Personal Posts, Writing

Market to Readers, Not Writers


I make it a point not to follow people on Twitter or G+ who constantly spam links without any type of pre-discussion. Usually, if there is some actual content there that has nothing to do with, “Check out my 5 star book ——> insertlinkhere!” I’ll read the opening, then click the link if I think it’s interesting or not. There’s nothing wrong with sharing content, especially if you think it will help other writers, but when 90% of your follow base are writers… It’s best to keep links to a minimum. Either that, or link to helpful/interesting things. Things WRITERS will find interesting. Share with writers and let them decide if they want to be your readers.

Now, you may ask, well, how do I find readers when most of my followers are
writers? Well, I have a list for that:

  • READER TAILORED HASHTAGS
    Just like authors/writers have writer-tailored hashtags, there are reader tailored ones, too. #amwriting —-> #amreading. Readers love talking to other readers, especially about books they like to read. Just recently I finished Reached from the Matched Series. Once I finished the book, I used the hashtag #MatchedSeries. I got a couple of hits and DMs from people who wanted to know what I thought, and from those people I got a couple of clicks to my website, then to my book. Don’t sell to people. Share. Then, they may take the time to buy it for themselves.
  • JOIN READING CLUBS/COMMUNITIES/GROUPS/LISTS
    I’m just going to assume you like to read what you write, so joining reading groups that you enjoy will help lead you to your readers. Make friends. Let them discover you through your profile. MAKE SURE YOU HAVE A LINK TO YOUR WEBSITE. I can’t stress that enough. Please, please, please have it in plain view so it can be easily found. But like I said before, let them find you. Don’t start auto-DMs or any of that nonsense. That’s annoying and a turn-off.
  • BE ACTIVE
    Don’t just join these groups and disappear until your book comes out, then just spam links. Be active. Support your fellow authors and read some books so you can take part in discussion. The more active you are in those groups – where your readers are – the more likely you are to make a sale. Plus, if someone likes you and your work enough, someone else may promote you. Self-promo works, but it can be annoying. If you can get someone else to promote your work by just being you, that’s a major accomplishment. It will help. I promise.
  • REMEMBER, YOU STARTED AS A READER
    Supporting and helping other writers by just being a reader, speaks volumes. It shows that you’re active, that you’re not only out to make a sale, and that you genuinely care about other writes. This is where that sharing aspect really comes in. Share your knowledge. Share yourself. Tell people about your favorite books, ask them about theirs, ask about their books, and hopefully they’ll ask about yours. Just don’t forget you started as a reader. Be a reader, and remember what you look for in an author.

This was a really touchy-feely post for me, or at least it seemed that way. Too often I will meet a fantastic author who seems genuinely wanting to help, but in the end only talked to me long enough to sell a book, then disappeared to go sell to someone else. Regardless, I hope everyone I speak to – writer or reader – finds some of my tips and tricks useful and that we can spark up discussion more than once.

Now, for the discussion. I want to divert a little bit and ask a few personal questions, what are your favorite books? Do you read YA? What groups would you be apart of as a writer? Want to ask me a question? Feel free.

And as always, thank you for reading!

-Lissy

18 thoughts on “Market to Readers, Not Writers”

  1. Great advice. All my twitter followers (a whopping 67!) are writers and I’d like a few more readers.

    I don’t read YA but my taste is all over the place. Recently went from Word War Z, to Neil Gaiman’s Neverwhere, to the Lady Emily Mysteries. Always reading some indie authors, too.

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    1. I’m glad I could give you at least a bit of advice!

      How is World War Z? I saw that a movie came out with the same title, and I have been itching to pick up the book, but haven’t gotten a chance.

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      1. It’s fantastic but emotionally exhausting and graphic and very disturbing. If you can deal with that, I highly recommend it.

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  2. Good advice that follows my philosophy as well, but it is always good to be reminded. My favorite books are largely science fiction, though I’ll read most anything well written. I occasionally read YA as I have a daughter who does, and I like to share thoughts with her about what she is reading. My favorite so far is The Wanderer.

    I spend time on Goodreads, but lately I have found it unsatisfying. Just can’t find a discussion I want to be part of. Perhaps I am hanging out with too many writers. 🙂

    What area of writing have you found to be the most difficult: setting, characterization, etc.?

