6 Ways to Connect With Readers That Don’t Feel Like Work

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Writing can take a lot out of you. If you’re putting in two to four hours of first draft copy each day in the midst of everyday life or a full-time job, then interacting with fans on social media for 30 minutes may feel like genuine torture. So many authors dread responding to emails and spending their time on Twitter that they fail to forge deeper connections with their fans. Over time, the writers who make a concerted effort to bond are the ones who come out on top.

Fortunately for the social media-phobes out there, Twitter, Pinterest, and Facebook are not the only ways you can reach out to fans. You can also make connections using the practice of micropublishing. In a post on her blog, publisher Jane Friedman said that authors can stop thinking of social media like work if they see it more as a form of publishing. This is one heck of a mindset change for authors who’d rather be creating than interacting. When you can combine both together, you’ll be able to find creative fulfillment in your connections. Here are six ways you can use this concept to becoming a marketing artist:

1. Serialized Stories

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As attention spans grow shorter, new readers are on the lookout for content that takes less time to read. Some authors have taken up the challenge by providing their readers with serialized stories. Serials actually have a long history, and several novels written by Charles Dickens were actually first written as newspaper serials. Creating serialized stories for your readers gives you a chance to be both old-school and new-school while catering to your fans desires for more content.

Develop a short story or a novella that you break down into a series of parts. Use an email autoresponder sequence to deliver the story to your readers. You can also promote the tale as an incentive for fans to sign up to your email list in the first place. If you haven’t been able to think of what to email your readers, then a serialized story may help you fill that gap by doing what you do best.

2. Daily Pictures or Videos

If you were active on social media before you became an author, then you may have been perturbed by the large number of friend requests and follows that bombarded your account. Writers in this situation may find themselves in an uneasy place in which they’re connecting with friends, fans, and strangers all at the same time. One of the best ways to deal with this situation is to treat all of your followers like friends.

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Actor Vin Diesel is one of the best social media users in the world. He brilliantly grew his Facebook following over the last decade by giving fans what they wanted. Diesel posts on the platform several days a week, but every single status update is accompanied by a picture or a video. You don’t need to read any studies to know that posts with either pictures or videos tend to get way more attention than ones with nothing but text. Diesel took this to the extreme, and now has thousands of posts accompanied by visual aids. Being a movie star didn’t hurt Diesel’s ascendance to 89 million followers, but using Facebook to share daily thoughts, questions, and pics certainly didn’t hurt matters.

Connect personally with your fans by sharing a daily picture or video. You can make the posts part of a similar theme. Perhaps you want to take a picture of the final word you write that day or a video of your first thoughts after you finish your writing tasks. Whatever you decide to make the content about, ensure that it’s consistent. There’s nothing a fan hates more than being taken out of their routine of adoration.

3. Bonus Audio Content

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One of the best parts of a Blu-Ray is the audio commentary made by the director. Big fans of the movie watch the film with this track enabled to get all sorts of extra tidbits about what happened behind-the-scenes. You can do the exact same thing with your writing.

Create a walking podcast in which you walk and talk about things the average writer wouldn’t know about your process, characters, and settings. You’d be surprised how many casual readers could be converted to die hard fans by getting a peek behind the curtain. Choose a set number of days per week you want to produce the show, and then create a routine in which you make it happen without fail.

4. Improvised Scenes

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What would happen if two of your fan-favorite characters were alone in an elevator together? You may have never considered that question, but some of your biggest fans have, and they’d love to see it happen. Combining characters and putting them into non-canon situations is a viable way to get your fans excited. You can put these scenarios on your blog or do a reading of the character in an audio or video file.

Give your fans some control over the characters they see by setting up a poll in your next scheduled email. Sometimes, you won’t know what your fans want until they tell you!

5. Write-Ins

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When you build up a local community of fans, it can be very rewarding to meet up with them. Then again, if you’re pressed for time, you may not want to bother with the dozens of questions and multiple rounds of drinks. One potential solution to this problem is to have your fans join you in a write-in. A write-in is a meet-up in which multiple writers bring their computers or pads of paper and agree to write for a certain amount of time.

Not all of your fans will be writers, but those who are would pay top dollar to craft their first novel alongside you. Pick a quiet location and schedule a set time. If it all pans out, then you’ll be able to interact with fans and write at the exact same time.

6. Office Hours

Technology makes it easier to connect with people than ever. Using Skype or Google Plus Hangouts, it’s a synch to finish all your fan interaction in a single hour a week. Tell your readers that you’ll be available for one hour to answer questions and chat about the latest in pop culture. On weeks where you’re pressed for time, make sure that fans understand this’ll be the only way they can interact with you. Beyond simply cutting down on the number of hours you spend chatting; you may make some unexpectedly deep connections with your readers.

What Do You Like To Do?

Marketing is creative because you can adapt it to fit anything you like to do. Decide what it is you’d like to do more of, and then change it around so it includes your fans. Turning your marketing into micropublishing lets you connect with more fans in a shorter period of time. All the while, you’ll get to enjoy what you do. Imagine that. You can sell more books and have fun while doing it. What a concept.

