As an author, one of my favorite ways to learn how better to serve my readers is to read Dave Chesson’s articles over at Kindlepreneur.com. This guy knows his stuff. He knows how to help authors find the readers who are looking for their books. It’s a win-win for authors and readers. He’s also the genius behind the new writing/publishing software, Atticus (but not, Atticus not Finch–just sayin’).
So, when he reached out to me to share an article that would help authors connect with readers, I was all for it.
Yes, this blog is mostly for readers, but hear me out. First, authors are readers, too. AND… knowing why authors do some of the things they do will help readers better understand the heart of authors.
Note: links may be affiliate links that provide me with a small commission at no extra expense to you.
5 Ways to Better Engage Your Readers
As authors, we are often introverts. We don’t necessarily like the idea of sticking our neck out and talking to readers or other authors.
Thankfully, the Internet makes communication with readers so much easier, and eliminates the need to be there in person. Email, social media, and other platforms open up a ton of opportunities to enhance your connection to your readers, and this can only help your writing.
So let’s dive into five methods that you can use to increase your engagement with your readers, and to build a pleasant experience for them.
1. Write Blog Posts
One of the best ways to increase reader engagement is by writing blog posts. This gives you a way to communicate with your readers on a more personal level, and it also allows you to share information about your book that you can’t always include in the novel itself. Additionally, blog posts give you an opportunity to show your expertise in a particular subject (like this website), which can attract additional readers.
When writing blog posts, make sure that you are providing valuable content for your readers. Share information about your process as an author, post excerpts from your work, or write tutorials related to your genre (especially if you write nonfiction). And be sure to respond to comments and questions from your readers!
If you’re not currently blogging, consider starting one. Creating an author website is a great way to increase your presence and give readers a place to find you.
2. Use Social Media
While not as useful as an email list or website, social media has distinct advantages that you can’t find anywhere else. For example, social media allows readers to interact with each other, and it’s more public-facing than your email list. It’s a great way to improve discoverability in a way that is organic.
If you are using social media (and I only recommend you specialize in one or two), try to post regularly, and choose things that will help engage readers, including photos of yourself, photos of pets, book-related memes, etc. And of course, you should keep it relevant to the genre you are writing in.
When using social media, make sure that you are also monitoring your replies and messages. This can be a great way to connect with readers who have questions or want to know more about you as an author.
And if you’re not on social media yet, it’s never too late to start!
3. Include Personal Information
One of the distinct advantages that we have now, as opposed to authors 20 or even 10 years ago, is that it is much easier for readers to interact with authors directly.
Therefore, it’s important that you allow readers to get to know you. Share personal information, such as your favorite books (see this example), movies, or food in blog posts, emails, and social media updates. Let them know what you’re working on (even if it’s not related to your current book). This will help build a rapport with readers that can be beneficial for both you and them.
When you allow readers into your personal life, they feel like they are a part of something special, and this encourages them to stay engaged with your work.
Remember: don’t share anything that you aren’t comfortable sharing. Just because it’s easy to do doesn’t mean that you have to reveal everything about yourself.
4. Try Going Live
One way to really increase reader engagement is by going live. This can be on social media, such as Facebook or YouTube, or even on a platform like Twitch. When you go live, you are able to connect with readers in real-time, and they are able to ask you questions and get your immediate feedback.
This is a great way to build trust with your readers, and it also allows them to see the more human side of you. Additionally, it can help increase book sales since people are more likely to buy a book after meeting the author in person.
If you’re not sure how to start going live, there are plenty of tutorials online that can walk you through the process.
5. Ask for Feedback
Asking for feedback is a great way to form strong relationships with specific readers. This can be done in the form of surveys, questionnaires, working with alpha/beta readers, or even conducting interviews. You can also solicit feedback on social media, or on your website or blog.
When you ask for feedback, you are giving readers a voice and a way to connect with you. Additionally, it can help you improve your work by getting input from people who have read it.
Reader engagement is important because it helps keep readers connected with you as an author. When they feel like they are part of the process, they are more likely to buy your books and recommend them to others.
I hope you found these tips useful. If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out. I have a feeling that if you use these tips well, and continue to experiment and genuinely care about your readers, you will find that you not only increase their engagement but also find new friends.
Thank you for reading!
Dave Chesson is the creator of Kindlepreneur.com, a website devoted to teaching advanced book Marketing which even Amazon KDP acknowledges as one of the best by telling users to “Gain insight from Kindlepreneur on how you can optimize marketing for your books.” Having worked with such authors as Orson Scott Card, Ted Dekker, and more, his tactics help both Fiction and Nonfiction authors of all levels get their books discovered by the right readers.