I constantly hear authors say they don’t know how to grow a fan base. They tweet, blog, Face Book, email, subscribe to promotional services, blog-hop, all the tried and true methods recommended by the “experts.” They have built it—why isn’t anyone coming?
First, let me point out that if “everybody” is doing it, why be the same as everyone? The whole point is to stand out. I’ve heard it said that authors have imagination, yet it seems to me they turn creativity off when it comes time to promote.
I love promotion. Probably more than I like writing. I remember BI (before Internet) when it was hard to reach readers. We sent postcards and made the post office rich off all those stamps. Now the opportunities are endless. To me, it’s like throwing out a fishing line and see who bites. I love the challenge.
Now we get to the brass tacks and a few of my tricky tactics to build a fan base. First, identify what you don’t like with the promotion of others. Do you really have time to run over to every blog because the author begs you to read it? Unless they are a friend and you feel obligated, I’m going to guess the answer is no. Even if you do, how many times is it a waste, either stuff you’ve read before, thinly disguised self-promotion or just their boring personal musings. If you decide to blog-hop ask yourself “Do I have enough interesting material to keep people following me?” Is another free e-book going to make you rush to buy? I’m guessing you already have too many books on your Kindle that you’ll never read.
Now ask yourself what promotions grab your interest. I’m always drawn to great headlines. Maybe that comes from my past career as a journalist. If it makes me smile, I’m in. But, it has to be followed up by content. You have to have a fresh take so I can feel it was worth the 5 minutes to read the blog. I’ll sign up to follow, I’ll spread the word. You also have to have a personality and it can’t be boring. I tend to be plain-spoken and challenging. I want to poke the dragon and get a little fire.
I’ve done two smart things in my career and they have paid off. I realized early on that new authors were lost in the maze of the Internet. I blatantly promised that I could cut 5 years off their career path if they would just blindly follow my lead. I already monitored many sites and by sifting through them I saved new authors the work. I named this group “The Posse” and even made paper badges to wear. I taught them to support each other by running over to the blogs of other members and making comments. It was definitely noticed by blog hosts. Now we’re talking about having a Face Book page. What I created was a group that was very supportive of me.
The other thing I did was revive my Coming Attractions column. BI I did this column for my Sisters In Crime newsletter. I found out who was coming out with a book, announced and did a quippy blurb and gained the gratitude of authors. Now I do it over at Kings River Life and I have a much wider readership. I could leave it there, but that would be lazy. The editor offers a drawing for free books just by making a comment. I monitor who makes comments and contact them on Face Book to thank them for their comment. I also take notes on what sort of book they want to win. The next time that sort of book becomes available, I give them a heads up. An offer for a cozy cookbook garnered over 100 comments. Next time there’s a foodie mystery, I will make personal contact and let them know.
Let me ask you: if an author took the time to pay attention to you and your preferences, wouldn’t you be flattered? If that person remembers your feline’s name is Kit-Kat and asks after her health, wouldn’t it warm your heart? If someone made the effort to give you free publicity, wouldn’t you be grateful? It really takes no extra time to be aware. Aside from the fact that I enjoy doing this, I’m rewarded ten times over. I get reviews, interviews and meet fans at conferences. They want to thank me. And yes, they buy my books.
We’re all on social media but most think of it as a one-way street. I have no time or interest in listening to your pleas to buy your book.. But make the effort to get to know me as a person and I am more than willing to fork over a few dollars to support you.
Navy Veteran Sunny Frazier trained as a journalist and wrote for a city newspaper, military and law enforcement publications. After working 17 years with the Fresno Sheriff’s Department, 11 spent as Girl Friday with an undercover narcotics team, it dawned on her that mystery writing was her real calling. Her Christy Bristol Astrology Mysteries are based on actual cases with a bit of astrology added, a habit Frazier has developed over the past 42 years.
For more, go to http://www.sunnyfrazier.com
When sheriff’s department office assistant Christy Bristol Is visiting her friend Lennie in the Sierra Nevada foothills when a murder is committed. Christy is conscripted by the homicide team to handle the reports and the detectives put her up in an empty forest ranger’s cabin. As the body count grows it becomes apparent the killer is targeting undesirables in the town of Burlap. When a snitch calls Christy and accuses a deputy of the murders, Christy doesn’t know whether to believe the allegation. Could a killer be hiding behind his badge? Christy decides to solve the case her own way by using astrology to profile the killer but putting her own future at risk.
And time is running out.