My favorite part of writing (by far) is getting to know my readers. But how can I show them how important they are to me? That was a question I asked my Facebook community, and (with a little help from my friends) I came up with more than 50 ways! This is the first of three blog posts that highlight ways writers can show their readers some love. Enjoy, share, and add to the list in the commetns. I hope it sparks some creative ideas!
Day 1: Thank them! This one seems like a no brainer, but we often forget. Mom always said, when someone does something nice for you, say thank you! From writing reviews, to retweeting our tweets, to sending us e-mails. The varieties of kindnesses bestowed upon us by readers are impressive. And I’m always surprised by how delighted readers are to hear from me. So, my author friends: Have you thanked your readers lately?
Day 2: Send them an Authorgraph! Many readers love autographs, but they can’t necessarily meet their favorite authors in person. How about an Authorgraph! This fun app allows authors to send autographs to fans whether they read the old fashioned paper way or on their favorite electronic screen. Better yet, it’s free to both parties!
Day 3: Wish them a happy birthday on Facebook! Maybe it’s just me, but I love it when people contact me to wish me a happy birthday. And Facebook makes it so easy! Sign up to get an e-mail stating which of your friends has a birthday each day. Before you know it, you’ll have a daily e-mail reminder. Your quick Happy-B-day might make one of your reader’s day!
Day 4: Create a fan page for your books: I have both a personal page on Facebook and an author page. I prefer my personal page, because “friending” my readers lets me learn more about them and their lives. But there’s an entirely different page readers might enjoy: A Fan page for their favorite series! I haven’t done this yet, but it seems like a fab way to connect readers with their favorite series. This page by fellow Inker Sheila Boneham is a great example.
Day 5: Share information about other books they might like. Chances are you also read the genre in which you write, and you may know great authors that your readers haven’t heard of—yet. If you love a book or an author, why not post about them on your author page or fan groups? You’ll help a fellow author and your readers at the same time!
Day 6: Chat them up at conferences. As authors, it’s really easy to hang out with your clan when you travel to a conference. How about hanging out with readers? Invite your readers to have a drink, a coffee, or even just take a few minutes to introduce yourself. Some of my favorite people are readers I’ve meet at conferences!
Day 7: Friend them! Author pages are great—I have one myself. But personal walls are more, well, personal. When readers become friends, instead of just fans, the dialogue changes. It’s less about promoting your work and more about building connection. Once you’re a rock star, you’ll reach the 5000 limit for your friends, but until then, why not reach out to your readers, or accept their requests when they reach out to you? If you want to friend me, I'm at this link.
Day 8: Share more with them than “buy my book!” Believe me, I know that finding readers is hard, and that most of us well outspend what we make on our books trying to market them. But who wants to have a friend who only reaches out when they need something? What information would interest your readers? Think of how you can serve them, and then when you do post an occasional “buy my book,” they might be more interested in supporting you.
Day 9: Post a video of you reading from your newest work! OK—I’m going to admit—this is not one I’m likely to do, because I HATE to see myself on video. But how about creating a quick and easy youtube video of you reading a scene from your work? Readers who can never see you do a reading in person may love the opportunity to do so in video. Plus, it can double for one of your blog entries! Everyone wins!
Day 10: “Like” the reviews they write for you on Goodreads or mark them as helpful on Amazon. Most readers don’t have a review blog, and even posting a review on Amazon or Goodreads is adding one more to-do item to their busy schedule. A simple click lets them know that you noticed, and that you appreciated it!
Day 11: Speak at their book clubs. You may not be able to be there in person, by Skype is a wonderful thing! You’ll get to see the happy face of your reader and meet a few more at the same time. I’ve only done this a handful of times myself, but it’s been a blast!
Day 12: Send them an autographed bookmark! Not every reader can get your autograph in person, and Authorgraph (see day 2) isn’t everyone’s cup of tea. But many readers love autographed bookmarks. For the price of a postage stamp and a minute of your time, you can make a reader’s day.
Day 13: Host a discussion of one of your books on Facebook! On Day 11 I suggested speaking at your readers’ book clubs. What if they don’t belong to one? Why not create a discussion event of your own? An hour-long Facebook event at which readers are invited to discuss your book, learn more about its background, and ask you questions about you, your work, your writing process—maybe even the meaning of life! Sounds like fun to me! This is definitely on my to-do list for the future.
Day 14: Write a short story involving your series’ characters. This one isn’t accessible to all writers, depending on contract stipulations you may have with your publisher. But if you’re free to write about your characters, why not write a short story for readers to help tide them over between books? Your readers might really love it!
Day 15: Write about them in a blog article! Got some favorite fans that have supported you? Give them their own 5 minutes of fame. Picture them or write about them in a blog article. (With permission, of course.) My fabulous street team sent me some great photos before my last launch, as well as distributing bookmarks and sharing my news. A thank you blog article about them was the least I could do!
Day 16: Pose for a photo! I’m photo-phobic, unless I’m posing with friends. And every reader is a friend! Cuddle up close with your fans and smile pretty. If you want a photo with me, a hug is the price of admission! (Consider yourself forewarned!)
Day 17: Have a birthday group! Author Kathi Daley has a special birthdaygroup set up for her readers in which they receive something special on their birthdays. How cool is that? What a great way for readers to feel (and be) acknowledged!
Day 18: Be real. We all want to show our best face in public, but no one has a perfect life all of the time. Share your struggles as well as well as your successes. By sharing your own humanness, you might make your readers feel less alone in theirs.
Day 19: Make them feel (en)titled! Believe me, we writers aren’t the only ones who are creative. Show your readers that you value their opinion by asking them to help choose your next book title. Even though I say this helps show you love them (and it does) it helps us even more. Who knows what titles will reach out and grab readers better than the readers themselves!
Day 20: Comment on their posts. I post on Facebook pretty regularly, but I hold no illusions that people want to talk only about me. Connect with your readers by sharing in their joys and sorrows. It takes a second (at most) to like another post and a few more seconds to hit a reply. (Readers, please know that with my lovely (and growing) collection of friends, I don’t see much more than 1% of my friends’ posts. So if you wonder why I don’t comment on something, I likely didn’t see it.) If you want to see something, be sure to tag me. Then it will go to my e-mail inbox!
That’s the first 20 in at least 50 ideas. More to come next month. How about you? Authors, how do you show your readers some love? And readers, what other ideas do you have?
Tracy Weber is the author of the award-winning Downward Dog Mysteries series featuring yoga teacher Kate Davidson and her feisty German shepherd, Bella. Tracy loves sharing her passion for yoga and animals in any form possible. Her first book, Murder Strikes a Pose won the Maxwell Award for Fiction was nominated for the Agatha award for Best First Novel. The second book in her series, A Killer Retreat, was released January, 2015 by Midnight Ink.
Tracy and her husband live in Seattle with their challenging yet amazing German shepherd Tasha. When she’s not writing, Tracy spends her time teaching yoga, walking Tasha, and sipping Blackthorn cider at her favorite ale house.
Visit her at TracyWeberAuthor.com, friend her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/tracywe, or e-mail her at Tracy@WholeLifeYoga.com.