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    1. Characterization, definitely. I tend to make my characters brains. They lack emotion, but carry weight when it comes to their knowledge and insight. I usually have to do a whole upheaval of characters before I can even begin to finish a first draft. Thankfully, I have real people I can fashion then after, so that helps.

      My mother and I used to make it a ritual to read the same books so we could discuss them later. Those memories are the highlight of my childhood, and I’m glad to see other parents doing the same and sharing their love of books.

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  3. Good advice. I’m trying to figure out how to connect with my readers, since the target audience is ages 8-12, and those kids generally aren’t on Twitter or Facebook (or shouldn’t be, if they are following the rules). Which means I’m usually trying to connect with the parents.

    I do read YA – and good MG (like Rick Riordan). It’s good stuff.

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    1. In your case, I’d also try joining parent groups and discuss some your kids’ favorite books, or ask what people would recommend as far as books appropriate for children. Then, let the parents know about your book.

      There are also parent chats on twitter. I can’t remember the tags at the moment, but those might be of some help.

      I’ll check those out. Thanks for the comment!

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  4. This is an amazing post, Alyssa! It really struck a chord with me as both a writer and a reader.

    As a reader, I tend to unfollow authors, favorite or not, who tend to only communicate “Buy my book, buy my book” whenever I bump into them on Twitter. I’m not asking for them to cook me dinner just because I bought one of their books but do more for your fans besides marketing. Ex., what gave you the idea for the book, if you could cast your book for a movie what actor/actress would you prefer to play the parts?

    Sure, from a writer’s POV, that may be seen as a bit of marketing. But for me as a reader, you’re giving me kind of a behind-the-scenes sneak peek into the story. I love that.

    As an writer (nothing published yet), I want to connect with other readers. Not because I want them to buy my “future” book, but because I want to know what they love about their favorite characters and what they hate about the ones who are not their favorite. What do they love about their favorite authors? If and how their favorite books have affected their lives?

    I want to connect with my readers. Not as an author, but as a fellow reader. ヅ

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    1. That’s a great philosophy, and hold on to that as tight as you can. It’s too easy to fall into the regular routine of market, market, market. There is time to talk and connect. Even if all you can do is ask one simple question in a post, do it.

      Create a forum that your readers can take part and flourish in. That’s my goal, anyway. 🙂 Thank you for the comment.

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  5. Thanks for the great advice! I find most of my contacts are writers and am struggling to connect with readers. But I have a special case: my current books are local history, so it seems only a small geographic area would be interested – a real challenge! I have had comments that they would be suitable for older children and YA, but don’t know how to take advantage of this.

    I am also working on a science fiction book, so I’m trying to make connections in that area well in advance before my novel is ready. That way I’m not saying ‘buy my book’ because there isn’t one yet!

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    1. Here are some tags that might benefit you:
      #folklore
      #folktales
      #YALit
      #YABooks
      #SF
      #SciFi
      #SciFiBooks
      #SciFiLit
      #NALit
      #NewAdult

      Good luck on your journey! Please keep me updated! I would love to pick up a copy when the time comes. Thank you for the comment!

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  6. Alyssa, thanks for this encouraging piece. That’s my problem, I have to connect with my readers. I just published my two e-book novellas and I have no problem connecting with my fellow writers but my readers. Can you please educate me further about hashtags and I will keep focused on this.

    More power to you!

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    1. Of course! I will make a post as soon as possible on how to use, and what hashtags to use, to find your reader market. Until then, here are a few simple ways to use them.

      Try putting a genre in front of “book,” or “lit,” then when people go looking for that specific genre – YA, for example – then they can look up #YAbook or #YALit and it will come up. I hope that helped for now.

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  7. Yes, a very helpful post thank you! I have been pondering this dilemma recently, since my book sales plummeted and I couldn’t figure out what to do. I like interacting with writers, but of course I need readers, and I don’t like spamming people because I don’t appreciate it from others.

    I have been enjoying some YA recently, although I do prefer adult novels. I read and reviewed ‘Forged By Greed’ by Angela Orlowski-Peart, and I enjoyed that one. It’s a paranormal Young Adult novel. Next on my list is ‘Affliction’ by Laurell K Hamilton. I absolutely love her Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series and she is my role model as an author.

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