The 5 Step Guide For Fiction Authors To Find Readers Online
A few days ago I had a conversation with a prominent musician who was working on his first novel. Writing a book was always something he wanted to do, but he found himself getting flustered in thinking about how to actually get his work in front of readers.
He told me, “I get the music world - you record an album, you go out and play it live and you build an audience. How on earth do you apply that to a book? Specifically a fiction book?”
I smiled at him because I hear this question all the time. It feels impossible because the lack of familiarity with how everything works together online is a common problem. That meshed together with the vulnerability of putting ones creative work into the world can feel overwhelming.
But I’m here to tell you exactly what I told him: it is absolutely doable for fiction writers to find their unique audience, connect with them, and have a thriving career.
To go along with this post we created a free download where you can take this information and personalize it for you and your audience.
Here are five steps fiction writers can follow to find and authentically connect with readers online:
Step One: Know Your Goals
When we have a destination in mind it makes the trip much easier when we make a plan in order to get there. You'd never say, “I want to go to Hawaii!” and not make the plans and arrangements on how to get there. If you went about it that way, you wouldn’t get to Hawaii when you wanted to, it would cost a lot more, and the journey would be miserable.
The same goes with your writing career - when you set a goal to reach it’s much easier to create a plan and a way to accomplish that goal. It also allows you to see if you’re making progress and if you need to make adjustments along the way. That and it lets you celebrate the little victories along the way.
When we have goals or a deeper purpose behind our writing, it gives us scope and context. It gives us a starting point and a destination to aim at.
Step Two: Know Who Your Ideal Reader Is
If you could create the perfect person to buy your book, that is who your Ideal Reader is. It’s your biggest fan, it’s the person who will devour anything and everything that you write. It’s the person you want to reach with your books. But even more so, your Ideal Reader embodies someone that you can relate to, someone that you share similar qualities, interests, and passions with.
Knowing who your Ideal Reader is will enable you to connect with people who are actually interested in your books, who share similar interests as you, and will give you ways to genuinely connect with them. It’s a lot easier to market to people who are interested in what you have to say rather than people who aren’t. If you aren’t attracting your ideal readers you’ll have trouble converting them into buyers and increasing your sales.
When you get into the mind of your ideal reader you’re able to to understand how to connect with them on multiple levels. You need to remember that your readers are interested in many things other than your book. When you identify similar interests, hobbies, and beliefs with your readers, you will develop a deeper connection and loyalty.
Ask yourself these questions:
- What does my ideal reader do in his/her free time?
- What emotion or feeling do they want to experience when reading my book?
- What are their hobbies?
- What are their beliefs?
When you understand your Ideal Reader and can relate to them, it won’t feel like marketing - it will be a genuine connection.
Step Three: Know What You Want To Talk About
Like I mentioned in the previous step, your Ideal Reader is someone you can relate to. To do this, think about areas of your life that you want to share, what your hobbies are, what you’re interested in. This will enable your readers to get to know you in a personable way so they can connect with you.
First, think through what you would like to share about your life. List at least five things that you feel comfortable sharing with your readers (the city you live in, your family, pets, your travels, your garden, your home, your writing space, your hobbies, etc.)
Next, ask yourself these questions:
- What areas of my writing practices do I want to talk about? (ex: my process, how I research, etc.)
- What details would my ideal reader find interesting about my new book?
- What blogs or websites do I already visit that my ideal reader would also find interesting? (This will be so you can curate content to share.)
- What other causes or topics are important to me that I share with my ideal reader?
Answering these questions will enable you to move on to the next step…
Step Four: Find Common Ground
Now that you have thought through all of these details, think about what topics you are passionate about or find interesting enough to write about consistently. Next, think about topics that your reader would be excited to hear about and want to share with their friends.
To help you do this, pick three keywords from the questions you answered about your ideal reader and three from your own answers. As you look at your answers, where do they overlap? Do you see common ground that you and your ideal reader share?
That common ground holds a vital element to your marketing: empathy. Empathy is a powerful element that is missing in so much book marketing. Empathy is the connection that we need to make with our readers. It shows that we identify with them, we understand them, and we get where they are coming from.
When we can identify with our ideal readers, it provides a connection and interaction that doesn’t feel like marketing. It feels like you have a relationship with your readers.
Step Five: Connect
Now that you know who you want to connect with and topics that you can write about in blog posts and on social media, you’ll be able to figure out where you need to be online to easily connect with them.
The question you need to ask yourself is this: Where do my readers already hang out online? It’s not about where you want to be, it’s about where your readers are already hanging out online and where they feel comfortable. It’s about meeting them where they already are.
Think about where they will spend their time online. Do they love Instagram? Do they read a particular blog? Do they gravitate towards Twitter? Pick the two most popular places your ideal reader spends time online.
Now, think through five authors that you share a genre and ideal reader traits with, and who are already active on the two platforms you picked. This might take a little bit of research, but it’s worth the time and energy to do this. This will give you a starting point - because you know that the readers who follow those authors already like their books, they will most likely love what you write about as well.
These five steps are the cornerstone for building a solid and thriving platform. Download the free worksheet that goes along with this post so you can start connecting with your ideal readers today!