As a publicist I am frequently asked, “What is the best thing I can do to sell my books? Should I be building my social media? Should I be writing more books? Should I be involved in book clubs? Should I join Facebook groups?” My answer is yes, all of those are important. However, the most important thing to do is to connect.
I know, I know. You think I am off my rocker, but think with me for a minute. I had an acquaintance who was involved in selling a product; whenever I was going to see her, I dreaded it. I knew how it would go. She would make small talk and then, BAM! It was about the product she was selling and how great it would be for me. I would spend the rest of the time figuring out how I was going to get away. I think all of us have been in this situation at one time or another.
Sometimes this is what we do to our readers. We use our social media, including the Facebook groups we join, to say “buy my books”, and then we say “buy my books” with an excerpt, and then we say “buy my book” with a quote from a review, and then we say…well, you get the picture. We become “that” friend, the one we dread.
You know what our readers do? They scroll right past.
So, here are five thoughts on building connectivity.
- Share a bit of your life
In your newsletter, in your Facebook feed, on Instagram. Readers want to know you. What you share doesn’t have to be really personal, it just has to give a glimpse into you. What does your desk look like? What is your weather like? Talk about your work in progress. Share some fun things.
- Engage your reader
Respond to a comment here and there on your Facebook newsfeed posts. You want your reader to know you care about them. This doesn’t have to be long or overwhelming. Let me give you an example. Your current WIP is set in New Orleans and you share this on your newsfeed. One of your reader’s comments, “I love New Orleans! I have been there frequently”. A great response would be, “Me too! Café du Monde is my favorite place in New Orleans. What’s yours?” It’s easy, it’s direct, and it engages.
- Be involved in your Facebook groups
Facebook groups are a wonderful place to connect with your readers. Many times, the group’s admins will post a fun question to engage the members of the group. This is an easy way to engage readers in the group. Do not pop into the group, post a “buy my book”, and pop out. It generally doesn’t work. If you are connecting in the group by commenting on posts, then when you post a “buy my book” once in a while, the reader will be interested.
- Be active
To be effective in connecting with readers, you need to be active on your social media. It will not work if you pop on once a week to post. Let’s face it, it takes time to connect; it takes effort. Can I encourage you to start by setting aside 15 minutes a day, 4 days a week to connect with your readers? Pop into your favorite groups and make a comment. Reply to a comment on your post. Post something on your timeline. The time goes quickly and you will find it becomes fun!
In the beginning I stated that people ask me about Facebook groups, social media, and book clubs, and I said they can all be good things to do. They make you active! Just remember as you do all of these, to connect with your reader.
- Be genuine
I cannot express the importance of this thought. Readers know if you are going through the motions; they know if you are just commenting to comment. Your readers are smart and perceptive. If you are not genuine, your time will be ineffective. What I try to keep in mind when I am connecting on social media is “readers care about me”. They pray for me, they ask me how I am doing, they are concerned when I am not doing well. I want to honor them by caring for them as well.
I want to leave you with one last thought:
Friends. Think of your readers as your friends. I have several people ask me why an author who has created a well-written story can have hardly any sales, yet an author who writes a mediocre story can have a lot of sales. It is because the author engages the readers and creates friends. If you had $15 to spend, would you spend it on a book from an author you do not know or an author who is your friend? Make friends with your readers. You will find they not only support you, but become a huge blessing in your life.