Many writers spend weeks working on projects, obsessing over structure, flow and every last word. Then, when it is time to unveil their writing for the world to see, they prepare for success but instead, nothing happens. Why do some projects thrive, while others go unnoticed?
You could attribute it to luck, but savvy writers have other tricks up their sleeve. They ensure that they have readers before their books hits the shelves (or the webstore).
A successful writing career today means working back from the finish. By building a genuine, enthusiastic community, you dramatically raise your chances of being a hit. One of the smartest and most convenient ways of doing this is through social networks.
1. Refer to competition for ideas
This is a popular and successful marketing tactic. Your target market is a specific demographic of people likely to read your work. You share that marketplace with other authors with similar styles or substance in their writing. When you launch a book you need to fight for your market share with those authors by targeting your audience on the internet.
One of the smartest ways to do this is by identifying what works for your competition. List similar books in your genre and scout their authors’ online presence. Observe what they post on social media, who their followers are, what their interests are, what types of posts receive the most interaction and which external communities they are present on. If the authors you have picked are successful (check if they are on bestseller or top seller lists), you can learn from their records on social media.
2. Establish your identity
Building clout on social media is essential when attracting active readership. To do that, you need a distinct and influential social media presence.
Before Pamela Slim wrote her book, she had been actively blogging for two long years. During that time, she shared advice with aspiring entrepreneurs, using what she had learnt from being a business coach. So when Escape from Cubicle Nation began stewing as an idea in her mind, she shared it with her readers and involved them in the creation process, offering them a position on her “advisory team”. With the 150 people who instantly signed up, she already had 150 potential readers – and they would more than likely share that experience with their friends and family, growing her community ever bigger.
Blogging can be a powerful means to building a strong social media community and driving traffic back to your webpages – what matters is how you make use of the platform. What is your unique appeal? What are you a master of? What can you offer that people will pay money for? Capture that content on your blog and share it with your social media community.
3. Capture audience interest
To catch your target audience’s attention, you need to first understand what interests them.
Explore interests along the following lines –
- A theme or cause that your audience is passionate about
It could be an environmental issue that needs attention (global warming, pollution), terrorism, PTSD among war-torn families or cyber stalking
- An important or interesting skill
Writing poetry in metrics, songwriting, dance forms, martial arts or even the ability to be empathetic
- An alternative area they are enthusiastic about
UFO sightings, paranormal experiences, life on the outbacks, fishing or gardening
- A concept or specific element
An underdog winning a high-stakes battle, talking animals or a famous person’s road to fame
You can fill your social media pages with a mix of posts on themes that interest your audience that are created by you and curated from the best in the industry. Consistently posting your content can be an exhausting affair – you’d have to get it right every time and you need to post frequently to reach a good part of your audience.
4. Fish with a smaller net
You may be tempted to spend heavily on marketing and reel in readers in large numbers, but never forget that your goal isn’t selling copies, it is selling your writing. You can get huge numbers of people to buy your book, but if they aren’t your ideal readers, your writing may not resonate with them and the overall perception of your writing might be affected. That tactic may earn you negative reviews and ratings.
Figure out where your target group hangs out on the internet and then be present there. Strike conversations and join discussions with people in those communities and direct them back to your blog posts or book only when relevant. Join relevant groups on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and on communities like GoodReads and Shelfari.
5. Optimize your web presence
There’s no point driving readers back to your webpages if they aren’t optimized for conversion. If potential readers visit a page that makes no sense to them, they will end up as only numbers in your traffic reports.
Give some thought to your domain and social page names. If you write fiction, you probably want to build your personal brand, so you might want to use your own name. But if you write non-fiction, you can add important keywords and strategic descriptors to your website and social page names.
Design pages that reflect a professional feel, and build trust, authority and immediately make an impression on visitors. Use themes that resonate with audience interests and passions. Make sure that your copy is tight and that your audience can share a piece of writing very easily. SEO optimization tools like Wordstream and lead capture tools like SumoMe can help you optimize your website for discovery and conversions. If you don’t sell your books on your website, you can offer something in exchange for an email address using SumoMe and add those contacts to your mailing list.
Disha Dinesh is a Content Writer at Godot Media, a leading content agency. Her interests include social media and content marketing. When she’s not writing, she’s on the hunt for social media trends and inspiration.
Twitter Handle: @Disha_Dee