 

BookBaby.com Is For Authors That Don’t Want To Go Into Self-Publishing All Alone

It’s no secret we’re big fans of BookBaby.com here at AMI. They are, in fact, one of our benefactors, but don’t think we’re talking about them just because of that. We choose to work with partners that share our same values. The values of doing anything we can to help authors with amazing products and services… period!

Here’s an interview we just did with BookBaby’s President Stephen Spatz. In the video you learn a little bit more about what they do and why it’s a perfect service for authors that “don’t want to go into self-publishing alone”. Take a few minutes and get a better feel for what they’re all about and if they are a fit for what you want to do with your author career.

4 Unexpected Benefits of Attending an Author Marketing Conference

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With Author Marketing Live Virtual having drawn to a close, there are a lot of new authors out there who are ready to take the next step in their careers. Conferences, whether they’re in-person or virtual, are highly touted as leaping-off points for indie authors to earn more money and build their businesses. There are several benefits authors can expect to experience from most well-run events.

Conferences teach you new information that you can immediacy apply to your own business. Some of this knowledge is simple to put into practice. Other parts will take time to integrate, but these tried and true methods are more than worth the time, energy, and money you’ve put into the event.

The presentations made by multiple bestselling authors will also motivate you to succeed. After all, they’ve given you the key to the castle, and if you work hard enough, then you’ll be able to waltz right in. There’s also a sense that if these speakers could do it, you can do it too. That’s powerful motivation to tap into on mornings or nights when you don’t feel like putting in the effort.

New tactics and a healthy dose of motivation are well-known benefits of conferences, but there are some lesser-known attributes that can give you a boost as well. Here are four benefits to keep in mind as you assimilate the info from Author Marketing Live:

1. Hearing Good Advice For The Second Time

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If this isn’t your first rodeo, then you’ve probably heard some of the speakers’ points before. While there was plenty of new info to learn at Author Marketing Live, many presenters mentioned the common advice of building an email list and getting out of your own way to succeed. One of the best ways to start listening to good advice is to hear it repeated over and over again.

Perhaps, you’ve heard tips from the Sell More Books Show about starting and building an email list. Then, you took notes during Nick Stephenson’s presentation about his mailing list success. Finally, taking in Steve Scott’s epic presentation and hearing about his efforts to build a mailing list might finally convince you to take action. When enough successful people say the same thing has strengthened their business, it may give you the motivation you need to finally pull the trigger.

You should certainly pay attention to all the new advice you’ve learned during a conference, but make sure you’ve noted the information you’ve heard before. It’s this twice-told tale that’s worth exploring first as you put new publishing efforts into place.

2. Befriending Other Attendees

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There’s a certain kind of power behind multiple people all coming to an event for the same purpose. Writing is often a solitary venture, but when you connect with other authors at the same spot in their career as you are, amazing things can happen. You can make dozens of connections with your peers during virtual and in-person events. The tendency is to let those interactions fade over time. To receive a key benefit from events, it’s a smart idea to keep those relationships going.

Many successful authors tap into the power of mastermind groups to fortify their business over time. Conferences are one of the best ways to find other writers who are on your same wavelength. Don’t just connect on Facebook and Like their posts from time to time. Ask them if they want to be a part of an online or in-person group to share goals, build up ideas, and tackle problems. Two heads are better than one, and a great way to get your money’s worth from these events is to tap into the brainpower of multiple author heads.

3. Getting Motivated to Try Something New

You can’t help but come into events with certain assumptions. Of course the presenters will say that you need to work hard, write good books, and build up a professional-looking platform. That being said, some authors may suggest that you do something completely out of your comfort zone.

Spending 50 hours on a multi-author Facebook event or giving away the second book in your series in the front pages of your free first book may seem absolutely crazy. But at the same time, a little voice in your head may say that you think you could actually pull these tactics off. It’s easy to let that voice fade in the first few weeks after an event. But as your grade school teacher probably told you, the first answer you pick is often the right one. Go with your gut here and take the weeks after the conference to build up a system for trying out at least one new idea you learned.

Testing out new ideas is scary because it leaves you open to failure. You’ve got to remember though that many successful presenters have had multiple epic failures before they made this strategy work. Trying and failing at something is actually one of the best ways to model their path to success. Don’t be afraid of failure. Be afraid of not trying in the first place.

4. Working With The Presenters

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In almost every author conference, at least half the presenters give out their website info or email address. They make it pretty clear that they’d be happy to hear back from the attendees with any questions. Without fail, 99 percent of attendees will never take advantage of that offer. It doesn’t make much sense. Not taking them up on that offer is a waste and it causes you to lose out on potential value for the conference.

Instead of ignoring this offer, you should actually go a step further. Come up with questions and send an email, and in that email, you should also make your own offer. See if there’s something you can do to work more with the author in the future. Perhaps you can join his or her street team or you have a skill in an area like cover design that would be a major benefit to his or her business. There’s always a chance that the authors could say no or that nothing will come from the connection, but this is a major opportunity that so few beginning authors fail to seize. Don’t let this one slip away from you as well.

