to be authentic yourself. Be sincere when interacting with your readers and treat them with respect.
Give them an insight to the writer’s life and let them have an occasional glimpse of your pets—in fact, V. E. Schwab, the author of many best-selling books such as A Darker Shade of Magic and The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue, uploads Instagram Stories of her many (adorable) cats and dogs nearly everyday, which is why I love viewing her Stories. This assures your readers that you’re just as human as they are, and creates a bond between you and them.
03. Create a Blog and Email List
Having your own website or blog is an easy way to increase sales of your books and discover more readers. When readers like the content you upload on your site, they are more likely to sign up to your newsletter and follow you on your social media.
04. Connect With Other Authors From Your Genre
Find popular and upcoming authors who write books of your genre, and build genuine connections with them, because their readers are likely to also enjoy your books. Read their books and review them, leaving positive feedback on their sites for readers to see. Share their books on your social media and introduce them to your own readerbase. You can also connect with social media influencers like popular bookstagrammers, book club members, etc.
The relationship you build with them should not be entirely on a professional basis, where you share their book with the intention of seeing your book shared by them. When you build genuine friendships, the feedback they leave on your books will also be genuine and encouraging.
Sharika Hafeez is a nerd, and she’s proud of it. Growing up, she fell in love with books and writing, and is currently following her undergraduate degree (for some mysterious reasons) in Physics. She likes procrastinating by watching the stars with a steaming cup of tea, composing poetry in her head.