Where are my fans?

Posted Jul 19 2015, 3:00 pm in , , , ,

Ask a group of authors “where are my fans” and you’ll get a surprising range of answers, from in their own living room to halfway across the world, and in every corner of the internet. But while readers can be found everywhere you look, I’m interested more in YOUR readership, right now. 

Even if you feel don’t have a readership. Especially if you don’t feel you have one.

It takes a little bit of time to identify your core reader audience, and some diligent work to connect with them (I discuss that topic in another blog). But it’s an exercise that’s well worth it to help you get your books into the hands and hearts of readers who will love them. As an added bonus, knowing your target reader may help you refine your own books going forward!

A Fan Roadmap: A five step path

Step 1: Author, know thyself

Before you can identify your ideal fan base, you have to know who – and what – you are. Take a long, searching look at your work. What makes you similar to other authors in your genre. What makes you different? What is the best thing about your work, based on reader reviews or your critique partner assessments, if you’re not yet published?

Step 2: Start where your readers are

To identify your ideal fan, think about the kinds of authors who write similar books to yours. Every author has a comp, or a set of author peers. Identify a couple for you – ideally, both those authors who are near your level of success, as well as the top authors in the genre. Need some help? Look at the “also-boughts” for your own books or for authors who are most similar to you, or books marked as similar to yours on Goodreads. 

Step 3: Identify Influencers

As do most of us, readers like to get recommendations from other readers, and there are generally some go-to influencers in any group who hold forth on their favorite books. These could be dedicated fans, prominent bloggers or reviewers, or even the authors themselves. By hanging out in forums, following Twitter and Facebook conversations, and getting involved as a participant (not merely as a promoter) with these groups, you’ll learn who the tastemakers are for the most rabid fans of your author peers. Take note of top reviewers on key retail sites

Step 4: Branch out

Readers don’t only exist on Amazon or Twitter, or hang out in forums just talking about great books. Often you’ll find them discussing something else entirely. Look for clues in conversations about shared interests outside of books for ideas on where you might find new readers. If fans of western romance love a good rodeo (and who doesn’t??), check out a few rodeo blogs/fan groups. Once again, get involved as a participant – not just a promoter – to build authentic relationships. 

Go outside the box, too, by finding real-life ways to share your story. If you write western fiction, consider giving a talk at a local tack store; bakery books would make a great promotion at a cooking store, too. Get creative. Your readers are out there, and they want to meet you!

Step 5: Help your fans find more fans

As you continue to expand your readership, authentic fan engagement is key. Use your newsletter as well as social media to connect meaningfully with your readers. From time to time, ask them to share your books with others who might enjoy your work as well. Reward your readers for getting the word out about your work, and whenever you can, help them share news about topics/activities that are important to them as well! Become the fan of your readers, in a sense, and you’ll keep the energy flowing. 

So what are you waiting for? Go find your fans! 

4 Comments

Comments

4 responses to “Where are my fans?”

  1. […] do you get started? That’s the easy part. This blog talks about finding your fans, and the process discusses key author peers as well. Otherwise, start going to author/writing […]

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