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Do Readers Care About Your Book?

Do Readers Care About Your Book?
 

The hardest thing for the newly published author to hear: Readers don’t care about your book.

The hardest thing for the newly published author to believe: Readers don’t care about your book.

It’s true. They’re too busy reading Karen Kingsbury, Wanda Brunstetter, Angela Hunt, Brandilyn Collins, or whoever the bestseller is in your genre. Readers don’t know about the newly published author’s book and if you tell them about it, they won’t care. Your job is to make them care about you, then they’ll care about your book. So, how do you introduce yourself to readers?

1.   Interviews. Don’t just talk about your books during interviews. Talk about yourself, your life, family, town, and church. If you give readers personal details about yourself, within reason, they’ll feel like they know you and they’ll care about your book. I’ve had authors balk at revealing personal information on my blog. All I can say is, if you’re not willing to open up to readers, good luck on selling books.

Don’t focus solely on newspapers and magazines. In the beginning, only your local newspaper will care and magazines won’t even respond. Check the ACFW loop. The trend these days is authors promoting other authors. Get as many online interviews as you can that coincide with release dates for you books.

2. Online Presence. You have to put yourself out there. Develop a website and a blog to drive traffic to it. Get active on Facebook, and Twitter or any of the other jillions of social networking sites. Don’t just talk about the weather—chatter with purpose. Make readers want to know more about you. Come up with a unique angle that reflects you and your writing for a blog.

Jump on the bandwagon and promote other authors. Host weekly book giveaways to draw lots of readers. This brings readers to your website and more often than not, they’ll want to learn more about you, not just the author you’re featuring.

3.   Public Speaking. Even if you’re an introvert like me. Start free with writing groups. Share things you’ve learned about writing. Prepare a helpful, focused presentation. Before you know it, you’ll be invited to speak at workshops, conferences, schools, and colleges. You won’t have to even mention money, they will. Always have books on hand and let people know it. Make a joke—“My suitcase sure is heavy if anyone wants to take some books off my hands.” Conferences usually set up a table for you to sell books and once people hear you speak, they feel like they know you and want to buy your book.

Don’t limit yourself to just writing groups. Speak for ladie’s groups, retreats, churches, libraries, and community organizations. In other words, speak for whoever asks. Don’t focus on the pay. Do freebies if there’s opportunity for lots of exposure and you can sell books at the event.

Someday, when you’re a famous, best-selling author, you can just concentrate on writing, but until then, you have to work at selling too. If you successfully sell yourself to the reader, the book sales will follow.

Shannon Taylor Vannatter is a stay-at-home mom/pastor’s wife/inspirational romance writer. When not writing, she runs circles in the care and feeding of her husband, their eight-year-old son, and their church congregation. Home is a central Arkansas zoo with two charcoal gray cats, a chocolate lab, and three dachshunds in weenie dog heaven. If given the chance to clean house or write, she’d rather write. Her goal is to hire Alice from the Brady Bunch. Learn more at: www.shannonvannatter.com.

  1. Jenny Carlisle02-21-11

    Shannon, Thanks for the really practical advice. In order to get my second career going, I’ve really got to get serious about this thing. Your down to earth tips and your sense of humor will really help me!

  2. Shannon Taylor Vannatter02-21-11

    I’m glad, Jenny. I always hope my school of hard knocks will help someone.

  3. Linda Fulkerson02-22-11

    I hate to use a cliche’, but Shannon has taken to marketing like a puppy takes to a child. If she continues to work this hard on developing creative promotion tactics, Shannon will be one of the best-selling authors in ACFW this decade. Remember, you heard it here first. And I’m being serious. I’m very proud of you, Shannon!

  4. Shannon Taylor Vannatter02-22-11

    One of the best-selling authors of ACFW this decade has a nice ring to it. Thanks Linda!

  5. Sheila Covey03-01-11

    Great post! I glad you laid it all out there–better to go into this “job” as prepared as possible. Thanks for sharing!

  6. Shannon Taylor Vannatter03-02-11

    Sorry to be so blunt. But I didn’t learn about apathetic readers until after my first book came out.

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