It’s not uncommon to find authors talking about how they plan to reach new readers. However, the readers you already have are just as important, if not more so. Your fans have already enjoyed your book, and they are capable of spreading the news about it and your future titles far and wide if you give them a reason to be excited about it. And that can lead to new readers.
The problem is that you need to keep your current audience interested while you write that new book. People have short attention spans (squirrel!), so it’s important to remind your audience that you exist every now and then. How do you do that? Here are eight ways you can engage with your fans and keep their attention.
For Existing Books
These first four ideas are great for your current titles. Each one is a way you can give your current audience something interesting to do because they already loved your book.
I know, you’re probably selling mostly e-books. You can still sign them! Go make a free author account on AuthorGraph, add your book if it isn’t there already, and then announce to your audience that you will sign Kindle e-books. Include a link to request an autograph. This service is a lot of fun, letting you sign books with a personalized message. It even allows you to draw your signature if you want!
Can you turn your book cover into a poster or a postcard? Put it up on Zazzle! Or have a t-shirt design contest, then offer the winning shirt for sale. If you’re really artsy-craftsy, come up with some handmade replicas of key props from your story, then sell them as a limited edition item on Etsy or through your website.
Polls, Quizzes, and Personality Tests
Host a poll on your Facebook page asking what your audience thinks will happen in the next book. Create a personality test (“Which character are you?”) or a trivia quiz (“Can you answer these tough questions about my book?”) on PlayBuzz, then share it with your audience. This is a fun way to engage your fans, and chances are they will share their results.
Character Social Media Profiles
It’s always a lot of fun to find a well-done character Facebook page or Twitter account. Fans love the opportunity to talk to a favorite character. You could host a Twitter chat with your main character, hold a popularity contest on Facebook to see which supporting character page gets the most likes, or have your villain and hero argue about current events on Twitter. Keep it interesting and in-character and your readers will eat it up.
For Upcoming Book Releases
These four ideas can help you get your existing audience excited about your new book. Some of these even make it easy for them to spread the word to their friends.
Is your next book’s release date coming up? Begin a countdown now. Don’t be the annoying author who posts every day (“Only 50 more days…” “Only 49 more days…” “Only 48 more days…” *unfollow*), but try reminding your fans every couple of weeks that you have something new coming soon.
Post an excerpt from your upcoming book. It could be one sentence you share on Twitter, a couple paragraphs posted on Facebook, or you might release an entire chapter. If you decide to give a sneak peek at a chapter, you might try making it a special exclusive bonus for your mailing list subscribers. Announce a week ahead of time that your mailing list will get a preview of your new book, making sure to include a link to where people can sign up to receive the e-mail. It’s an excellent way to push your fans to join your mailing list if they haven’t already.
Post the cover for your upcoming book. You’re excited about it, so pass that excitement along. You can post it all at once, make it a subscriber exclusive bonus, break it into smaller chunks and share each piece over a number of days, post it when your Facebook page reaches a certain number of likes—the sky’s the limit!
Everyone loves a good contest. When you have a new book coming out, offer a signed copy in a giveaway. Your current audience will be sure to enter, and if you make it possible to earn more entries by posting on social media, you’ll make sure they spread the word to their friends too. (Try using Rafflecopter for an easy giveaway creator.) Want to spread the word even more? Contact a few bloggers ahead of the release and offer to give away signed copies on their blogs as well.
And there you are! Eight ways you can keep your current audience on board while you work to create your next book. Do you have any other ideas? Leave a comment with your thoughts.