How to Build a Successful Author–Reader Relationship
Without understanding how the author–reader relationship works, you may actually be inhibiting your chances of developing a successful relationship with your readers. Many indie authors cannot acquire readers because they don’t know how to attract and keep them.
The fact is, many readers love self-published authors! They can reach out to their favourite authors via innumerable sources and make truly valuable connections. They couldn’t get so close to traditionally published authors because, then, they would have to go through the middleman.
Sadly, many self-published authors wreck the love by focusing too much on themselves and their books; causing readers to feel ignored and neglected. Eventually, these readers gravitate away from you towards the author who courts their attention. The author who has never acquired readers has more hope than the author who loses them.
Reach Out to Your Readers
Readers will offer you feedback if you let them see that it is okay to do so. Unfortunately, many self-published authors intentionally assume a god-like position towards their readers. They quickly begin to take their readers for granted. Communication becomes constricted, and soon lost. They don’t notice. Then they begin to lose sales. Because they’ve not been talking with their readers, they don’t know where their sales are coming from.
When they announce a promotion or release, they do so with such impunity that you’d think they were buying all their books. They don’t respond to comments on their blogs or social media updates. Eventually, fans tire out and lose interest. Sales begin to decline. There goes another major promotion, but the promotion only goes out to the same readers who simply ignores it.
Plan with Your Readers
There’s no better way to keep your readers and fans engaged than planning your events and projects around them. When you plan actively with your readers, you keep them committed for the long term. Each new engagement only helps to further that commitment. There is always a list of things that pique your readers’ interest; your goal is to be at the top of the list.
You want to be on your readers’ minds all the time. If you’re not, another author will, and that author will earn their commitment. Commitment can be very flitting because you only ever have so much to give away. So, make sure you’re earning the commitment of your readers at all times.
Celebrate with Your Readers
When you plan with your readers, it is also important to celebrate each milestone accomplishment with them. In the grand perspective, every new step forward is progress; therefore, each step is a success in its own right.
Celebrating milestone accomplishments with your readers helps them see that you are winning already. Readers like to be in the winning team. They’d like to know that they are helping you achieve your goals because it gives them a sense of pride and belonging.
Introduce Your Author Friends
You won’t always be able to write fast enough to keep your readers entertained. Some readers are a voracious folk. Many readers can consume a novel in one sitting. Rather than leave them to go off to find additional authors, be the person to help them find new favourite authors. Introduce your publishing colleagues and partners and help your readers select books from their catalogue. It deepens reader loyalty.
Together with your publishing friends, you can keep your shared readers within your circle. Ironically, some authors try to take the contrary approach: they don’t want to share their readers with other authors, and they’d rather keep the readers all to themselves. Unfortunately, they always end up losing the readers to the author who knows better.