ENGAGING YOUR READERS
By Natalie Bright
Let’s switch hats for a minute and be a reader. Let’s think like a fan of books.
Do you follow your favorite authors on social media? Do you enjoy learning more about them and their books through Instagram or Facebook interactions? Do you appreciate glimpses into their daily lives and their writing process? I follow the people and the topics that are of a personal interest to me.
As Facebook evolves into a “Pay to Play”, I am being gutted with ads. And then there are ads on Twitter too. The good thing is that I’m having ongoing info overloads on topics of my choosing, like bestselling authors, book publishing, genealogists, historians, and parents of teenagers. On a regular basis I receive email notification from Twitter on posts labeled “Popular in Your Network”. This week’s included several tweets from a favorite author which annoyed me greatly. It read: “Make sure to buy my book on Amazon.”
Pushy. Intrusive. Down right rude. I’ve been a life-long reader of this person’s work, and yes, I am well aware that there are books for sale.
WE KNOW YOU
Your followers have probably purchased a book or two. Maybe even read it, told a friend, and perhaps posted a review. They know you have books for sale. Or perhaps they haven’t made a purchase yet, and just want to learn more about you. If there’s a connection, they may become interested enough to read your work.
I want to buy YOUR book. I want to discover great stories by new-to-me authors. Perhaps it’s the beautiful cover that entices me, or a brilliant tagline. It’s NOT going to be a pushy, condescending ‘call to act’ that makes me want your book.
BECAUSE YOU CAN’T FAKE IT
If you don’t enjoy social media, do not pretend to be engaged with your fans by posting mundane, meaningless posts because someone told you to. It’s not sincere, you’re only irritating us, and you’re most certainly not attracting new follows, which should be your goal. If a new follower visits your twitter page and your feed is full of self-promotion, they’re not going to follow you. Would you follow you? Either be your true self because you sincerely want to engage with people, or stop it. Don’t post meaningless garbage. Just don’t. If you’re not interested in it, more than likely your fans won’t be either. I’m not naïve enough to think that big name authors do all of their posting, but the savvy ones have assistants who can be authentic and work hard at reflecting the personality of their clients.
Social media is a powerful tool. Marie Force, bestselling Hybrid Author, engages regularly with her fans and recommends that authors spend as much time on Facebook as possible. Nora Roberts is posting this week from Italy, with breathtaking views, delicious food, and tales of her shopping exploits. Eloisa James posts tidbits and pictures from all over Europe on her many travels. Indi author, Joanna Penn, of the Creative Penn, credits her success to Twitter. These are just three examples from a few of my favorite authors who use social media in extraordinary ways. There are many more.