Earning Back The Investment

When you spend several hundred dollars on an in-person or virtual conference, that money doesn’t disappear the second you close the window or hop on that return flight. It’s an investment that can pay dividends for years to come, but you need to take action to make it worthwhile. Apply the advice you’ve heard before to your business, and try something new while you’re at it. Make connections with the other attendees and see if there’s a way to forge a bond with the presenters as well. It’s your money, and you can do what you want with it. To get the most value out of a conference, however, you need to spend the necessary time afterwards to try new things and build up your network.

Video: How To Use Amazon Marketing Services To Promote Your Book

Have you heard the news? Amazon is now allowing authors to buy advertising to promote their books. The jury is still out on whether or not this will be a good thing for authors as the program is brand new. However, if you want to give it a try, we created a short video demo about how you can set up a campaign. You can read more about it over at Goodereader.com as well.

Part Four: How to Earn $1,000 a Month From Self-Publishing

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This is a four part series. You might want to start from the beginning. Click here to view part one.

4. September-December

The time has come to really kick things into high gear. You’ve got an entire trilogy of books available. That’s more than most traditionally published authors put out over two years, and it’s worth celebrating. In this final quarter, you’re going to use the power of free to boost your sales. You’ll also take your shot at email advertisers while trying to determine what else might give you a sales boost going forward.

Task 1 – Make Book #1 Permafree

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Promotional strategies change over time, but as of right now, the best one for a new author is to make the first book of your series permanently free. You accomplish this by changing your book price to free on the non-Amazon platforms, and by reporting the lower price on your Amazon sales page. From there, some authors will ask their peers to report the lower price, while others will ask KDP support to make the change for them. Whichever method you decide to use, make sure your book is linked up to the future books in your series.

When you listen to podcasts discussing the secret of some authors’ success, lots of indies point to when they went permafree with their first book. This model opens the marketing funnel much wider at the top. When 10 to 100 times as many people read the first book, there’s a much higher chance that more readers will move onto book two. It can be painful to see your first book out there for free, but it’s currently one of the most effective ways to increase the sales of your later books.

As you work to make your book permanently free, make sure to break ground on the fourth book in your series as well.

Task 2 – Get Email Advertising like BookBub

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Once you go permanently free with your first book, you open yourself up to a whole new side of email advertising. Through Amazon’s exclusive KDP Select program, you can make your book free for up to five days in a 90-day period. This allows you to apply for a BookBub’s service for listing free books, but it doesn’t let the email marketer promote your books to non-Amazon platforms. When your book is permanently free across the board, email marketers can send out the promotion to buyers at Apple, Kobo, Google Play, and more. Combining a permafree book with a successful BookBub is one heck of a jumpstart to any indie author’s sales. Make sure when you apply for a listing to choose every date in a 30-day range as a potential promotion slot. This will give BookBub the flexibility it may need to place your book.

Task 3 – Reach Out to Reps

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Every platform except for Amazon has more than book discoverability in mind. Retailers like Nook, Kobo, and Apple are interested in promoting books that will make them money. Representatives from each of these companies have worked with certain indie authors to include them in storewide sales and email campaigns. In most cases, the reps contacted authors directly when they saw how well their books were selling on that individual platform. It can feel like a Catch-22. You need contact with a rep to get a major sales boost, but a rep will only contact you if you have good sales to begin with.

You can overcome this hurdle with the right connections. When you know somebody who works with a rep, you can often ask them to make an introduction. There also may be opportunities through social networking sites like LinkedIn. Even if you get in touch with a rep, make sure you have a solid pitch ready to send. If you can line yourself up for both BookBub promotions and individual platform promotions, then you won’t have problem reaching a consistent four-figure payout.

Task 4 – Try New Things

Email advertising campaigns and connections may be the most effective way to get your books selling on multiple platforms, but these certainly aren’t the only ways to get fans. Readers come to new content in all sorts of ways. Younger book buyers learn about readers on WattPad and YouTube. Some audiophiles find out about up-and-coming scribes through serialized podcasts and Podiobooks. Getting immediate sales from your books isn’t enough. You need to go outside the box to try to find new readers. There’s a maxim that says 1,000 true fans will keep you sustained as an artist. Unless you’ve reached or exceeded that same number of consumers who will buy everything you put out without question, then you need to continue building your brand.

Each year, dozens of new tools and ideas come to the forefront. Pick one and work it extremely hard. Outreach projects have a tendency to fail, but you’ll never know if you don’t put in the effort in the first place.

Task 5 – Plan Out The Next Year

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Thankfully, author careers can last much longer than a single year. The final task of your year-long journey should be to plan out the next 12 months. Putting another four books on your production calendar and giving yourself a series of marketing challenges may be just what you need to jump from four-figures to five.

Taking the Micro-view

Seeing an entire year’s worth of work on a single page can be overwhelming. Try breaking down each task into smaller bite-sized chunks. The most successful writers aren’t always the ones who have a massive scope of their growing careers. Sometimes, they’re simply masters at taking on one small task every single day, doing it to the best of their ability, and then suiting up to do it all over again tomorrow. Four-figures of self-publishing income a month will come to those who can plan and achieve the daily task every day for an entire year. Come gold rush or empty mine, these are the authors who will find lasting success.